Engadine Aerie

Engadine Aerie

Engadine Aerie by Bluette Mathey (Mystery/Suspense)

This is Book Five in the Hardy Durkin Travel Series, Durkin being one of those likeable everyday guys outside of law enforcement who just happens to keep stumbling upon, and solving, crimes and mysteries. In this case, there’s a murder, attempted murder, an attempted terrorist bombing, and a terrorist arms deal.

The author provides lots of characters to keep track of. Durkin is an outfitter/trekker who has joined a friend guiding her first ski tour group through a trip to the Engadine Valley of the Swiss Alps. We know every member of the group by name and follow their stories. We also follow wealthy royalty from Abu Dhabi and a set of sinister fraternal twins who live in the Engadine, plus a middleman or two in the arms deal. And because this is a stand-alone novel based on a series, we are brought up to date on Durkin’s past and his relationships with additional characters who appeared in previous books and are back again. For some of the aforementioned, we learn detailed family histories – in one case dating back to the Crusades, with theories about the Templars thrown in for good measure.

Mathey personally visits the off-the-beaten-track locations she writes about, a strong point in this series. She also does a lot of research. We get details about various parts of the Alps with histories of hotels and other significant sites, brand names for what the rich are wearing, and descriptions of the expensive cars they’re driving. Falconry plays a part in the story, and the author does a good job of bringing that to life.

The plot is complicated, as tales of international intrigue often are, and I admit to sometimes losing track of it all, but not enough to miss out on the main points. Overall, this is a very ambitious book that is generally successful but could use a trimming of the minutiae.

Grandma gives Engadine Aerie four stars. 4 stars

Bella Reads and Reviews Books received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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The Traitor’s Story

The Traitor's Story

The Traitor’s Story by Kevin Wignall (Thriller/Suspense/Espionage)

If you like complex spy stories with lots of international intrigue, this book is for you. Finn Harrington is a former spy who’s been trying to go straight after making some spectacular mistakes in his espionage career and his personal life. But when a fifteen-year-old neighbor girl goes missing, her parents come to him for help, and he’s drawn back into the world of intrigue and violence that he thinks he has escaped. He soon discovers that her disappearance is linked to his tragic past, and he has never really made it out of that world. Now he must find and put an end to former enemies who would make him pay for his mistakes, or he — and those he cares about — will never be safe.

I chose this book because I had read Kevin Wignall’s A Death in Sweden and thoroughly enjoyed it. I found this book a little less satisfying and a little more confusing, but an interesting read, nonetheless. I didn’t always understand what was happening or why, but I knew that in the end it would all make sense, which it did. It’s not exactly the kind of book you can put down for any length of time and come back to easily because of the complexity of the story. Present-day events are related to Finn’s espionage history, requiring frequent trips into backstory, and sometimes, upon returning to the book, I had to reread a former chapter in order to remember where I was and who was who.

Wignall is a good writer whose books provide a glimpse of life in Switzerland, Sweden, and other parts of northern Europe. His characters are culpable, vulnerable people struggling to change against difficult odds, and I cared about what happened to them. That said, I now find myself looking forward to reading something a little less complex.

Grandma gives The Traitor’s Story four stars. 4 stars

Bella Reads and Reviews received a free copy of The Traitor’s Story from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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