Liz Nutting's Reviews > The Information Officer: A Novel

The Information Officer by Mark Mills
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's review
May 12, 11

bookshelves: mystery-thriller
Read from May 07 to 11, 2011

After finishing Unbroken and Operation Mincemeat, I was definitely in the mood for a good, WWII-era spy thriller. The Information Officer filled the bill, although it was more murder mystery than spy thriller. Toss in an exotic locale and if I could, I'd really give this 3.5 stars.

The Information Officer is set on Malta in 1942. The strategic importance of Malta to the Allies and the role it played in helping to win the war is a little piece of lost history that this book uncovers. Major Max Chadwick is the Information Officer, responsible for spinning the news to keep morale high among the island populace. His job is not always easy, as the Nazis lay siege to the island, blocking supply lines and pummeling its cities with bombs morning, noon and night. So when the body of a local girl is found raped and murdered and evidence points to a British submariner, Max is all too aware of the destabilizing effect this could have on the delicate relationship between the military and their Maltese hosts. Finding the killer seems to be the only way to preserve the balance.

While it didn't have quite the same compelling power of The Lock Artist, The Information Officer still kept me up too late for a few nights. The mystery was just complex enough to be interesting without being convoluted. There was a lot of exposition of history, both of the real Malta and the backstory on various characters; the latter sometimes bogged the story down. Despite lots of obvious red herrings, I still guessed the identity of the killer earlier than I should have. I'm trying to decide what I think about the climax and wrap-up, which had an unfinished feel about it. In short, a good mystery and a fun read, but not one that will have me re-reading it. I might, however, check out author Mark Mills' other mysteries.

And if nothing else, I loved the setting. I found myself calling up Malta on Google Earth to look up the landmarks mentioned in the book. And I seethed with envy knowing that a dear friend of mine was, at the very moment of my reading, vacationing on Malta, seeing it all for herself. (I lent her the book before she went, so I'm hoping to see photos of some of the places mentioned.) I might have to add Malta to my bucket list.


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message 1: by Praggya (new) - added it

Praggya You should totally add Malta to your bucket list. It's probably one of the most interesting places I've been.

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