Friday, October 21, 2016

Review: The Girl from Venice

The Girl from Venice The Girl from Venice by Martin Cruz Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a free ARC from NetGalley of this for review.

A book with the word Girl in the title? I’ve never seen that before….*cough*

In the last days of World War II in Europe an Italian fisherman named Cenzo hauls in what he thinks is the body of a dead young woman. Only she’s just playing possum, and Cenzo quickly finds out that Giulia is Jewish and on the run from Nazis who just killed her family.

Cenzo hides Giulia, but it turns out that she has a secret that someone is desperate to cover up by killing her. Things get more complicated when his estranged brother who has been doing propaganda films for Mussolini’s government shows up, and Cenzo finds himself drawn into the circle of once powerful people who are now looking for the exits as the Allies approach.

I’ve been a longtime fan of Martin Cruz Smith, particularly his series about Russian detective, Arkady Renko. Like Renko and many of his other characters, Cenzo is a smart guy who generally wants nothing to do with the schemes of the corrupt people above him in society, and yet he’s also incapable of just letting an obvious injustice happen. It’s another Smith staple that many around Cenzo see him as a pawn to use for their own purposes, but he’s got a knack for turning the tables on them while he pursues his own agenda. Smith is also great at setting stories in historically interesting places and periods, and he makes the most out of this one.

This isn’t an action thriller, and it’s also not a straight up whodunit historical fiction. It kind of falls into the category of character drama with some of those elements. Overall it’s Smith doing his usual thing, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.

3.58 stars.

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