Thursday, December 6, 2012
Operation Napoleon - Under the Microscope
This book was a gift to me, given because I liked the author, Arnaldur Indridason. The trick, though, is that it's a little different than his other books. His other novels are gritty crime novels, dark police procedurals in the vein of Henning Mankell, Ake Edwardson, Jo Nesbo, and Sjowall and Wahloo (ah, the Scandinavians...). This particular book, however, is a thriller, an adventure mystery (though there are a few murders, of course) set in Iceland, revolving around a Nazi plane that crashed there at the end of WWII. Secrets abound, and many people want the plane and the secrets it holds. And they'll kill to get them.
I enjoyed the novel, though not as much as the other Indridason novels I've read. Is part of that simply my own preference for dark crime novels rather than escape-the-bad-guy thrillers? Partly. But it also struck me that the writer simply hadn't mastered the ouevre quite as well. Interestingly, the part of the book I thought was best... was when two cops were trying to figure out a crime. There was a realness and grit to this part, a vividness that was lacking in other parts. It was like he knew how to occupy these characters, and all the details were right. This world was a little more three-dimensional. In the other sections, things were two often good guy and bad guy, and the antagonist was sort of a classic hollywood villain, which is much different than the socio-cultural focus of Indridason's crime novels (which are more about a situation and its influences than about evil dudes with a grudge).
If you like thrillers full of mysterious historical secrets, this book might be for you. If you like dark police procedurals, check out Indridason's other books. Plus, Iceland is a great place to visit in the winter; it makes everywhere else seem almost warm.