Welcome back to book review session of the blog! I really hope you have been keeping up with the #ReadingChallenge? These reviews will be published weekly now because I’m super eager to wrap up the challenge, but I do post other books that I’m reading on Instagram, so you should definitely check out @lipglossmaffia for more book recommendations and reviews. I have also started a virtual bookclub on Whatsapp, if you would like to join, just send me an email with your phone number at email@example.com. Meanwhile, if you would like to keep up with the challenge, here is the 2017 reading challenge. The year is almost over but you can still make magic happen.
For my twenty second pick, I chose…
*A Book Set In A Country You have Always Wanted To Visit
Title: A Small Death In Lisbon
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Fiction, Suspense, Crime
My Ratings: 3 out of 5 stars
BLURB: In A Small Death in Lisbon, the narrative switches back and forth between 1941 and 1999, and Wilson’s wide knowledge of history and keen sense of place make the eras equally vibrant. In 1941 Germany, Klaus Felsen, an industrialist, is approached by the SS high command in a none-too-friendly manner and is “persuaded” to go to Lisbon and oversee the sale–or smuggling–of wolfram (also known as tungsten, used in the manufacture of tanks and airplanes). World War II Portugal is neutral where business is concerned, and too much of the precious metal is being sold to Britain when Germany needs it to insure that Hitler’s blitzkrieg is successful.
Cut to 1999 Lisbon, where the daughter of a prominent lawyer has been found dead on a beach. Ze Coelho, a liberal police inspector who is a widower with a daughter of his own, must sift through the life of Catarina Oliveira and discover why she was so brutally murdered. Her father is enigmatic, her mother suicidal; her friends were rock musicians and drug addicts.
The reader is treated to a wonderful portrait of Lisbon in the aftermath of the 1974 revolution that ousted Salazar from power, and the scars from that conflict are still close to the surface for the citizens of Lisbon, including Coehlo and his colleagues.
This book tells the story of a Portuguese police detective investigating the murder of a promiscuous teenage girl in Lisbon. The investigation is interrupted by frequent flashbacks to World War II, when a Nazi SS officer named Felsen comes to Portugal to acquire wolfram for Germany and hide Nazi gold via a banking venture.
I found the history of Portugal in World War II to be very interesting. Beyond that, I didn’t love this book. The police detective, Coehlo, is a likable protagonist, but the murder and the rationale for it seemed overly convoluted and unsatisfying to me. Other than Coehlo, his daughter and his partner on the police force, pretty much every major character in the book is really unlikeable. I might have liked this book more had I been able to connect with the characters a bit more.
My other big issue was that there was such an over-the-top amount of violence against women in this story. Every chapter seemed to provide graphic description of another rape. It felt gratuitous and often took me out of the story. Women only seem to exist in this book as sexual objects and victims.
I wouldn’t be recommending this to anyone though.
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