Genre: historical fiction/noir
Length: 400 pages
Setting: NYC and Berlin, 1938
Interest: I chose it because it seemed half-way interesting and the author’s name filled a hole in my reading challenge
Summary: There are two stories with only minor ties to each other. In NYC, Fintan Dunne, a private investigator, gets sucked into a case against his better judgement. He’s looking to prove that a man on death row was framed for a murder. Turns out, the woman was murdered by a Nazi agent to cover up the fact there was a sanitorium in NYC killing the feeble-minded. Over in Berlin, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris is the head of Military Intelligence and he’s watching Germany spiral into a pit of racial “integrity” and war-mongering.
Final thoughts: I wasn’t very impressed. I suppose it’s what I get for just picking a random book off the shelf. Every once in a while I find something great, though, so I take the duds when I get them.
I don’t like mysteries very much, so it has to be high quality to jump the bar for me. This one had a very strong noir feeling, which I’m not against, but didn’t do much for me. I also didn’t find the author’s attempt to link the NYC and Berlin stories to be very effective. That meant every time he jumped from one place to another, I found it very jarring. This is the first in a trilogy featuring Fintan Dunne, but I won’t be looking for any others.
What the author did well was provide a feeling for pre-war America and Germany and how easily eugenics were implemented. So many people found those with mental or physical disabilities to be a drain on the state, until they had a family member that fit that classification. I’ve read quite a few stories set in WWII, but the pre-war vibe is different that the during the war vibe. That was interesting.
Title comes from: I honestly don’t know – usually there’s something I can figure out, but I’ve got nothing on this one.
Reading challenges fulfilled: 45/100 in my 100 Book Challenge, and a Q in my author Alphabet Soup Challenge
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