The Information Officer: A Novel by Mark Mills
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Too many genres can spoil a good story, and this book comes dangerously close to proving that point. Its strength as a historical novel, set in the much under appreciated Malta during WWII, saves it from being a rather weak mystery/thriller. Mills does a decent job of making his setting a character, putting the reader next to the characters as they go about the business of staying alive while the Germans are trying to remove them from the island, if not the face of the earth. It's good that he's able to do that, because getting inside the character's heads, a necessity for a good mystery or thriller, just isn't possible. They're just too darn flat and worse, they're stereotypes straight from old 1940s/50s Hollywood movies made about WWII. Supporting characters get almost no back story, making them hard to identify, let alone impossible to identify with. Any marginally well read mystery fan will figure out who the killer is long before the main character gives up and turns the case over to a late entry professional.
However, once again, as a book read to discover a new place in a very interesting time period, this book is a fast and not-unpleasant read, and it's a historical that I can say I liked this book enough to have taken something away from it.
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