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Rough Country
Rough Country
par John Sandford
Edition : Poche
Prix : EUR 8,45

3.0 étoiles sur 5 Amusing but not thrilling, 14 avril 2013
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Rough Country (Poche)
Police procedural about a complex murder case in Minnesota. An all-girl country band and a lake-side resort frequented by lesbian and bisexual women play a major part in this book. Until the final pages, it is unclear who committed the murder Virgil Flowers (VF) has to solve. And there will be more (near) casualties...

John Sandford (JS) wrote 23 books about crime fighter Lucas Davenport (LD) in Minneapolis/St. Paul, who is unique among fictional or real-life policemen because he drives to work in a Porsche. [He became rich selling the games and simulations he invented to bigger firms]. After many depressing thrillers re its victims starring Lucas, JS created another hero and series situated in rural Minnesota, but with LD still nominally in charge. This is book 3/6 about Virgil's cases so far.

Virgil has solved more murders than anyone in Minnesota, but for Davenport he is also a liability: He sleeps with witnesses, forgets where his official handgun is, and being a fanatical angler, takes his boat tied to his official car to murder sites. Worse, he was once married and divorced 3 times within 3 years. He looks like a pop star, wears rare T-shirts with names of forgotten bands. His focus on women is boobs and spectacles. As a pastor's son, he thinks about God for a few minutes before falling asleep, every day...

This is not a series full of alcohol or office politics: VF drinks cola, sometimes a can of beer, and colleagues help him wherever he turns up. The 2 books this reader has read about VF were not very well plotted: In this case, I sensed parts of the outcome well ahead of the finish, and find it hard to accept that VFs laid-back worldview and lifestyle is so easily accepted by fellow policemen. But US readers love him and awarded this book on average 4 stars. I find 3 stars a rich reward, but please, judge for yourselves.


London Match
London Match
par Len Deighton
Edition : Broché

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Stunning finish to a thrilling espionage trilogy, 6 avril 2013
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : London Match (Broché)
Never a dull moment in Len Deighton's 1.141 page trilogy "Game, Set and Match", set in 1984-5 in Berlin, Mexico City and London. They are not action thrillers but deadly violence occurs in each of them. This reader enjoys the subtle office politics in London Central (MI-6) and the gulf between real pro's and the people managing them, often without field experience. The trilogy's novels can be read separately but linear reading is advised.
What is at stake in Part 3? Bernard Samson (BS, the I person in the two earlier books, finds himself still in limbo. [He is a former field agent who barely survived an escape from East Germany in 1978 and has been deskbound since, despite occasional forays abroad. In part 1 his wife and colleague Fiona turned out to be a KGB mole, fleeing London just in time. In part 2, BS managed against heavy odds to enroll the Russian KGB major Erich Stinnes, supposedly Fiona's assistant in East Berlin, where she is now the KGB Resident with the rank of colonel].
Readers enjoying subtle tales about spying operations and office politics will find this trilogy a treat. Although BS is said to be beyond suspicion about his wife's defection, his superiors try and test him repeatedly. In this final volume BS suspects another KGB mole among them, intent on helping to snatch his children away to Moscow and ruin his reputation forever...
From page 1 onwards in this trilogy, Deighton creates a warm universe of a dozen or more characters and their pasts and ambitions: BS's loathing of his younger, vain and lazy direct boss Dicky Cruyer, his suspicions about Dicky's chef Bret Rensselaer and his worries about the sickly, declining D-G and his nasty factotum Morgan, are a joy to read. Brilliant characterization and -plotting along with the hero's constant reminiscing about the Berlin in ruins he grew up in and his life-long contacts that resulted, which all recur time and again in this book and trilogy, makes this reader believe that this is a work of literature...
How this epos finishes is not for me to disclose. Readers in tears because it is over, beware. Deighton wrote two more trilogies about Bernard/Bernie/Bernd Samson .


Berlin Game
Berlin Game
par Len Deighton
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 9,98

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Ode to Berlin and its citizens, 31 mars 2013
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Berlin Game (Broché)
I much enjoyed Len Deighton(LD)s and John Le Carré (JLC)s early spy books from the 1960s. Both were experimenting, trying to find a voice of their own. LDs books had improbable plots, were quickly written with many annexes and technological data, always from the perspective of a nameless working-class wartime-spy who made it into GBs snooty Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) in the 1960s.
This book is not from the 1960s but from 1983. It is the kick-off of 3 trilogies, 9 books in all about Bernard Samson (BS) and his wife Fiona, who are both senior desk officers at SIS HQ, GBs external spy agency. Or London Central, as LD calls it. This reader revisits this series for the second time after decades, like the 1960s novels. What is most striking in "Berlin Game" is LD's mature voice and style: Pure ingenuity, great intelligence, minute attention to the inevitable office politics, subtle but pert characterizations and throughout, great flow: Addictive reading stemming from prose created seemingly without effort. "Berlin Game" is on par with JLC's very best spy novels.

Its hero Bernard/Bernd/Bernie Samson (BS) works in and from London Central HQ like his beloved wife Fiona. BS grew up in post-war Berlin, where his father worked for many years in a senior intelligence capacity. It explains his perfect command of the Berlin dialect, his network of Berliners and his deep topographical knowledge. His best friend is Werner Volkmann (WV), aged 39 like BS himself. They went to school together. When London Central receives word that its crucial source `Brahms 4' and his network are compromised, BS insinuates his way into East Berlin to convince him to stay on for another two years...
A delightful read full of twists and turns. And an ending forced by BS that leaves him stunned, privately and professionally. Highly recommended.


Mexico Set
Mexico Set
par Len Deighton
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 9,21

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Thrilling sequel to "Berlin Game", 31 mars 2013
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Mexico Set (Broché)
This brilliant second book of LDs trilogy "Game, Set and Match" about London Central's spy Bernard Samson (BS) takes place in 1984-5. He grew up as the son of a WW II intelligence officer stationed in Berlin, a city he loves and knows very well and where some school friendships continue. In 1978 he survived an east-west crossing of the Iron Curtain, which killed a colleague. Ever since BS has been confined to a lower desk job than he hoped for in London, despite occasional undercover trips abroad. He is a field agent by nature, but life with his beloved wife and colleague Fiona and their children more than compensates for the daily pain of working with Oxbridge desk officers and higher deities without field experience. Bernard Samson's life comes apart when he discovers and reports himself that Fiona is a KGB mole. She flees just in time.
Early in this sequel, it becomes clear that she is a full KGB Colonel based in East Berlin, in charge of a crucial spy station. What do BS's colleagues think about the husband of a wife who was a career KGB spy? How do new colleagues in East Berlin look at a foreign woman imposed on them by Moscow? Both Bernard and Fiona are under immense pressure to prove their loyalty to their superiors...
What follows could be called a proxy war, a duel or a fishing contest. The fish is Erich Stinnes (ES), a Russian KGB Major who arrested BS in "Berlin Game", but let him go. Early on, BS's lifelong friend Werner, on holiday in Mexico City, spots ES in a German club. What follows will enchant new and old readers...
Otherwise, the Byzantine office politics in London Central and its satellites, fuelled by ambition and fear, are described in minute, scathing detail, for readers to enjoy or decry. Addictive reading matter that could easily be called literature.


Three Stations
Three Stations
par Martin Cruz Smith
Edition : Broché

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Arkadi Renko's struggle to solve crimes, 22 mars 2013
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Three Stations (Broché)
Late in this thriller, Martin Cruz Smith (MCS) describes his hero Arkadi Renko's mindset as sailing in a small boat on an enormous sea where deep below a great struggle is taking place, causing huge waves and all manner of strange creatures to rise to the surface... Despite decades as a stubborn, contrarian Russian investigator, Arkadi faces suspension and dismissal in the new Moscow with its billionaires, casinos, private urban renewers, fat cars and branded-clothing outlets.

But it is also the biotope of thousands of street children aged 8-15 trying to survive in gangs. The square linking three important Moscow railway stations is a favourite hunting ground for child gangs and criminals. It reminds 88-year old photographer Anna Furtseva, a real-life cameo living high above the square, of tropical Africa's watering points where lots of wild species meet. In the Moscow version, hyenas predominate... Readers of MCS's "Wolves Eat Dogs" meet autistic Zhenya again. He is 15 now and lives on the street, earning money playing chess in the waiting rooms of the Three Stations, protected by a child gang led by Jegor (16). Arkadi was/is his foster parent; they establish contact only towards the end of the book.

The thriller's main themes are (1) the search by a 15-year old runaway prostitute for her stolen baby; (2) the death of a young woman found in a maintenance vehicle parked near the Three Stations, its power supplied from the premises of the Railway Police; and (3) Arkadi's struggle to continue his investigations. One line of inquiry suggests a possible serial killer who arranges his victims in classical ballet positions...

Three red threads act as safety straps to hold this somewhat chaotic tale together:(1) allusions to Walt Disney's old movie "Snow White"; (2) references to the legendary Russian ballet dancer Nijinski (and his mother) in many contexts, and (3) a constant reminder that all Moscow's police forces are very corrupt, from top to bottom and back again. A thriller smelling of real life, but chaotically plotted and written. But perhaps this is the only true way to depict fighting crime in Moscow now, and therefore a brilliant book. A read like riding a wild horse.


Hit and Run
Hit and Run
par Lawrence Block
Edition : Poche
Prix : EUR 6,73

1 internaute sur 1 a trouvé ce commentaire utile :
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Hunter becomes hunted, 20 mars 2013
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Hit and Run (Poche)
Lawrence Block (LB) is a productive (crime-)writer with a flowing style, interesting characters, good plots and his books are well researched. Outside the US, LB is best known for his series of 17 thrillers about post-alcoholic NY detective Matt Scudder. He has also devoted book series to perpetrators: Ten books followed Bernie Rhodenbarr, a brilliant burglar; eight covered Evan Tanner, an insomniac adventurer; and five (5) dealt with Keller, a professional killer.
This is LBs fourth thriller about hit man Keller, who works closely with `Dot'(for Dorothy). They did well financially until Keller's job in Des Moines, Iowa becomes a career changing disaster for both. It evidently kills Dot and sends Keller on the run, evading a nation-wide search for him. The book is mostly about Keller trying to stay alive without his old resources. It would be a disservice to new readers to tell more...

But it must be said, Keller is a weird criminal. Instead of a male bonder he is an almost completely anonymous entity, except for Dot. He is justifiably somewhat paranoid because in his trade or craft, a successful hit often backfires on the hitter: the solution becomes the next problem. Many hit men survive their prey by fewer than 48 hours. But Keller has no compunction at all about killing as a job or for his own protection or, once in this book, for altruistic reasons. At the end of this thriller he has notched up or punched five more kills or tickets.

He is also a quirky criminal. His greatest passion is philately. Pardon me? Keller is a avid stamp collector, proud owner of ten albums. And he deeply loves his 50-inch flat screen TV and its futuristic remote control full of amazing functions... Despite his profession, Keller sometimes adheres to a few ethical values. Which comes in good stead after the Iowa meltdown and his being chased across the nation.
Time for readers to take over. Morally repellent, a nice read, good dialogue, nice twists and turns, good finish.


The Drop
The Drop
par Michael Connelly
Edition : Broché

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Harry Bosch pushed to his limits, 3 mars 2013
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : The Drop (Broché)
Memorable book on the never-ending struggle between Harry Bosch (HB) and Irvin S. Irving (ISI), once a front contender for LAPD Chief of Police, is now a powerful member of Los Angeles's City Council. In `The Last Coyote' (1995), Harry found out that ISI was the young street cop who first discovered his mother's dead body when he was only eleven years old. Ever since he joined the LAPD, they have clashed...
Now ISI's son is found dead and naked on the pavement in front of the hotel he checked himself into. ISI pulls strings and insists that HB gets the case and reports to him daily about his murder investigation. But was it murder? It means HB and his partner Chu have to suspend their normal work of solving cold cases and investigate a real crime scene. An ill-advised infatuation, singlehandedly parenting his 15-year old daughter, frustration with partner Chu, ISI's perceived scheming and the vagaries of dealing with the force's top brass, take a heavy toll on Harry: late into the book he is seriously considering turning in his gold shield...
Well plotted and written with plenty of twists and turns and a satisfactory ending. However, the final pages suggest Harry may still call it quits. He has come close to making a huge mistake he would not have made five or even two years before. Is he losing his touch? Is he finally cracking under the combined weight of so much evil going on unnoticed and LAPDs poisonous politics? One of Connelly's best police procedurals


The Hard Way: A Jack Reacher Novel
The Hard Way: A Jack Reacher Novel
par Lee Child
Edition : Poche
Prix : EUR 6,76

4.0 étoiles sur 5 About strong sisters, 25 février 2013
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : The Hard Way: A Jack Reacher Novel (Poche)
This 10th Reacher adventure is situated in NYC and moves later to England. Reacher becomes accidentally involved in a kidnapping case. It concerns the wife and stepdaughter of Alan Lane (AL), an ex-US colonel who heads a company offering paramilitary services. From being the only witness to the money transfer, Reacher challenges AL and his A-team of six mercenaries into involving him more, a highly trained investigator and within hours he proves himself indispensible. But soon the plot thickens, because he is approached by Patti, younger sister of AL's first wife, who was kidnapped too. Five years ago, and despite USD 100.000 ransom paid, she was found dead a month later...

From then on Reacher plays a double role. He moves in and out of AL's HQ on various jobs and pretexts. Inside he studies AL and his A-team, waiting for the kidnappers' call with further instructions. Outside, via Patti he meets NYPD detective Brewer and former FBI-agent Lauren Pauling, a private detective now. Who feels bad about the outcome of the first kidnapping. When after many twists and turns the action moves to England, she and Reacher are are partners and an item, ready for a complicated showdown.

Cleverly-plotted with plenty of cliff hangers and logical thinking. No Reacher book is complete without an epic, final burst of ruthless violence. Well done again. However, re the violence in this book, this reader has some issues: some threats AL made against his second wife are nauseating and over the top. And why situate massive, appalling cruelty going on for years in peaceful Burkina Faso, with so many more deserving alternatives around?


The Spies
The Spies
par Luis Fernando Verissimo
Edition : Relié
Prix : EUR 16,04

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Intriguing Brazilian crime story, 24 février 2013
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : The Spies (Relié)
The nameless editor of a tiny book publisher in Porto Alegre receives by post chapters, one by one, of a novel in progress about, or written by 'Ariadne'. She writes about being held hostage by her husband in Frondosa and announces her suicide once she finishes her book. The editor finds her a talent with great potential, despite her never using commas and many spelling errors. He falls in love with her and worries about how to proceed, as an editor and a man. As a fan of John Le Carré and Graham Greene and their works on espionage, he decides `to put a man in place in Frondosa to assess the situation and the enemy's response. He convinces some of his fellow weekend-boozers to move to the small town. And joins his team when they report no longer....

His `Operation Theseus' is based on dreams and conjecture rather than on clearly-defined targets. What follows is a mixture of amusing and dramatic scenes, cleverly linked by the author to a web of references to e.g. the mythical Ariadne of Naxos and other ancient Greeks, German philosophy, the Italian surrealist painter De Chirico and Silvia Plath, a poet famous for foretelling her own exit. And indoor soccer!

Well-plotted and written novella full of obsessions and misunderstandings. Its cast of bizarre characters is reminiscent of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novels: a man who betted against Brazil in the 1950 World Cup final against Uruguay, whose life was both enriched and blighted ever since. Or the astrologer who never received a cent for his bestseller from the editor's company, and who tags and bombards him with angry letters, then joins `Operation Theseus'. Or the other team members: nihilistic Professor Fortuna and Jewish lecturer Dubin. And the brothers controlling Frondosa, the enemy. Ariadne is married to one of them...

This novel is about obsessions and delusions. It is surely not a love story, nor a philosophical tract or a superbly-plotted spy novel. Readers will surely react is diverse ways to this mongrel-type book, and will highlight many issues this reader ignored in his review. Rich for those who have a nose for it.


Metro 2033
Metro 2033
par Dmitry Glukhovsky
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 12,30

1 internaute sur 1 a trouvé ce commentaire utile :
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Russian post-atomic SF novel, 15 février 2013
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Metro 2033 (Broché)
This is an SF novel, not of the inter-galactic type but situated inside the Moscow metro system. It was published in Russia in 2005 and over 2 million Russians have bought its on-line version. Its success has inspired persons and companies to create online games, blogs and further episodes. This book has spawned an industry. What is it about?
Moscow's survivors of an atomic strike are hanging on to life in its subway network, designed by Stalin and his successors to withstand nuclear warfare. Theoretically, its 100+ stations should shield millions, but when the bombs struck, only subway passengers and a few lucky people above ground made it into the system before its doors and gates closed. Survivors stayed on in its stations and over time each station developed its own coping system re survival and security, guarding its entry- and exit points from inside the tunnels. Going outside by day means death from radiation (nuclear, sun). At night, highly-paid Stalkers clad in protective gear venture into the destroyed city on behalf of investors, to retrieve key items...
The book's hero is Artyom. He is in his 20s, an early orphan, brought up by foster father Sukhoy, a kind of diplomat for the tube station they live in in. Tube stations have become stratified into e.g. communist, fascist, free trade and purely criminal enclaves. Followers of other faiths or worldviews dominate other stations. Some adjoining stations have merged into confederations. The strongest is the Hanze-federation controlling on the Moscow circle line every station where branch lines come in.
What makes this a novel is Artyom, who is given a task by a man described as the Hunter, a killer assigned to protect the system against fatal dangers from within and outside. If he fails to return from his next mission, Artyom has to carry a verbal message to a person living in Polis...
This is a rich novel for aficionados of SF and perhaps academics, because Artyom meets many interesting people on his Odyssee to Polis. It is a complex of four stations below Moscow's city centre where the last living scientists and artists live, a community willing to pay high rewards to Stalkers to retrieve books from the mega library above ground, rather than for fuel, food and other key resources...
Final words, SF is not my favorite genre. But this book is rich in terms of ideas. It should appeal to readers welcoming an unusual thriller-like, almost classical epos in a dark, and dangerous, underground universe.


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