Book reviews: The Killing Hills and The Shadows of Men
The story escalates as the novel progresses, involving rival families going back generations, big corporations trying to exploit the area’s natural resources, the FBI stumbling and gaining everyone’s support, and two Chicago hitmen dispatched by a drug-dealing crime boss. to sweep away a situation that is spiraling out of control.
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Hardin watches all of this with a trained eye, allowing the author to expertly handle the details of the investigation, family ties in remote places, back-and-forth between rural and urban areas, as well as the encroachment of big business. on a hitherto intact landscape.
It’s truly exciting to read and write with propulsive momentum, a poet’s eye for small details and an expert plotter’s sense for twists that come naturally, rather than rushing to improvised. Fantastic stuff.
At Abir Mukherjee’s The shadow of men is the fifth in the author’s series of historical detective novels set in Calcutta in the aftermath of World War I, and it develops its characters and themes with great confidence and poise.
It focuses on two police officers from the British and Indian communities, Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant Surendranath Banerjee. Unlike previous outings, the story is told from a mixture of both characters’ points of view, reflecting a shift in focus as the novels progressed.
The complex relationship between Mukherjee’s central characters also reflects the wider cultural and political landscape of a city in turmoil, as Banerjee is first given undercover work and then framed for the murder of a Hindu theologian.
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Mukherjee beautifully evokes the chaotic atmosphere of its setting and deftly manages its intricate plot. Thought-provoking, immersive, and engrossing in equal measure, this is top-notch writing from start to finish.
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