The Pilot’s Girl by Catherine Hokin

Today I am passing back to Mandie who has a #booksontour review of The Pilot’s Girl, the brand new WWII set novel from Catherine Hokin. Thanks to publisher Bookouture for the tour invite and the early copy of the book for review. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Netgalley
Release Date: 04 April 2022
Publisher: Bookouture

About the Book

‘Smile, nod, and don’t breathe a word of what happens here. Or I’ll put you on the next train to Auschwitz myself.’

Four years later.Hanni Winter shivers in her thin coat as she hurries through the empty Berlin streets to her job. Despite the freezing winter and poverty all around, her cheeks flush when she meets the man she is photographing today, charismatic Tony Miller, the American pilot risking his life to bring food and provisions to the starving people of the city. But her rush of joy turns to ash as she sees the man behind him…

It’s been years since Hanni fled her terrible past, but seeing Reiner Foss now brings back harrowing memories of the man they called The Showman,and of the concentration camp he commanded. The last time she tried to expose him, Hanni almost died, can she dare to try again? Or should she seize the chance she sees in Tony’s sparkling eyes to leave the horrors of the war behind?

Hanni is no longer the frightened child she was when the Nazis devastated her life beyond repair. She vows to avenge every person who suffered at Reiner’s hands. But does her attraction to Tony leave her vulnerable? Can Hanni protect her loved ones from her past, or will the cost of fighting her demons ultimately prove more than she can pay?

A devastating novel about finding the strength to survive when all hope seems lost. Fans of The Alice Network, The Nightingale and The Tattooist of Auschwitz grab your tissues and dive into this heartbreaking story.

Mandie’s Thoughts

This is the second book in the Hanni Winter series and was just as enjoyable as the first one. Hanni and Freddy are still working together in post war Berlin however with Russia now forming a blockade around the city things are more uncertain than ever before. When the body of a young boy is found strangled with no signs of who committed the crime or even why it may have been just a wrong place wrong time crime. When more people are killed in a similar fashion but in their own homes, they soon realise they are dealing with a serial killer that apparently kills at random but is known to the victims. What they can’t work out is the connection between them all.

Things are still tense between Hanni and Freddy as they fight both their past demons and their attraction to each other. Hanni is still afraid to admit to her past and is worried that her father will bring her new life crashing down around her. She is also trying to find a way to bring him to justice and thinks she may have finally found a way to make him pay and get him out of her life once and for all. Freddy is confronting his past head on as he contacts someone he was close to in the concentration camp. Whilst they have gone different ways their shared experiences will always make them feel like family.

This book is slightly different from the previous one in as much we know right from the start who is committing the crimes and even their reasoning behind it. Tony is charming on the surface, having fully adopted the persona he created when he was shipped out to America at the start of the war, but he has a dark soul bent on revenge for his family. Knowing who is committing the crimes in no way detracts from the book as it is intriguing to watch the killer move around Berlin, getting close to Hanni and even using her profession to further his goals. Due to the media attention surrounding him thanks to the American charm offensive he is as Freddy puts it “a stranger who you think you know” making it easy for him to get close to those he kills.

Once again Hanni and Freddy put their lives in danger as they try to prove their theories and also ensure that Tony pays for his crimes and things are not swept under the carpet. Unfortunately, their determination and unwillingness to keep Freddy’s boss in the loop means that people close to them pay for it with their lives.

I am looking forward to seeing if there is more for Hanni as she still has not really dealt with the spectre that is her father and I would love to know if she and Freddy can build on their relationship and overcome the past once and for all

About the Author

Catherine Hokin is the author of two World War Two inspired novels set in Berlin, her favourite city. Following a History degree at Manchester University she worked in teaching, marketing and politics, while waiting for a chance to do what she really wanted which was to write full time. Her short stories have been published by iScot, Writers Forum and Myslexia magazines and she was the winner of the 2019 Fiction 500 Short Story Competition. She is a lover of strong female leads and a quest.

Catherine now lives in Glasgow with her American husband. She has two grown-up children – one of whom lives, very conveniently, in Berlin – and a life long addiction to very loud music.

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