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The Information Officer [Paperback]

Mark Mills
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

30 April 2009

From the No. 1 bestseller and author of Richard & Judy pick The Savage Garden: an atmospheric world war two crime thriller for fans of Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Jed Rubenfeld

"You want to know who I am? I'm the last living soul you'll ever set eyes on"

Summer, 1942. For the people of Malta, suffering daily bombing raids, the British are the last line of defence against the Nazis. And it is Max Chadwick's job as the information officer to ensure the news the islanders receive maintains morale.

So when Max is given proof suggesting a British officer is murdering local women, he knows the consequences of discovery are dire. With the violence on the war-ravaged island escalating daily, he embarks on a private investigation, hidden from the eyes of superiors, friends and the woman he loves.

But Max finds himself torn between patriotic duty and personal honour in his efforts to track down the killer… an elusive figure always one step ahead of his hunter.


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The Information Officer + The Whaleboat House + House of the Hanged
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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (30 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007276885
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007276882
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 135,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mark Mills graduated from Cambridge University in 1986. He has lived in both Italy and France, and has written for the screen. His first novel, 'The Whaleboat House', won the 2004 Crime Writer's Association for Best Novel by a debut author. His second, 'The Savage Garden', was a Richard and Judy Summer Read and No 1 bestseller. He lives in Oxford with his wife and two children.

Product Description

Review

Acclaim for ‘The Information Officer’:

'Outstandingly good … beautifully written, cleverly plotted and highly recommended' Literary Review

'Mark Mills is a superb writer, and The Information Officer is a superb read' Joseph O'Neill

'A forgotten corner of World War II rediscovered and expertly revealed to us. Fascinating and shrewdly compelling - Mark Mills does it again' William Boyd

'A lush, romantic thriller, skilfully crafted by master stylist Mark Mills' George Pelecanos

‘This tense and beautifully written thriller grips you right to the final devastating revelation’ Bella

‘A brilliant read with a super-smart thriller plot and an amazing denouement – it had me transported and enthralled all the way through’ Sadie Jones (bestselling author of ‘The Outcast’)

‘A good thriller, a stunning book about human beings surviving under extreme circumstances, an eye-opener for anyone who didn’t know the ‘Malta story’ and a master-class in fluent storytelling’ Eurocrime

Acclaim for 'The Savage Garden':

'An intriguing puzzle, elegantly written… a pleasure to read… the atmosphere of an Italian summer and of the mysterious garden are beautifully captured' Sunday Telegraph

'Mills writes beautifully; leading us gently and atmospherically through the Tuscan renaissance garden… an unusual, captivating novel that is a cut above the norm' The Times

'A fine sense of period and place, a well-managed narrative, crisp prose and fascinating information… Mills is one to watch' Spectator

'Mills juggles the mysteries of three periods, switching between centuries with a conjuror's skill… the book is beautifully written, giving life to the figures in their Tuscan landscape' Literary Review

Review

Outstandingly good ... beautifully written, cleverly plotted and highly recommended

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
By nicola1459 VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Malta, 1942. Max Chadwick is an information officer whose job is to keep up the morale of British troops and Maltese islanders under daily bombardment from the Luftwaffe. But when one of his friends reveals his suspicions that a serial killer is preying on Maltese barmaids, Max turns detective to try and prevent a scandal that would divide British forces and the local community.

Mark Mills has clearly done a lot of research into wartime life in Malta and the book is at its best when it evokes the effects of the war on the Maltese landscape and the people living on the island. This alone would have been sufficient material from which to craft an interesting and moving novel about a theatre of war that is not often written about. Instead, the book attempts to be all at once a wartime romance, an espionage thriller and a detective story about a serial killer. The combination of genres leads to a not entirely convincing plot.

At times the narrative structure is also a little confusing. In lengthy exchanges of dialogue, I often found myself losing track of who said what, and flashback passages examining the early life of the killer were occasionally not well signposted as distinct from the main narrative.

Despite my criticisms of the plot and structure, I did find this book a pageturner. The denouement was a bit disappointing, but I enjoyed getting there, and would suggest this as a good summer holiday read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By E. Alam
Format:Paperback
Having read the mesmerizing The Savage Garden I came to this book with very high expecations; sadly I left feeling extremely dissappointed.

This story about Malta's Information Officer, Max, during WWII tries to combine detective story, thriller, romance, war and espionage into one big explosion - producing a convoluted, complicated piece of story-telling lacking in conviction, fludity and transarency; it simply was too much to take in in one go - confusing not only the reader, but I imagine the author also.

I found myself initially intrigued by Malta's history and part in the war, but felt more and more alienated by the deluge of repetitive bombings, fringe-characters and multiple story-lines. As a romance, the story lacked sympathy, as a detective story, it was extremely hard to distinguish the narrative from the killer and normal story lines, and as a thriller, it was not much of a mystery & sadly quite easy to figure out. However, what frustrated me most about the story was its ending, which was sudden and offered no real explanation other than telling us the name of the killer; for most fans of suspense, I imagine its also very important to understand the why as well the who and how.

As mentioned already, if you are looking for a classic Mark Mills, look no further than the highly enjoyable The Savage Garden. Then skip this one and wait for his next book. I really do hope that in his next adventure, we will see the old Mark Mills and not this confusing imitator.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to the author's usual standard... 2 July 2009
Format:Paperback
This is the 3rd novel by crime writer Mark Mills. It is set in Malta during the Second World War at the height of the German bombing campaign against the island. The main character, Max, is the Information Officer of the title. It comes to his attention that a British officer is murdering local women and he decides to investigate quietly, hoping to avoid any further souring of relations between the islanders and the British forces stationed on Malta.

I came to this book with high expectations being a huge fan of his previous works, especially the excellent Whaleboat House. However, I was left feeling that this novel lacked his usual precision with characters and events and the twists and turns of the plot were vague and often extremely unlikely. The atmosphere of an island under constant threat of attack was very well done and the main characters were likeable. But the ending was abrupt, unsatisfactory and left me feeling like a significant chunk of the book had been missed out.

Overall, I would say the book was an enjoyable, undemanding read but very clumsy - not something I would expect from this author and I would recommend reading his other 2 books instead. I will probably still look out for his next work but in spite of and not because of this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit patchy but good 23 April 2009
By Sid Nuncius HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a good book, which could have been very good indeed. It is set on Malta at a pivotal moment of the German assault on the island in April 1942. Mark Mills writes very good prose, he has clearly researched the period and the rest of the island's history thoroughly, and he evokes the atmosphere of the time - under siege and enduring repeated severe bombing raids - very well. He also creates believable characters and paints generally convincing pictures of how people may behave at such times.

Within the first fifty pages a suspected murder, possibly a series of murders, begins to drive the plot. The tension is increased because the unravelling of these murders is (perhaps not wholly convincingly) portrayed as having a potentially cataclysmic effect upon the defence of the Malta and possibly therefore upon the outcome of the whole War. It's a good set up, and then...almost nothing of significance to this plot happens for the next hundred and fifty pages. These are mainly devoted to atmosphere, history, depiction of Malta in wartime, and relationships between some of the characters. There is also a very large amount of flashback either as characters are fleshed out by remembering their past, or simple description of previous events. All of this is well done and would be fine if there were some plot development woven into it, but I began to get fed up with yet another reverie about childhood or past affairs when almost nothing was actually happening. And then, suddenly, at about page 200 the plot comes to life again and the book becomes an involving, exciting story, extremely well interwoven with the sense of place and time on Malta.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars real history
Malta's history repeating itself recurring again and again over 2000 years brought to life in dramatic form for our time.
Published 1 month ago by robert nash
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
I absolutely loved this book. I very nearly didn't bother with it, having loved The Savage Garden and then seen a lot of reviews that deemed it a disappointing follow on. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Goodfilmsonlyplease
4.0 out of 5 stars Great historical novel based in Malta
I was interested in this book as I went on holiday to Malta last year. I was not disappointed. I enjoyed the historical elements and the inner plot of the murders of the women. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Holly74
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit like a history book!
I have been very keen to read another book by Mark Mills but this one wasn't really for me. The details were very technical and made the story hard for me to read. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Sue Phillips
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't enjoy this
Loved Mark Mills' other work but couldn't get into this at all. Shame - I was really looking forward to it
Published 10 months ago by jivebanana
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
I bought this book for a friend who was going on a holiday to Malta. She thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Published 11 months ago by Mrs. J. M. Salter
4.0 out of 5 stars A gripping thriller
This is another very exciting thriller from Mark Mills set against the backdrop of the siege of Malta during World War 2, with great attention to historical fact. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Una Gormley
5.0 out of 5 stars the information officer
i read this book when it was first published and have read it a couple of times since . i love the whole the whole conceept and the island of malta is for me the best place in the... Read more
Published 20 months ago by sue
3.0 out of 5 stars Brings an extraordinary time and place to life, despite some narrative...
This is a page-turner, without question. And it has so much in it that makes it a fascinating read - a powerful evocation of time and place that is a pre-requisite for any good... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Mark Meynell
4.0 out of 5 stars War, Romance, Mystery, excellent book...
I've so far read two of Mark Mill's books (The Whaleboat House and House of the Hanged) and The Information Officer was no less enjoyable than those, with a similarly well-crafted... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Stacey Woods
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