First of a series: with lovable, larcenous Jethro a good bet to steal hearts on both sides of the Atlantic.
— Kirkus (Starred Review)
An evocative and witty style distinguishes Broadbent's first novel, set in austere 1947 London. This strong debut marks Broadbent as definitely an author to watch.
— Publishers Weekly
This knockout first novel carries the reader deep into the labyrinthine streets of London immediately after World War II. Broadbent's hero, cat burglar Jethro, fits perfectly into this post-Blitz zeitgeist. A witty and jaunty opportunist, Jethro serves as combination narrator and tour guide through his own adventures and craft. The first four chapters arguably one of the most exquisitely suspenseful openings in crime fiction... Remarkable history-mystery with fascinating background.
— Booklist (Starred Review)
The Smoke takes its time concentrating on its main suspense story; after all, there are so many dark alleys and byways in London to explore (the great crumbling theaters, fry shops like the Victory Cafe where customers can still get "a good nosh") that the novel is easily diverted from its spy-vs.-spy machinations. Not a problem. Jethro's illicit adventures are entertaining, but this is one of those mysteries whose distinctive sense of place lingers long after plot details have faded.
— The Washington Post
The best stories take the reader into new worlds and experiences. Tony Broadbent provides that with wonderful skill in The Smoke. More than a page-turner or a caper novel, it's about a time and place uniquely and expertly captured by this new writer. I was enthralled with it.
— Michael Connelly
Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award Winner!
Macavity|Sue Feder Historical Award Nominee
IMBA 'Killer Book'
If you enjoy the adventures of Raffles, The Saint and Richard Hannay, this is for you.
— Otto Penzler
Broadbent honors—with understated admiration and moments of high-quality local humor—the spirit of London's (postwar) inhabitants. Cary Grant could have played Jethro the cat burglar perfectly.
— Dick Adler, Chicago Tribune
Every bit as tense and fascinating as The Smoke. Broadbent's physical descriptions of Londoners crawling out from the ruins are vivid and powerful, as when he likens a street to a mouth with missing teeth. He's also instructive, without being overbearing, on the political and social history of the times. But what will make readers clutch their books a little tighter are the cat burglar's accounts of hanging from ropes outside of homes, dropping in, allowing all his senses to scan the area, and, when trouble looms, pulling off his gravity- and death-defying escapes. All liberally laced with Jethro's sardonic wit.
— Booklist (Starred Review)
As thrillers get bigger I keep moving back towards a smaller stage where I can actually believe the peril(s) facing the protagonist. British Broadbent's wonderfully imagined cat burglar—remember the immortal To Catch a Thief?—Jethro returns in Spectres in the Smoke...
— Barbara Peters, Poisoned Pen
Vintage atmosphere. Great writing. Perfect story. Nails the period better than I have ever seen it done before.
— Lee Child
The post-war world of London used to be my turf, but Tony Broadbent just knocked me out the ring. He has a rare eye for detail and a grasp of Cockney slang that can only be envied. Better still he creates an underworld as arcane, as secret, as vicious as Andrew Vachss' New York—and that's scary. A real roller coaster of a ride—and an amazing read.
— John Lawton
Tony Broadbent has written a stirring, suspense-filled thriller that will keep readers riveted. The plot twists and turns, tangles and untangles with the hero on the run. Readers will be on tenterhooks throughout while following the hero through a nostalgic tour of postwar London. It’s truly a ‘cannot-put-down’ book.
— Historic Novel Society
Tony Broadbent's style glints in this darkly humorous tale played out in the stark realism of post-war London. A A welcome third in this one-of-a-kind series.
— Laurie R. King
Tony Broadbent gets better and better with each Jethro book. Take London atmosphere as thick as a pea-souper, a rakish Cockney cat burglar with the soul of a poet, a plot that twists and turns like the darkest of London alleys, and you have a terrific read. Highly recommended!
— Deborah Crombie
JETHRO — COCKNEY CAT BURGLAR AND JEWEL THIEF EXTRAORDINAIRE— IN HIS 4TH LONDON ADVENTURE
'The Smoke' is getting ready to enjoy The Festival of Britain on the South Bank of the Thames. But 'foreigners' from out of town keep on trying to take Jethro out of the game for good.
Is it any wonder that MI5's suggestion he lose himself again amidst London's mirror world of spies seems much the safer option.
'No official statement of purpose heralds the Festival, though the British are much given to commemoration and 1951 is the centenary of Victoria's 'Great Exhibition' that presented Tom Thumb, the Crystal Palace, and the crinoline'. — Flair Magazine January 1951
All very nice for some, but you might well be wondering what the Festival of Britain will herald for our daring cat burglar and jewel thief, Jethro. For starters we find him hanging by his very fingertips from atop The Shot Tower ( the Napoleonic-era brick tower close to Waterloo Bridge on one side and the new Festival Hall, The Skylon, and the Dome of Discovery—centre-pieces of The Festival—on the other ). And if that wasn't enough for him to contend with, there're far too many people with guns running around London that simply want to see him dead. SPRING 2020