I loved this book which combines mystery, police procedural and a tale of redemption with an unmistakable thread of mysticism. It reminded me, regularlI loved this book which combines mystery, police procedural and a tale of redemption with an unmistakable thread of mysticism. It reminded me, regularly, of Elmore Leonard's 2009 book "Touch", though that is just a recollection. Sonny Lofthus (spellings to be checked) is a junky in a Norwegian prison. Other cons come to him to confess their sins and to receive absolution. This is, in my reading, a literal and felt removal of sins, though I suppose it could be interpreted as a bit of psychology if you'd prefer. Sonny also is content to stay in jail where his appetite for heroin is easily met. But we and Sonny soon learn, through the confession of an old prisoner who is dying from cancer, that Sonny's father, a policeman, had not committed suicide to avoid exposure for corruption, but had been executed by criminals. Sonny's descent started with his father's shame and he no longer has any need to stay in prison. In fact he needs to get out, and set the world right, and deliver judgement and punishment. Chief Inspector Simon Kefas of the Oslo homicide squad, is Sonny's counterpart in the story. He is in late middle age, recovering from a ruinous gambling addiction. He is a good cop and a good man. His wife is going blind The book is fast paced, switching locations rapidly and smoothly, with the action before the switch, right at the cliff's edge. Seemingly miraculous escapes are, always I thought, well explained. A really good book. I'm going back to give it five stores; I had down-graded it to four in punishment for the parts of the epilogue in which surviving characters converse, dispose of loose ends and reveal more of the story's prehistory ...more
Good music, single-malt, a renovated cottage, complicated colleagues (good gender balance on the force) and lots of crime, much of it gruesome. What'sGood music, single-malt, a renovated cottage, complicated colleagues (good gender balance on the force) and lots of crime, much of it gruesome. What's not to love? Perhaps familiarity is a bit unlovable. It cuts both ways. We enjoy the slow unfolding of the lives of Banks and his team but we are also aware of the soap-opera that unfolds along with the crime.
In this case the the crime is an expensive stolen tractor and the coincidental discovery of possible human blood in a hanger on an abandoned air base. Terry Gilchrist, recovery veteran from the war in Afghanistan, makes that discovery when his well-trained dog won't respond to his whistles Are the two linked? (Does a bear defecate in the woods?) Indeed they are. In fact there is a rural crime wave unfolding, matched by organizational changes in policing to counter the villains.
Annie Cabot's healing continues.
This is a fast-paced, well told story with great atmosphere; just what I have come to expect from the series....more
This was Roth's last book. I thought it was very fine though some reviewers felt it was incomplete and at under 200 pages it is at times like a mere This was Roth's last book. I thought it was very fine though some reviewers felt it was incomplete and at under 200 pages it is at times like a mere outline of a life, a sequence of brief sketches.
The Emperor's Tomb runs in parallel with The Radetzky March and follows another member of the Trotta family, Franz Ferdinand, a young Viennese man, young when WWI breaks out. His Slovenian father has been successful in America and returns to Austria. Franz lives a lazy existence, meeting with friends in Cafes and restaurants, not taking anything too seriously, cloaking a growing love for Elizabeth, because love and marriage are not acceptable in his circle. Sex is with prostitutes, and an aside.
Two characters from outside privileged, idle Vienna capture Trotta's imagination and that of his friend. Joseph Branco, a cousin of Trotta's from Slovenia, who spends part of each year as an itinerant chestnut roaster, traveling throughout the provinces of Austria-Hungary. Thee other is Manes Reisiger, a Jewish coach driver from Galicia. Manes first appears with a letter of reference from Joseph, seeking help in getting his talented soon into the Conservatory.
When war begins, Trotta arranges to join the same regiment as these two. Their war is inglorious, a series of retreats quickly followed by capture and exile in Siberia. All three return, but to a world transformed. Franz Ferdinand himself appears never to be employed save for the period as an unsuccessful soldier.
Before going to war Trotta marries Elizabeth but the marriage is unconsummated. His old servant, who has accompanied them on their wedding night, dies suddenly and Trotta stays with him rather than with Elizabeth who is gone when the morning comes.
When he returns from the war, Elizabeth is making 'arts and crafts' and in a strange lesbian relationship with a Hungarian 'professor' who designs the (unsuccessful) crafts. Much of the remaining family wealth is dissipated supporting the enterprise. Trotta's father-in-law and a Prussian who seems to be a convincing con man lubricate the slide into financial ruin. Elizabeth has Trotta's child, a son. He is "a blood-red, frightful-looking creature with much too big a head and limbs which remained on of fins" Elizabeth abandons the family shortly after the birth, beguiled again by the Professor and the Prussian to try to be an actress in the new film business. Trotta is besotted by his son, but soon sends him to Paris "to my friend Laveraville".
The final scene, the onset of Nazi rule, is a very fine chapter.
Perhaps I'll update later. Suffice for now to say that I enjoyed apart from the occassional excursions into the psychology of everyday life of both thPerhaps I'll update later. Suffice for now to say that I enjoyed apart from the occassional excursions into the psychology of everyday life of both the good guys and the villains....more
Many must love this but I was appalled and yet I perservered to the end. That is partly my own character flaw: once rolling I carry on. But it was alsMany must love this but I was appalled and yet I perservered to the end. That is partly my own character flaw: once rolling I carry on. But it was also do to the irritating need to go along with the scary plot. Even there the book created for me questions of 'what with the author write next?' rather than 'what's going to happen?'.
Most offputting was the gushy mix of romance novel with mystery. How many sensitive damaged people can one story/police department hold? ...more
I read this as a fan of the television series, so essentially I was reading for information that would help me sort out the sometimes confusing strandI read this as a fan of the television series, so essentially I was reading for information that would help me sort out the sometimes confusing strands. I was very pleasantly surprised. It's well written and the stories are powerful. Of course the characters have the faces and voices of the tv series so there is an occassional anomaly but total consistency isn't necessary. The written story is grittier and, though it may seem hard to believe given the vivid graphics of the show, fleshier than the screen. Written descriptions of sex have more power than the televised couplings, at least for me. I look forward to Book 2. Perhaps I'll have caught up by the time the next season starts....more
I hadn't read any Brian Moore before. He was in the pantheon of Canadian writers and that both put me (also Canadian)off and made me want to check himI hadn't read any Brian Moore before. He was in the pantheon of Canadian writers and that both put me (also Canadian)off and made me want to check him out. I came across this book as an entry point.
It is a thriller. Set in France in the 1980s an old collaborator and war criminal remains on the run, pursued by the police, the military, a revenge-seeking Jewish commando and other shadowy forces. He is protected by conservative priests and monks of the French catholic church as well as by figures from the past, still a force in contemporary France. The new church is undermining this support system.
It is a short, taut read, reminding me of Graham Greene. No one in the story is particularly likeable, least of all, perhaps, the protagonist. The book ends with much unresolved, perhaps a commeentary on the status of history and the many loose ends that remain after a catacysm like WW2.
I will be following up with other works by Moore....more
This was a classic Rebus story and it led to my discovery the music of Jackie Levin, may he rest in peace; a tremendous bonus. This is the second storyThis was a classic Rebus story and it led to my discovery the music of Jackie Levin, may he rest in peace; a tremendous bonus. This is the second story that unites Rebus with Malcolm Fox. I was troubled by the previous encounter where to me Fox seemed a completely different man from the character that was drawn in the stories in which he featured without Rebus. Now it seems like that was a result of Fox being seen through Rebus's or Rebus-like eyes. In 'Saints' he's fleshed out properly and the two combine as cases intersect. This is also the second novel bringing Rebus back from retirement. He is back at a lower rank and feels out of step with the new world of policing. He has alway been comfortable as someone who plays by his own rules but the feeling of aging is clearly weighing. The man needs to get in shape but that would be quite a change in character. Hard to see Rebus taking up fitness at this stage. The story unites Rebus with old friends who were veterans when he first became a polliceman. Ways were different for police then, corners cut and villains knocked about. A change in laws has removed a statute of limitations on some criminal proceedings and this leads to Fox being sent in to investigate an old homicide for which Rebus's former colleagues, and perhaps Rebus himself, might have been culpable Terrific entertainment....more