- Series: A Mason Collins Novel (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Berkley; 1st edition (May 5, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0425278956
- ISBN-13: 978-0425278956
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 84 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,409,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Ruins of War: A Mason Collins Novel Hardcover – May 5, 2015
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“A thrilling hunt…gripping and gruesome.”—James Becker, bestselling author of The Lost Testament
“Ruins of War is a well-crafted, classic police tale set in postwar 1945 Munich, a city that could double as the living room of hell. Mason Collins, a military cop, actually asked to be transferred there, and immediately has to find a killer who is preying on the citizens, adding terror to abject misery. Mason's pursuit of the madman takes him though a ruined landscape, filled with inhabitants as shattered as the city they live in.”—Larry Bond, author of Red Phoenix and Shattered Trident
“John Connell's Ruins of War is the best historical crime novel I've read all year. As vivid a sense of time and place as anything by Alan Furst, a killer as horrifying as any in Thomas Harris, and a central character I'm sure we'll be reading about for years to come.”—Scott Phillips, author of The Ice Harvest and Hop Alley
About the Author
John A. Connell has worked as a cameraman on films such as Jurassic Park and Thelma & Louise and on TV shows including The Practice and NYPD Blue. He now lives with his wife in Madrid, Spain, where he is at work on his third Mason Collins novel.
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Aside from being so predictable that it felt as if I'd read this book several times before, there are so many words, phrases, expressions that are contemporary that there's very little sense of events that happened 60 years ago. It's not only the author's fault, it's also the fault of the editor and the proof-reader (if they even exist anymore.) I'm willing to forgive one or two anachronisms, but when I start taking notes of the ones I find, what we have here is a book in trouble.
Here are just a few:
Referring to military men as "doughboys." Well, no. By WWII, they were called GIs.
Supercop??? Get outta here. No way.
Psycho killer? Not, at the very least, until after 1960 when Hitchcock made his creepy masterpiece.
Peanut gallery. Yeah, okay. A vaudevillian term referring to people who sat in the cheap seats but popularized by the Howdy Doody Show which didn't go on the air until 1947 -- two years after the war ended.
On and on and on.
I disliked the characters. Again, it seemed I'd read about these same people in half a dozen other books. Stock characters, behaving in stock fashion.
So, no. Give this one a pass. There are so many other, better books waiting to be read. Go for one of those.
Mason Collins is the lead in this new series from John A. Connell. He is a detective for CID in the American occupying forces. I won’t bore you with plot details that you can get from the product description, but rather I’ll focus on why this is a great book.
Connell writes in a way that brings to life the utter ruin of Germany after all of the Allied bombing raids. The plight of the German citizens that have been displaced by the war struck me in his portrayal. It gave me a better appreciation for why the U.S. doesn’t immediately pull out when a war is over. People are poor and/or homeless, and many of life’s essentials are in short supply. These are the ingredients for crime of all sorts.
In addition, some people just come unhinged from the things that they’ve either seen or done. That is the case for the killer in this story.
Collins is also an interesting character. He is a flawed hero - as many are. I thought that Connell did a good job of balancing backstory with plot. There was one scene where Collins describes a heinous ultimatum that his captors gave him during the war when he was a POW. That account made me as sad as I think I’ve ever felt reading a novel. While this is a work of fiction, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see something similar having really happened.
The story is also well written. Connell places the plot well, and the action doesn’t stop until the end. There is plenty of action, and the resolution is satisfying. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who likes period mystery novels.
I found it really interesting, I liked the main character a lot, and I found myself cheering for his success, and yelling at his bosses, trying to get in the way of him solving the crimes on his terms. I liked the supporting characters, and although the ending was set for a sequel, I'm guessing we won't see too many of the people he worked with again. I imagine there will be all new supporting characters.
With that said, I would recommend this book to anyone who likes police procedurals. Again, the setting added so much to the story, and I can see all kinds of books in the future with the policeman Mason Collins. I have already ordered the sequel, and hoping for more after that.