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The Namesake: An Alec Blume Novel (Commissario Alec Blume 3)

The Namesake: An Alec Blume Novel (Commissario Alec Blume 3) [Kindle Edition]

Conor Fitzgerald
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Described with lucidity [and] meticulously researched. The Namesake is never boring or difficult. It is worth the attention (The Times)

Alec Blume is an inspired creation. An American who has become a commissioner in the Italian police, he's a sly, sardonic loner who gives the impression of knowing Rome better than its natives. [...] Fitzgerald is an elegant, visual writer (Guardian)

The American-born Blume is an engaging hero who might just have to potential to fill the gap left when Michael Dibdin's death ended his Italian detective Aurelio Zen's investigations (Sunday Times)

I'm putting my money on Alec Blume becoming the most popular detective of the coming decade (Belfast Telegraph)

A powerful and hugely compelling thriller. Dark, worldly and written with tremendous style and assurance (William Boyd on The Dogs of Rome)

Book Description

'An inspired creation', 'An engaging hero', 'The most popular detective of the coming decade' - Alec Blume is back

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 797 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; 1 edition (1 April 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007M82PCE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #97,464 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who is the man of honour? 6 May 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the third book about Commissario Alec Blume. To enjoy this book fully it is necessary to have read the previous two novels, especially The Fatal Touch, otherwise too many things will not make sense.

I did not enjoy this book as much as the other two which were told almost exclusively from Alec's point of view even though not narrated by him. In this book the narrator is further removed from Alec and we are not seeing the world solely through his eyes. Distancing us from Alec lessens our engagement with him, which is a pity. In fact, we are at a distance from most of the characters most of the time, which means that we can be more critical of them and the way they behave, which is, perhaps, what the writer intends.

This book deals with organised crime in Europe, specifically with the 'Ndrangheta , Calabrian version of the Mafia, which is spreading its influence beyond Italy's borders, especially to Germany. A murder in Milan alerts sections of the judiciary in Italy to the fact that a rift may be breaking out between two factions of the 'Ndrangheta. An illegal and morally very dubious action by Blume gets him noticed by the agency dealing with organised crime who second him into an operation monitoring a German policeman who has possibly been corrupted.

Blume's behaviour on this secondment and his attitude towards Caterina, his girlfriend and colleague, don't arouse our sympathy. He is grumpy/borderline unpleasant throughout the whole book and it is not clear whether it is because he is fed up with Caterina, sick of his job or because he knows that his actions at the beginning of the case are very dodgy morally. I was hoping that he would sort himself out by the end of the book, but he didn't.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little disappointed 29 Jan 2013
By Penylan
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Read and enjoyed the first two Blume novels and was really looking forward to this one given the plot's wider geographical spread. I have to admit to finding this a bit of a let down. Too long, too self indulgent and in places just too hard going. Not sure whose decision this was to make it so sprawling but it was, IMO, the wrong one. Still, I'll stick with Blume as he is generally a class act.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down 16 July 2012
By Smacca
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very enjoyable; the central character, Alec Blume, is as fun to be with as ever, and the book also gives a fascinating insight into the way the very successful Calabrian mafia operates, and thinks.

I've read some other reviews, complaining about how Blume is grumpy, or treats his girlfriend shabbily or has mildly homophobic tenancies -- I mean, he is a Roman cop, what would you expect?! I'd argue that one of the strengths of Fitzgerald's writing is how Italian it is, with its complex and morally ambiguous characters and multiple layers of motivation for their actions. Think of it as literary chiaroscuro!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointed 23 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having read Conor Fitzgerald's other novels set in Rome this one disappoints. I found it turgid and stopped reading halfway through. While I appreciate research this is in the extreme, ballooning it out until boredom sets in. Chopping the tale into short chapters with different characters being introduced, while a well known technique, can become annoying as the reader is constantly trying to tie up the loose ends.

But then I'm a great 'Montalbano' fan and Andrea Camilleri being a scriptwriter for many years knows how to grab the reader and keep the plot flowing with fascinating characters. Having said all this I salute Conor Fitzgerald, writing even one book is no mean feat. May he go from strength to strength. Just cut the research and don't listen to the publisher telling you to bulk it out.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Consistently high quality writing 20 May 2014
I read this third instalment of the Blume sage immediately after the second. Fitzgerald can certainly spin a good yarn, but his additional strength (which becomes clearer here and in his 4th novel) is his ability to paint a believable portrait of an imperfect, at times unlikeable but basically decent man. Fitzgerald don't do sentimentality; yet by giving us a warts and all description of an older, isolated, stubborn man entering what may be his first serious relationship in some time, he paradoxically makes us feel for Blume all the more.

The plots, as usual in a Fitzgerald novel, is painstakingly researched and involves organised crime. It also has perhaps the oddest, funniest and tragic German character I've come across since I saw the Ring Cycle. Another trait common to Fitzgerald's novels is his acute observation of how Italian society functions, both within and between organisations (be they legal or criminal).

This novel is less classically structured than its predecessor and is in many ways darker, but is all the better for it. A great read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars High standard for Alec Blume. 15 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read the novels 1, 2 and 3 one after the other; they are equally good and kept the pages turning. The reason I did not give 5 start is a personal preference for a little bit of humour to run through a book - even in the harsh world of Police -v- Italian Mafia.

The book is very well written and I will continue to read through the series. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in this genre and an interest in Italian systems and life.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Alec Blume loses his way in Calabria
Detective Alec Blume forges a document to flush out an important member of the Calabrian Mafia known as the `ndrangheta and finds himself escorting rogue German agent, Konrad... Read more
Published 7 months ago by LilyVA
3.0 out of 5 stars Too many words
This is my second Blume, though the third in the series. I enjoyed the first, and looked forward to this, but found it somewhat disappointing, mainly because to much exposition is... Read more
Published 7 months ago by JK
2.0 out of 5 stars Alec Blume
although advertised as a successor to Zen I found the descriptions of characters and events very two dimentional. I will not be tempted to try another
Published 9 months ago by David H
3.0 out of 5 stars A let down
I have enjoyed the previous Alex Blume novels and expected to be diverted by the Calabrian theme. Sorry I found it was slow in spite of the cross country dash and international... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Mrs. Susan I. Collier
5.0 out of 5 stars rocks along
A good relax on your holidays book, not one to rea\ad a couple of pages at a time or you won't get into it.
Published 10 months ago by Bran
4.0 out of 5 stars Alec Blume rides again
Given the Italian systems anything can happen but this story, while very enjoyable seemed to stretch belief
too far. Read more
Published 11 months ago by reluctant cyclist
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark Secrets in Calabria
Astonishing twists and machinations of the criminal under -world in the sleepy Italian deep south and the complex workings and operations of the Italian law enforcement and... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Charlie P
2.0 out of 5 stars Catastrophic
If i want to know the real Ndrangheta, i buy documentary books. I bought this book because i wanted to see the mystery in it, naturally mixed with the reality, but what i found was... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Alex
5.0 out of 5 stars More please
I wasn't sure whether to read this after seeing some of the reviews but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I like Blume, he sometimes makes Zen seem straightforward and his flaws make him... Read more
Published 15 months ago by PL
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