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Tag Archive for ‘police’

Overpopulation in fiction and on film

Make Room! Make Room!, by Harry Harrison @@@ (3 out of 5) In 1973, American filmgoers were shocked by a film entitled Soylent Green, starring Charlton Heston and Leigh Taylor-Young. The film depicts New York City in 2022 with a population of 40 million. The streets are crowded with homeless people, but those few with… Read More ›

In an alternate history, the Nazis occupy England

SS-GB, by Len Deighton @@@@ (4 out of 5) In the literature of alternate history, Nazi Germany often wins World War II. Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, Fatherland by Robert Harris, and Jo Walton’s Farthing Trilogy (Farthing, Ha’penny, and Half a Crown, all reviewed here) are prominent examples. There are many others,… Read More ›

Donna Leon’s latest is not “one of her best”

Earthly Remains (Commissario Brunetti #26), by Donna Leon @@ (2 out of 5) For some reason I cannot fathom, Marilyn Stasio raved about Earthly Remains. Stasio has been editing a column on crime fiction for the New York Times Book Review—forever, it seems. Her recommendations are often good. But this one wasn’t. She called this… Read More ›

A Nazi medal in Sweden triggers a journey into the past

The Hidden Child (Patrik Hedström and Erica Falck #5), by Camilla Läckberg @@@@ (4 out of 5) Once upon a time French classicists derived the principles of drama from Aristotle’s Poetics, proclaiming the “three unities.” This restrictive concept required that a play depict only a single action that takes place in a single location within… Read More ›

A great start to John Lescroart’s Dismas Hardy series

The Vig (Dismas Hardy #2), by John Lescroart @@@@ (4 out of 5) Dismas Hardy’s resumé is a little difficult to understand: former Marine (combat in Vietnam), former San Francisco cop, former Assistant DA, now one-quarter owner of the Shamrock and full-time bartender there. The explanation is simple, though. The events that induced him to… Read More ›

A right-wing politician is murdered on the streets of Oslo

Chameleon People (K2 and Patricia #4), by Hans Olav Lahlum @@@ (3 out of 5) An Oslo police detective known as K2 is startled one Saturday evening when a boy of about 15 frantically rushes through his apartment door and surrenders himself just moments ahead of the police officers who are chasing him. It soon… Read More ›

My 15 favorite detective novels

The 15 detective novels listed below may not be the 15 “best” detective novels, even by my uniquely idiosyncratic criteria. I’d read a lot of work in the genre even before I began writing these reviews in January 2010—and there are tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of detective novels I’ve never read. This list consists… Read More ›

A hitman, burglars, and hackers in the San Fernando Valley

Herbie’s Game (Junior Bender #4), by Timothy Hallinan @@@@ (4 out of 5) After writing three very funny crime novels featuring the professional burglar Junior Bender, Timothy Hallinan produced Herbie’s Game. It’s not as funny. In this fourth novel in the series, Hallinan waxes philosophical in lengthy contemplative passages that show Junior’s serious side. It’s… Read More ›

Stalking and murder at UC Berkeley

A Credible Threat (Jeri Howard #6), by Janet Dawson @@@@ (4 out of 5) A young man named Ted Macauley is stalking two undergraduate women at UC Berkeley. Someone, presumably the same man, has been calling the Elmwood District house they share with several other students and hanging up without speaking. And now the residents… Read More ›

Forced sterilization, fascists, and serial murder—in Denmark

The Purity of Vengeance (Department Q #4), by Jussi Adler-Olsen @@@@ (4 out of 5) Many Americans harbor an image of Denmark as one of the most progressive and livable countries in the world. That may well be the case—the country’s rankings on global indexes support it—but you might well gain a different impression of… Read More ›