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Archive for the ‘investigations’ Tag

The Girl Who is That Girl   Leave a comment

The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye (Millennium Series #5)
David Lagercrantz is no Stieg Larsson, but at least Lisbeth Salander, the notorious bad girl who, ironically, stands for good and justice, has been given new life.

The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye is Lagercrantz’s second contribution to what started as Larsson’s Millennium Triology. This fifth novel resurrects most of the original characters, including Salander along with Mikael Blomkvist, Holger Palmgrem, chief inspector Jan Bublanski and several others.

Salander remains an intelligent, obstinate young woman. She’s physically and mentally strong. She is also intolerant of ignorance and injustice.

This most recent addition to the series finds Salander in prison where she manipulates a bad situation to her advantage. In the process, she comes to the aid of an inmate, a Bangladeshi woman, who is threatened by Benito, another prisoner who essentially runs the roost.

The narrative features two paths, one involving Islamic extremists and the other focusing on a sadistic study of twins. Salander traverses both. Consequently, there are plenty of near-death misses, brutal encounters and last-minute escapes. Thus, a strong ability to suspend disbelief is a requirement for getting through the book. The beatings the main character endures, for example, would defeat most mortals.

Salander feeds small pieces of information to Blomkvist to pursue, while she does the dirty work. He knows she’s onto something big but it takes him longer to digest. Still, the element of suspense is strong and once again it’s easy to cheer for Salander, even if her tactics are not always palatable.

The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye
Three-and-three-quarter Bookmarks
Alfred A. Knopf, 2017
347 pages

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Held in Suspense   Leave a comment

Child44

Child 44 begins in such a predictable manner, with a vignette from the past, it belies the true suspense of Tom Rob Smith’s novel. However, as the tale unfolds each twist and turn is a complete surprise.

In Stalin-era Russia, Leo Demidov is with the State Security Force. In the midst of investigating a possible traitor, he’s ordered to address the death of a colleague’s young son. The family is convinced the boy was murdered but as Leo notes, “If left unchecked, the groundless chatter about murder could grow like a weed, spreading through the community … making them question one of the fundamental pillars of their new society: there is no crime.” The family’s concerns are dismissed.

Although he’s guilty of cold-heartedly dealing with those who denounce Mother Russia through actual or perceived actions, Leo has a soft side. Smith establishes a tangible fear and mistrust that permeate the Russian culture. Leo has kicked in more than his share of doors and had citizens banished, or worse, but the tide changes and he becomes a hapless victim when he refuses to condemn his wife, Raisa.

Consequently, Leo is assigned menial tasks with  small town police force, but a girl’s murder captures his attention by its similarity to the death he had previously scorned. Thus begins a secret investigation, cross-country pursuit, and unraveling of long-held secrets.

This is a rapid-heart rate page turner. However, one fault lies in Leo’s nemesis: Vasili, a one-dimensional character in an otherwise realistic, albeit frightening, world.

Child 44

Four and a half Bookmarks
Grand Central Publishing, 2008
436 pages

Reckoning With the Criminal Element   1 comment

Ragephoto

There’s a difference between mysteries and crime novels, which is evident in Gene Kerrigan’s The Rage – and not just because the Crime Writer’s Association Award for the Best Crime Novel of the Year is advertised on the cover.

Kerrigan is a master storyteller whose characters, good and bad, aren’t black and white. The cops have a lot of gray areas, and the less-than-desirables do, too. Even, a nun falls somewhere in the middle, which has nothing to do with her habit.

Detective Sergeant Bob Tidey is part of the Dublin Garda (police), but not one of those strictly-by-the- rules kind of cops. He’s mostly driven by common sense, which tends to create some heartache for him and his superiors. At the other end of the law-and-order spectrum is Vincent Naylor, recently released from prison where he’d served time for a brutal assault, now in the midst of planning a major heist. Ironically, Tidey and Naylor never encounter one another, but their paths cross frequently –thanks to Maura Coady, a retired nun. Make no mistake, she’s no Saint.

Fraud, drugs, murder and misguided romance fill Kerrigan’s novel. Tidey is assigned to investigate a case that, ultimately, has only the thinnest a connection to Naylor. In fact, the robbery Naylor plans is gripping in its detail, but has nothing to do with Tidey; that is, until Maura Coady notices an unknown car parked on her quiet street. This is no mystery, but seeing the pieces of the story come together is captivating.

The Rage
Four Bookmarks
Europa Editions, 2012
313 pages