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beautiful writing mixed with an unengaging plot

  • Feb 3, 2010
When I first started reading this I was thrilled. The writing was polished. But polish on top of a flat narrative just didn't hold my attention to the end. There may be a pulse pounding climax, as the publisher's blurb claims. I wouldn't know. I gave up about half way through. I did find some interest in what I assume was well researched historical narrative, but it wasn't enough to propel the story.

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review by . February 13, 2010
In May of 1942 the island of Malta was under continuous bombing by the Nazis since it lay right in the center of the shipping lane from Italy to Rommel in North Africa. The British were barely holding on, and that's the essential element of the plot.    Young Maltese girls are being murdered, and evidence points to a British officer as the culprit. Though our protagonist attempts to solve the murders, he is thwarted at every turn by the higher ups in the British chain of command, …
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michael mckee ()
Ranked #456
I'm a photographer and writer living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I love - in no particular order: nature, good coffee, smooth jazz, mystery novels and speculative fiction. I hike, bike, play … more
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The prolonged and intense Axis bombing of Malta and the British efforts to deliver squadrons of new Spitfire fighters in aid of the strategic Mediterranean island's defense provide the dramatic backdrop for Mills's WWII spy thriller. Maj. Max Chadwick negotiates a narrow path feeding info via his weekly bulletin in the Maltese newspaperIl-Berqa, putting a positive spin on Malta's depressing situation, and seeking to separate rumor from fact. When Chadwick learns that a British submariner may be a serial killer targeting sherry queens (e.g., dance hostesses who worked the bars and bawdy music halls in the capital city's disreputable quarter), he has to consider carefully what to reveal. If the murders become public, they could tip the precarious balance of local support against the British. Mills (Amagansett) paints a vivid portrait of a tenacious people, embattled and besieged troops, and a principled man trying to resolve the conflict between duty and justice.(Feb.)
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ISBN-10: 1400068185
ISBN-13: 978-1400068180
Author: Mark Mills
Publisher: Random House

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