MURDER WITHOUT PITY
BY STEVE HABERMAN

Review by Flood Gondek


In modern day Paris, Justice Stanislas Cassel, criminal investigator, is probing the murder of a pensioner. The dead man held secrets about a former German collaborator, Casell's only suspect, who is uncooperative during questioning. When this link to the crime is also found dead, Cassel finds himself at the centre of something much deeper. In the meantime, unrest and protest in Paris, in the form of Neo-Nazi rallies, allow the plot to question if the far right is again taking over the French government. Cassel also finds himself falling in love with a chairwoman of a Jewish charity, which leads him to reexamine his guilty feelings about having a grandfather who was a nazi collaborator during the war. The investigator and the chairwoman hold the keys to solving more than murder.

Haberman's tendency to shift points of view and verb tenses without warning can occasionally pull the reader out of the story. While set in modern Europe, the author seems to be trying for nostalgic noir, but fails with stilted and contrived dialogue (I heard an exaggerated version of Peter Lorre in my head whenever someone diabolical spoke). The author tries too hard to weave history through the mystery in order to make a political points, leaving the reader puzzled. Tough to follow and difficult to read to the end, this novel could do with an editor and rewrite to make it fluid and sensible.

ABOUT THE REVIEWER

Flood Gondek interviews aspiring writers on her blog, FlashFlood and her work has appeared in Flashing in the Gutters.


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