13 September 2010

Review: MIDNIGHT IN MADRID, Noel Hynd

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 672 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • ISBN 978-0-310-27872-6
  • Publisher: Zondervan (July 14, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001NLL3HY
Alexandra DaLuca, a US Treasury agent, is holidaying in Barcelona, recovering from personal tragedy that occurred six months before and from nearly being gunned down in the Paris Metor four months earlier. Her boss in Washington asks her to accept an assignment in Madrid, to join an international team that will try to track down a religious relic known as the Pieta of Malta, stolen from a Madrid museum just two weeks before. There are fears that the proceeds from sale of the treasure will be used to finance further terrorist activity in Spain. Alex is fluent in Spanish, has some background in art history, is very IT savvy, and already on the spot. Nor is she your ordinary Treasury officer. She is a killer.

By the time we meet Alex, the reader is already aware of discontent in the radical Islamic movement in Spain, of a man who is importing explosives into Spain and of the death of a Chinese mystic in Switzerland. We know these elements will all, somehow, be connected. 

MIDNIGHT IN MADRID is a thriller, with a tight time frame, with short punchy chapters, threads that are being advanced simultaneously, and a real feeling of a race against time, as terrorists tunnel under Madrid.

While MIDNIGHT IN MADRID is not a particularly long novel, one of my problems with it is that the author wanted to tell me so much, and left me little to research for myself. The information was comprehensive and ranged from explanations about Christian iconography, philosophy of religion, a history of modern art theft, lessons in the history of the world, of terrorism, of Al-Qaeda. At times there was travelogue, and the result was that I felt that the author wanted to talk about moral issues, to justify the USA's anti-terrorism methods, and that his characters were his mouthpiece. There was a lot that could have been trimmed. It felt that he needed me to understand that the novel has a solid factual basis, but it also gives him the opportunity to postulate some pretty unconvincing theories.

The second problem I had was being told soon after Alex appeared in the novel that she is a Christian. That caused me discomfort right from the start, and I then had further problems when I found out that she had (reluctantly) killed someone in Kiev. she prayed that God would someday have mercy on her.

I realise though there are many who will be able to enjoy MIDNIGHT IN MADRID without these qualms.

My rating: 3.8

MIDNIGHT IN MADRID is the second in Noel Hynd's Russian Trilogy.
Russian Trilogy
1. Conspiracy in Kiev (2008)
2. Midnight in Madrid (2009)
3. Countdown in Cairo (2010)

Hynd is in fact a prolific author, with 20 other novels to his credit. MIDNIGHT IN MADRID was published by Zondervan, an international Christian media and publishing company located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Zondervan is a founding member of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA).

3 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - Thanks for this review. You've got a good point about that fine line between giving the reader enough information to make a book believable and turning the book and characters into a travelogue. The same is true, I think of the author's opinions. All authors and characters have opinions; that's what makes them human. But the core of a crime novel is - the crime.

bermudaonion said...

I like the setting, but I'm not sure the book is for me.

Dorte H said...

A Christian killer? Perhaps she should try to find a new ´vocation´ or another religion?

Well, hardly my taste either.

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