A fantastic novel, at once a gripping political thriller, and a complex mystery tale.” ---David Brooks, author of Bobos in Paradise Le Carré and Deighton fans will welcome Steiner’s engaging … see full wiki
A friend recommended Le Assassin by Peter Steiner, and in the process of putting that on hold I found that Le Crime was the first in the series. So to keep things straight, I decided to start at the beginning. Now, since my friend has not steered me wrong in recommendations so far, I *will* be reading Le Assassin. But if I were to judge it by Le Crime, I'd probably pass. Le Crime was a slow espionage novel, with most of the action taking place in the mind and not in the real world. I felt as if I had missed a major chunk of the story somewhere, and the whole book left me feeling a bit underwhelmed.
Louis Morgon is a former State Department official who has moved to France to escape his past. He was forced out of his position by rumors and accusations about his ability and decisions he made during critical world events, and now he just wants to put it all behind him. Unfortunately, the past comes back in a gruesome way when he finds a dead body on his doorstep, a man with his throat slit. The local French police captain is pressured to ignore the crime, but he and Morgon continue to dig a bit deeper into what may have led to this body showing up. Was it random or a warning to Morgon? Is it something from Morgon's past, or perhaps is it tied to current world events? Morgon has his ideas as to what it means and who is behind it, and starts to pick at mental and physical threads in hopes that those responsible will tip their hands and reveal themselves.
For me, the book was just far too slow with not enough action that I normally expect in an espionage story. A significant part of the book deals with flashbacks and ties to his children, how he neglected them growing up, and how his primary suspect ruined his life and career while appearing to be solidly supportive. And given that both the main characters are well past the age of 60, it's not as if there are thrilling action scenes and life-or-death physical struggles. Mostly the action takes place in the mind, and in this case, it wasn't enough to keep me overly involved. I'll give Le Assassin a chance following this, but there may be a few books between now and then, as I'm not feeling highly compelled to dive back into Morgon's world.