‘The Boy Who Flew,’ may seem like a departure after Fleur Hitchcock’s contemporary crime novels, which have ‘cornered the market in hard-boiled crime novels for beginners,’ according to The Times. For me this is still quintessentially a Fleur Hitchcock novel, we still have all the core elements that make her stories so compelling. We have a plucky child -Athan Wilde – who finds himself in an impossibly dangerous situation. We have an unexplained murder – Athan’s friend Mr Chen, whose death may be linked to the flying machine that he has been working on in top-secret. And we have a whole host of grown-ups who cause chaos and confusion by being (as grown-ups are want to be) being generally erratic and suspicious in their behaviour. The difference with, ‘The Boy Who Flew,’ is the setting which feels like a character in it’s own right and dominates the novel. Athan lives a poor life, filled with grime and misery awaiting around the corner. The death of Mr Chen seems to have consigned him to a career working in the sewers, which for a bright and inquisitive boy like Athan really is a crime.
The story is packed with drama and tension from the offset as Athan tries to protect Mr Chen’s flying machine from falling into the wrong hands but little does he realise that by doing this he is endangering those he loves. We are taken on a breath-taking journey across the rooftops of Bath and experience a dark and uninviting side, a world away from the fashionable spas and glamorous parties of the upper classes. Fleur’s writing stimulates all of your senses allowing the reader to fully immerse themselves in this dirty, sullied backstreets. Yet Athan dreams of a different life, the one that Mr Chen has given him a glimpse of, as he helped him understand that he has the potential to escape the confines of his birth. He refuses to give in to the demands of the dastardly villains who torment and threaten his family, despite being tested to his very limits. He is an intriguing and genuinely likeable character, you can’t help but admire his bravery and ambition. Fast-paced and thrilling, this truly is a edge-of-your-seat adventure, full of twists and turns that will keep you holding your breath to the very last page.
Why not join in with the rest of the blog tour?
Thank you to Rebecca and Nosy Crow for inviting me to join in with the blog tour and for sending me a gifted copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. ‘The Boy Who Flew,’ is available to buy now online or from any good bookshop.