This is a fantastic novel by Matthew Pearl. It offers the reader an interesting and captivating mystery that must be solved by the members of the Dante Club (a real group)–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell, and J.T. Fields. These real historical figures are perfectly positioned to solve a series of murders around Cambridge, MA. because all assist Longfellow on his translation of Dante’s masterpiece into English. The macabre crimes replicate scenes from Dant’s Inferno, which leave the Boston police baffled.
The author makes the inclusion of these real men, all primarily professors or related to literature, come alive with well-researched historical facts, settings, and dialogue of the Civil War era. Any reader that enjoys a riveting mystery, whether knowledgeable about Dante’s works or not, will delight in this wonderful story. 5 stars.
Thriller fans and readers may be disappointed by Christopher Reich’s first book in the Jonathan Ransom series, Rules of Deception. The premise of the story is that Ransom’s wife dies in a mountaineering accident with Jonathan, but he soon finds that she is not who she seemed to be when alive. His decision to investigate this oddity, though only a medical doctor, thrusts him into the dark world world of espionage, terrorism, counter terrorism, and fanatical religious zealots.
It all appears to be a good recipe for a great thriller, except for several points. First, there are way too many implausible plot points. Second, at least for me, none of the main characters are very appealing or likeable, except for a Swiss policeman named von Daniken.
Decide for yourself. I give it 2 stars and that’s being generous.
#Readers of #thrillers, this stand alone novel by award-winning author Olen Steinhauer takes place a few months after the Arab Spring. An American embassy official is murdered in Budapest and may figure into a CIA plan to meddle in Libya’s growing revolution. The wife of the murdered official, Sophie Kohl, wants to know who killed him, despite not being the most faithful spouse. Sophie and four other characters, mostly in the intelligence circles of the U.S. and Egypt, each tell their version of the events leading up to the murder. Then, there is betrayal, the devilish element that runs rampant throughout the story, which makes it a character in and of itself. Presenting a story from different points of view makes it harder to follow, at times, but is entirely effective in spinning an intriguing espionage tale. Certainly in the vein of Graham Greene, but falls a little short. 3.5 Stars.