Wednesday, October 18, 2006

BOOK REVIEW: The Hidden Assassins by Robert Wilson

On Monday, June 5, 2006 Inspector Jefe Javier Falcón faced the most mutilated corpse he has ever had to investigate: scalped, faced burned by acid, handless and found on a garbage heap. The next day a massive explosion destroys an apartment building and preschool, killing many and putting the region on high alert. When it’s discovered that a mosque was in the basement of the razed building, everyone’s worst terrorist fears are realized. As political and media pressure intensifies, Falcón works frantically to uncover the truth, while facing personal tragedy connected to the case.

The Hidden Assassins is the third volume in the Inspector Jefe Javier Falćon series. Fans of British police procedural mysteries are the logical audience for Wilson’s novels; however, readers should expect to put some work into unraveling the structure and hierarchy of the Spanish police and judicial system.

Robert Wilson writes crisp, lean prose that veers toward the austere, throwing the horror of destruction and violence into sharper relief. With no padding, the reader is left no choice but to confront the picture Wilson presents. In a crime of terrorism, “truth” is slippery, changing with each person’s perspective. Utilizing terse, unambiguous prose, Wilson ensures this point is unavoidable to readers. Terrorism and violence are horrific and yet, somehow, Wilson provokes empathy for almost all his characters. By the final pages, readers understand the motivation of the main players, while still questioning the outcome of the case.

The Hidden Assassins can be read as a stand-alone work, although some of the undercurrents will make more sense if you’ve read the previous two books in this exceptional series. Those interested in the political aspects of The Hidden Assassins should read the excellent interview with Robert Wilson at HarperCollins Crime & Thrillers.

In the interview, Wilson explains the connected history of Morroco and Andalucia, two regions that are essentially the same other than their religions and some culture. He delves into the arrival of terrorism in continental Europe and its incorporation into the work of Inspector Jefe Falćon and Wilson’s books. As the interview explains: "But after the Madrid bombings on March 11th 2004, and their startling effect on Spain's election results, Rob knew he had to deal with the issue. Islamic terrorism had come to mainland Europe and contributed to a change in government and that was unquestionably going to affect his characters."

In addition to the Inspector Jefe Javier Falćon series, Robert Wilson is also the author of the Bruce Medway series and two stand-alone novels, A Small Death in Lisbon and In the Company of Strangers. In 1999, A Small Death in Lisbon was awarded the Golden Dagger Award by Crime Writers’ Association.

ISBN10: 01510129393
Publisher: Harcourt, Inc.
464 Pages
Publication Date: November 2006
Binding: Hardcover

Javier Falcon series:
1. The Blind Man of Seville
2. The Silent and the Damned (US Title: The Vanished Hands)
3. The Hidden Assassins


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