Another book review from me I’m afraid, which is good in a way as it means I’m spending more time reading than reviewing – and quite enjoying it.
I’ve so far read two of Mark Mill’s books (The Whaleboat House and House of the Hanged) and The Information Officer was no less enjoyable than those, with a similarly well-crafted plot and impeccable research.
Max Chadwick is the Information Officer on the island of Malta during World War 2. The island is currently held by the British, and an important base in the Mediterranean, so is under almost constant bombardment by the Germans. Max’s job is to improve relations between the forces on the island and the general public and keep up morale – a job made more difficult as lack of food and basic provisions begins to bite. When Max is approached by an Army doctor friend with suspicions that local girls are being murdered by a British Officer, he begins an investigation that could cost him his life, or that of the woman he loves. Stirring stuff, see?
As a pretty frequent reader of crime fiction and thrillers I’d have to say that I’ve really taken to Mark Mills – the thriller aspect is faultless, while the historical settings of his novels really appeal to me. This is, however, the first one of his I’ve read that has such a rigid placement in history and merges real-life figures with the fictional ones, but this is done really well and you really get a sense of the deprivation and constant bombardment and why the people of Malta were awarded the George Cross!
What I particularly liked in this novel was that there were several interwoven chapters written from the killer’s point of view, describing how they started in their path and their motivation behind the killings, which is not what you might think. Mills strings out the surprise right until the end and identity of the killer is revealed in dramatic fashion.
A happy accident lead to me being given my first Mark Mills book and I’m thrilled that all of his books have been up to a similar standard. I’ve got one more book of his to read, The Savage Garden, and I hope he’s already working on the next one!