Sunday, January 29, 2006

Deaver and Davis

Jeffery Deaver, The Devil's Teardrop: I'm on a bit of a Deaver-kick at the moment. Unfortunately I think the library may have run out of books now... Anyway, I merrily picked up two non-Rhyme/Sachs novels lately. I didn't really want to, because one gets very attached to an author's detectives you know, but I wasn't disappointed. Anyway, in this one Rhyme has a small cameo, which was nice.

Storyline: a man hides a silenced machine gun in a bag, and fires wildly in a crowd, killing several. The police get a note from someone else, wanting money to stop the shooter. The only lead is the note, so Parker Kincaid, former FBI document expert, is asked to come back to help find the man behind the scheme. Kincaid is a nice hero, I was pleased to make his acquaintance. He is a single father, who has promised to give up his police career in order to gain custody of his children and protect them from a selfish, alcoholic mother. However, he can't help but get involved in the case when the shooter kills children. Juxtaposed with him is Margaret Lukas, a tough-as-nails federal agent. They make a good pair.

The best thing with this book is that it really did fool me. There are several false leads, and I was sucked in and fooled, I admit it. Original yet credible plot, definitely well worth reading! Recommended!

Deaver, Garden of Beasts: For a change, this is an historical novel, set in Berlin during the Olympic games of -36. A New York professional killer (a button man), is covertly hired by the US government to kill the mastermind behind Germany's rearmament scheme. In exchange he's going to get a clean slate and a fresh start. Once in Berlin our hitman, Paul Schumann, can't help but get a little too personally involved as he discovers what fear and oppression people are living under.

I really wouldn't want to give away too much of the plot, because just as with The Devil's Teardrop it was pleasantly complicated and had me fooled. The ending is perhaps a little too sentimental, but I wouldn't want to let that colour my perception of the whole book. On the whole it's very enjoyable, and cleverly explores questions of good and evil, morality and immorality.

The book is marred a tiny bit by Deaver's over-eagerness in showing us that he's done his research well. There are a few too many explanations into German expressions and a few too many dropping of brand names of the times. In my opinion a lot of writers fall into this trap when they are writing about an era or a country not perfectly familiar to them - for example all these American writers who write detective novels set in England; on the whole people drink just a few too many cups of teas, and they're referred to as cuppas just a little too much. If you see what I mean.

Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised an impressed by this one. Obviously a story he was eager to tell. I'd have to say well done!

Lindsey Davis, See Delphi and Die: Another Falco novel! His wife's (Helena's) brother, Aulus, has beensent to Greece to study law. Almost immediately the family receives a letter from him, teling about a murder that has occurred within a group of tourists he came across. His mother becomes worried that her eldest son will be in danger, so sends Falco off to investigate.

As I think I've previously said, I love the characters and historical detail of these books, even though the writing style is really too choppy and disjointed to be perfect. They would have been so much better with better editing, in my opinion. Nevertheless it's charming how Davis manages to insert a modern phenomenon as tourism into Ancient Greece and get away with it. The ending of this one leaves a lot to be desired. It's very abrupt and it almost seems as though she were fed up with the story.

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