Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Alphabet House

Usually, I stay away from most crime fiction because it bores me. Scandinavian crime fiction, all the rage in Germany, doesn't do anything for me. But Jussi Adler-Olsen's The Alphabet House is not strictly crime fiction and was recommended to me, so I gave it a try.

Two British pilots survive a crash landing in Germany during WWII and manage to hide in a sanatorium, disguising themselves as high-ranking officers. They soon discover that they are not the only simulants and that they are in even more danger than they thought.

I really enjoyed the relationship between the two pilots and how it changes and eventually is destroyed by what happens during and after the war (the second part takes place in 1972). And if Adler-Olsen hadn't decided to garnish the story with frankly sadistic war criminals, Beutekunst and devoted, quietly suffering female characters, it could have been brilliant. As it is, it was a lot of meh for me.

Sometimes I got the feeling that while doing his research (and he did it well), Adler-Olsen came across so many things he felt he wanted to include in the book that in the end it was just too much. The pilots' story. Old Nazis who hide in plain sight in Germany. Experiments on hospital patients during WWII. The Munich Olypmics. And then all those parts of the story stand in each other's way.

Reviews 2013
The Library Challenge 2013

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