Richard Whittle’s novel “The Man Who Played Trains”, recently published by Urbane Publications is, so far, the best novel I’ve read this year. It is an ambitious undertaking, a very well thought out plot, a book set in two eras and in two places, it is, to my mind, more than just a “thriller”.
The narrative, partly set in the last days of the Second World War from the German perspective, is thoroughly convincing and the characters very well crafted. The sections of the book set in the present day far north of Scotland are spot on too – I’ve lived there. The word count is high but the skilful plot construction and narrative flow makes for a really good read.
I think Urbane Publications have got their hands on a cracking story here and I think it would make a good film; film scouts check it out! It is very refreshing to find a new story and one one with some characters who, thankfully, refuse to be neatly labelled as “goodies” or “baddies”.
The ending was not what I expected; it was better than the possible endings I’d anticipated. There’s a lot of thought and substance in this book and I found it a hugely satisfying story from the first page to the very last.