THE NAKED AND THE DAMNED by Neville Johnston

By: Susan W. Smith

Volume 17, Issue 12, December 2022

“THE NAKED AND THE DAMNED” by Neville Johnston was probably written for readers no matter where they live. But for those who live in the Thousand Islands, we will smile more often because ther are references which are familiar to us. Meeting George Boldt at the Waldorf Astoria made me smile, and worrying about the 1919 Flu epidemic in New York City made me frown in concern, the same as our life with Covid 19 in 2022.

This novel is actually a stand-alone sequel to Neville's Road to Oblivion: The Great War of Osbie McDonald  written in December 2021. Taking the time to read this fourth one was easy. Sitting at my computer, starting to write this review made me realize that much is told in the back-cover blurb and yet, as it suggests, the book ends with “shocking twists and turns.” In fact, those shocking twists and turns appear all the way through, and the reader will need to be on their game throughout. Just what you want in a mystery novel.

The Naked and the Damned by Neville Johnston


A beautiful French woman, wrongly convicted of spying for the Germans in World War One Paris and sentenced to be put to death by a firing squad, escapes under a new identity to New York City, where she meets and falls in love with a handsome young Roman Catholic priest, an Italian immigrant with eerie secret ties to the Sicilian Mafia.
In the blindness of her passion, she ignores the tell-tale signs of weaknesses in the history and character of her lover, who takes unparalleled steps to save her life, as she is relentlessly pursued across the globe by her nemesis, Bourque, a French Police inspector hellbent on recapturing her in order to feed her to the firing squad. Eventually, she ends up in Zürich and Lucerne, Switzerland, where electrifying events involving her, the priest, and Bourque unfold, in shocking twists and turns.


The Naked and the Damned is just as exciting to read as Johnston's other books. In fact, as the story starts to unfold and we meet each character, certain questions come to mind: Who is this person, really? What role will they play in the end? And, goodness gracious, what's next?

This is undoubtedly a novel that deserves to be on your island bookshelf. So don’t wait for the summer, order it now, read it now, and enjoy it now.

About the Author

Having arrived in Canada from Jamaica in 1959 with $5, his clothes, and a few books, Neville Johnston graduated with a B.A. from University of Toronto in 1961 and then with a J.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1964.  For 53 years, he practiced law and was a partner in the Brockville-firm, Henderson Johnston Fournier.  

In addition to being a Member of the Bar of Ontario, Johnston is also a Member of the Bar of New York.  He is the recipient of the Vanier Award (1973) as one of five Outstanding Young Persons of Canada, a distinction later shared by former Governor General Edward Schreyer (1975) and hockey great Wayne Gretzky (1982). Johnston, now retired and enjoying writing, self-proclaims that he is a true "alchemist of words".

Neville Johnston Books

These books can be found on, and (once on the site, do a search for Neville Johnston)

Susan W. Smith Editor, info@thouandislandslife. com

Posted in: Volume 17, Issue 12, December 2022, Book review

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