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3.7 out of 5 stars
Lime's Photograph
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on 7 September 2017
Not my order
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on 23 May 2007
Peter Lime is a Danish paparazzo-photographer, who has lived in Madrid for a long time. Together with his friends Oscar and Gloria, who he met during his wild years in the `70s, he runs a very successful photo agency that has made them rich. One day he takes a picture of a reactionary government member and his girl friend, a picture that earns him more than a million dollars. In first instance this picture also seems to destroy his life: he is arrested, his wife and child die when his house is blown up and when he tries to recover he is nearly beaten to death. The source of all his misfortune is located in his past and slowly but surely the explanation becomes apparent.

This book was awarded the prize for the best Scandinavian thriller of 1999. In some aspects, such as the psychological insights into the main character, it follows the Scandinavian tradition, in other aspects it is very un-Scandinavian: there is loads of action, including some quite violent action. A very readable book by yet another Scandinavian thriller writer that is worth reading.
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on 13 January 2005
Leif Davidsen has written an intelligent and compelling thriller based on an unusual and unexpected protagonist. The hero (?) of "Lime's Photograph" ("Lime's billede" in the original Danish) is Peter Lime, a 50-year-old successful, but alcoholic, paparazzo who experiences a terrible tragedy.
Why did it happen? What does Peter Lime do to determine the cause? Will he be able to get on with his life after the tragedy?
Despite the fact that an alcoholic paparazzo is not someone most of us can identify with the story works and we are caught up in it and keep reading to find out the secrets behind the terrible events. This is because the book is well-written and the story is fascinating, especially if the reader has an interest in modern European history and was young in the 1960's.
It's all there: the hippie movement of the 60's, the cold war, the socialist movement, the death of Franco, the KGB, the Stasi, the ETA, the IRA, the EU, the fall of the Berlin wall, the re-unification of Germany, bullfighting, globalization, Hemmingway. It's a very European story, taking place in Spain for the most part (Madrid and San Sebastian) but with some parts happening in Copenhagen and Berlin and Moscow.
Leif Davidsen's characters come across as real people and he spends a lot of time (too much, perhaps - the story drags at times) talking about human nature and philosophizing about human relationships and growing old and the tragedy of war. Still, I prefer a thriller that drags because of being too realistic than a thriller with cardboard clichés and no realism.
I did have one major problem with "Lime's Photograph". One of the "bad guys" is obviously based on a known Danish woman who caused a scandal in Denmark in the late 1990's, although the character in the book is a very distorted version of this person. I don't think it's proper to make fictional characters that are so obviously based on real people, and especially not when they are made far more sinister than the real person.
This review is based on two "readings" of the book: Several months ago I listened to the audio version in the original Danish read by Leif Davidsen himself, and recently I read the English translation. I can mention that although it's always interesting to hear a book read by the author, that Mr. Davidsen is unfortunately a very poor reader. As for the English translation, it is quite good - one doesn't feel that one is reading a translation. I did have the Danish book available while I was reading the English translation and I made a few comparisons without finding any mistakes.
Highly recommended if you like realistic thrillers based in Europe and especially if you were young in the 1960's.
Rennie Petersen
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on 11 May 2002
I've only read half of this book so far and I intend to finish it because the plot has made me curious enough, which is what you want of a thriller. Still, certain suspension of disbelief is required if you are Spanish.
It's hard to believe that Peter has been living in Spain for nearly 30 years seeing that he can't spell correctly most names, surnames or even names of places (including the one of his father-in-law!). I also found surprising that most Spanish male characters are called Felipe (it is a common name but not that much!). Even worse (because this cannot be sorted with a bit of editorial help) are his "informed" opinions about modern Spain like the one about the country having forgotten the Civil War. Peter does not read many Spanish best-sellers, I take it. And what about the one of Spain having lost character by Brussels and EU directives? Such a Danish way of looking at regulation! We do have better roads, that much is true. And I could go on... So the author has been living in Spain for a bit and has managed to update a few stereotypes about my country through the lense of fascination? Fine with me, but Peter as a recent resident would be more credible.
Still you get cute Costa Brava, cosmopolitan Madrid, good old-fashioned San Fermines at Pamplona, a drive through Castille, some of the Basque country and even better, ETA and the Francoist secret services. All this and the revolutionary Europe of the 70s as background. A lot of fun if not taken too seriously!
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on 31 January 2002
With Peter Lime, Pedro to his erstwhile friends in Spain, we travel through Europe with 'the get- rich- quick' values of the late 1990s, and through the Eastern Bloc including Franco's Spain that we have only read about during the inflammable years of the 1960s/70s where the values are more of an ideal, a cause.
We are with Peter despising public life hypocrisy as we share his all-invading telephoto lens of a high flying paparazzo stalker but we are also made to question our own acceptable levels of media invasion when the lens is in turn, turned.
Leif Davidsen writes well. He writes from first hand, hands-on experience. We like Peter and as the plot unravels we like him even more. He gives into his weaknesses. Peter is a likeable old revoluntionary turned yuppie but he keeps his scruffy edges. As we become closer to him, we will share his betrayals and hurts. When he encounters his past we will be there in the background holding our breath.
This is a novel where every word counts. Peter doesn't just pack a bag, he selects the clothes he will need to wear and the labels tell us they are expensive. Nor does he speed off on his bike before he has swung his leg over and kicked the engine into action. This novel is good for it takes us back to our own carefree,bank balance free youth.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this "see-to-yourself-for I'm busy" novel. I savoured every word including the visit to the bull fight which was factual rather than emotional.
All thanks to Gaye Kynoch for such a rich translation...
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on 16 January 2017
A great crime novel with enough twists and conspiracy to keep you wanting to read on to find out what happens next. Well written thriller.
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on 13 November 2015
A cracking story. Sometimes too much descriptive narrative. But well worth the time. An educational insight into the German Stasi
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