Archive for the ‘Arnaldur Indridason’ Category

As for “club” books, had brought “Operation Napoleon” by Iceland’s Arnaldur Indridason. Previously read his detective series which starts with “Jar City”, which is also a Netflix streaming-available movie. Had appreciated those books as gritty police procedurals which delivered distracting entertainment of the noir-Scandinavian-depressive sort, along with insights and perceptions of a place and culture I was unfamiliar with: that of modern Iceland. I found them educational, interesting, complex and solid. And thought “Operation Napoleon” would be another in that series, which it wasn’t.

So, if the foreign-set police procedural is your thing, do recommend Indridason as the Icelandic presenter of such, don’t know another translated writer from that place who does it so well–actually, except for ancient sagas, have never read anything else set there at all. As for “Operation Napoleon”, nah, not really, it’s something else altogether. The basic plot is one more speculative adventure tale about the post-war fate of a well-known WW2 dictator whose name begins with H. Any guesses? Along with a brutal story of modern day American military personnel and agent forces in Iceland, seeking the remains of items and objects fallen into an Icelandic glacier during WW2, and rather violently and mindlessly and unethically dealing with their modern Icelandic allies in the process. There’s a brave Icelandic woman, who, along with some stalwart and admirable Icelandic characters, is quite roughly handled along the way, and the book just didn’t do it for me. It read rather like one of those sketchy thrillers which make better movies than reading, and are written to be sold as TV shows or film plots. Though do have to give the writer a couple of points for the surprise ending, Can just see the cameras recording it, then panning away, wordless. Doesn’t compensate for the book’s lacks, though, or how stereotypically it portrays American relationships with Allies, however accurate that depiction might be.

So, upshot, Indridason’s detective series starting with “Jar City, Yes! “Operation Napoleon”, a one-shot self-declared “thriller”, No!


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