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Where Dead Men Meet by Mark Mills
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Where Dead Men Meet

by Mark Mills

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Originality is key. In this regard, Where Dead Men Meet by Mark Mills is so predictable that you already know the outcome from the first page. Kidnapped at a young age and taken to another country, Luke Hamilton grows up believing that his family is dead. After Sister Agnes, a key character in Luke’s life, turns up dead, Luke quickly finds himself caught up in a situation that spins out of control. His very existence is unfinished business to the Karaman brothers, a pair of crime lords whose reach is impossibly long. Brushing close with death, Luke Hamilton soon flees across several countries. Along the way, he meets Pippi. Can he trust her?

Well, the answer there is clear as day, but I’ll leave it at that. There’s nothing original about the plot in this book. Absolutely nothing, which makes it a rather dull read for me. Luke Hamilton is a misfit. An orphan of a wealthy family, too. What should be a major plot twist in Where Dead Men Meet becomes obvious before its actual reveal, too. This is a serious no-go for me. If I’ve read it once, I don’t want to read it again. If I’ve watched it once, I don’t typically want to read it again either.

The characters are alright. Luke Hamilton seems a bit soft, Pippi is roguish, and the others, which are largely minor in comparison, are fairly standard in their actions. I never felt any connection to any of them. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you know that my emotional connection to a character is a must.

Despite these major flaws, Mark Mills can write. Though I don’t care much for Where Dead Men Meet‘s plot, Mills’s style of writing is nice. I haven’t had the opportunity to read more of his work, but, provided it is more original in its concept, I’d definitely give it a try. This book is probably better suited to readers that prefer more cinematic thrillers.

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy via NetGalley for unbiased review. ( )
  agrimscythe | Mar 20, 2018 |
This was fun in a Hitchcockian innocent guy on the run from wicked Nazi's and Croatian strongmen kind of way. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Aug 24, 2017 |
This is a terrific action adventure story set in western Europe circa 1937.
Luke Hamilton is enjoying his life in Paris as an intelligence officer at the British Embassy after a tour of duty as a pilot in India. His routine is disrupted by two things. First is the murder of a nun who found him as an infant on her doorstep and settled him with the couple who raised him. Then, there’s an attempt on his life, which escalates into a full blown chase through Europe. Nobody is as they appear to be and it’s difficult for Luke to know who his friends are, and some of his enemies become friends. It’s a story that will appeal to readers of Robert Goddard (like me).
Highly recommended.
I received an advance reading copy of the book through Netgalley in exchange for an objective and review. ( )
  BrianEWilliams | Aug 17, 2017 |
Luke Hamilton is an air force pilot temporarily attached to the British Embassy in Paris on the eve of the War. He receives news that the nun who cared for him as an orphan before his adoption has been brutally murdered and plans to return to England for the funeral. Before he can do so an attempt is made on his life and so he flees to Switzerland aided by Borodin, a man hired to kill him but who changes his mind at the last minute. Luke becomes involved with a group smuggling scientists out of Nazi Germany and from there flees to Venice where the truth about his background becomes clear.

Written as a precise, the plot for this novel sounds preposterous with a series of coincidences and chance meetings that are at best implausible. however in the hands of Mills the reader is just carried along on a wave of excitement and a desire to read further - this is book that needs to be devoured. Under all the flash there is an interesting story which looks at various aspects of politics in the 1930s - the Spanish Civil War, the rise of Nazism and anti-semitic acts, the troubles in the Balkans, changes to Italy with Mussolini and the behaviour of the British in Afghanistan - and whilst they are woven into the narrative, there is a sense of enlightening the reader as well. This is the first book by Mark Mills that I have read and I was drawn to it by the reviews I read elsewhere, I don't normally pick up this genre but I'm glad I did with this one - it's a thrilling tale told engagingly. ( )
  pluckedhighbrow | Jun 26, 2017 |
Mark Mills had me from the first sentence of Where Dead Men Meet. “Had Sister Agnes been less devout, she would have lived to celebrate her forty-eighth birthday.” Well, Jeez.

This is one of what I call extraordinary-ordinary people books. You know, everyday guy is just living his life and then, out of the blue, all these experts at espionage, crime, murder, and mayhem are suddenly after him and through pluck and luck, he somehow lives to fight another day. This is exactly that kind of book, but it avoids the usual requirement that we suspend all disbelief by providing him with some help in the form of an unlikely guardian angel and an extraordinary-extraordinary woman who is cleverer and more capable than he.

Luke Hamilton is our ordinary guy, a British Air Force pilot stationed in pre-war Paris after running into trouble with a woman in Afghanistan. He visits Guernica and is moved by the painting and falls into a strangely intrusive conversation with another man who is there. The man, Borodin, has been hired to kill him, but recognizes something in Luke that makes him hesitate. He soon decides to save Luke, though that will be difficult because there are several killers on his trail. After a fracas or two in Paris, now Luke has the French police on his trail, too.

Borodin sends him to safety, if safety is the fire after the frying pan. However, he does meet Pippi who is all kinds of competent and smarter than most, certainly quicker than Luke. Things move apace and now he not only has French Police, but some Nazi soldiers as well. So, let’s just add the British army and the Italians for good measure. Luke pretty much makes a big circle of Europe picking up new folks on his trail, leaving bodies (usually not of his doing) and learning more about himself than he ever suspected.

There is also a love story, the burgeoning romance between Luke and Pippi. It’s very much a fade-to-black affair, surprisingly chaste for a book full of so much murder and violence. It’s funny how much more squeamish people are about sex than violence. We have a nun beaten to death, some waterboarding, shootings galore, and nothing more sexual than a kiss before they wake up in the morning. Not that I am complaining, people trying to be inventive when writing about sex can sound ridiculous, but I just can’t help notice how much more comfortable we are with violence.

I spent the day in the library of PNCA, a library filled with beautifully illustrated art books, but I was glued to Where Dead Men Meet. It is just one firing pan after another with frequent fires in between. It does stretch credulity to the snapping point, the success with which Luke and Pippi escape from more trained, skilled, and experienced agents of one sort or another, even with the occasional intervention of their guardian angel Borodin and his cherubim.

The mystery of Luke’s real identity is central to the story and I am eternally grateful he was not some lost Romanov. I confess my first reaction when I realized this was a secret identity story was a loud groan fearing that would be the story line. I am so glad it was much more inventive than that.

I liked Where Dead Men Meet. I liked the characters, though sometimes Luke needed a kick in the rear. Luckily, Pippi was there to give him those much needed kicks when he was ready to pack it all in. I like that they made a point of developing a plan and then trying to tear it apart to see where it could fail. I liked that they weren’t suddenly efficient killers and made mistakes. There are a few times the foreshadowing is a bit too revelatory. For example, when Borodin gives Pippi a heads up when they separate for the last time, I knew that there was another enemy in addition to the Croatian crime bosses. I appreciate, though, that when they went to Italy, they did not run to their hidden enemy to seek his help all unaware, avoiding the ultimate thriller cliche of the bad guy soliloquizing his entire plan before some miraculous intervention saves the day.

The writing is clear and direct with a strong narrative drive. Mills succeeds in creating a vivid sense of place, but this story is more about pace and action than mood. It is almost cinematic during the scenes of intense jeopardy, all the action is there in your mind’s eye. If you like thrillers with people who are confused and at sea, but competent and proactive. you will enjoy Where Dead Men Meet .

Where Dead Men Meet will be released on May 30th. I received an advance e-galley from the publisher through NetGalley.

★★★
http://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpress.com/2017/05/11/9781504779739/ ( )
  Tonstant.Weader | May 12, 2017 |
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Paris, 1937. Luke Hamilton, a junior air intelligence officer at the British Embassy, becomes the target of an assassination attempt. A clear case of mistaken identity-- or so it appears. As Luke is hunted across a continent sliding toward war, he comes to learn that the answers lie deep in a past that predates his abandonment as a baby on the steps of an orphanage twenty-five years ago.… (more)

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