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Who is the man of honour?,
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This review is from: The Namesake: An Alec Blume Novel (Commissario Alec Blume 3) (Kindle Edition)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. The consequences of his actions were dire - for himself as well as several other characters and had the result, as far as I was concerned of making me feel more in sympathy with the 'Ndrangheta boss than Blume - at least he was true to his code and was a man of honour, which Blume emphatically was not. (I note that I have stopped calling him Alec. This sums up my feelings pretty accurately.)
Having said all that, it is still a good read, but a less pleasant one. Please, Mr Fitzgerald, get Blume to sort himself out before the next book.