Hanni and Freddy find themselves facing another serial killer on the streets of Germany in the mid 1940s. A seemingly random selection of people are killed: what could connect them in the mind of the killer? And can Hanni and Freddy escape the shadows of their pasts?
The Pilot’s Girl is the sequel to The Commandant’s Daughter. It is set a few months after the events of the first book but there are no spoilers.
Hanni is the daughter of a high ranking SS officer who has evaded capture and has reinvented himself. She is keeping this a secret from Freddy who is Jewish and whose family was wiped out by the Nazis. This adds a strain and distance to their relationship which they need to overcome in order to work together and catch the killer. However, they cannot deny their romantic feelings for each other.
I really liked the descriptions of life in the immediate aftermath of the war as the Germans struggled to adjust to the changes. Holocaust details are interspersed across the book to show the motive fot he killer and the expereince of the main characters. The author has done considerable research to get the historical tone and context realistic which then makes the characters seem more real.
We know the identity of the killer quite early on and his motives are understandable, creating a moral dilemma similar to the first book. It becomes a cat and mouse game as Hanni and Freddy try to work out the killer’s identity and then struggle to find evidence against him. There is plenty of drama and danger for the detective duo as they deal with the combination of the killer, police politics, the aftermath of the war and their family circumstances.
The Pilot’s Girl is an enjoyable mix of historical drama and murder mystery.
The Pilot’s Girl Book Description:
‘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.
Catherine Hokin is the author of several 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 lifelong addiction to very loud music.