Peter Lime is trained to hunt down his prey and catch them on film. But now he is the one being hunted. Whose prey has he become? And what is it that he has that these people will kill to get?
Lime is a Danish paparazzo, living in Madrid. For more than 20 years he has stalked and captured the rich and famous on film, making vast sums of money from exposing their secrets - the more salacious the image, the bigger the fee. But lately he's been thinking of giving it up. His wife and child have changed his life, and now he dreams of doing a job that his daughter can be proud of.
Then he goes on a routine assignment, snapping a Spanish minister out sailing with his mistress, and suddenly his world is turned upside down. When a fire destroys his home, but not all of his photographs, Lime sets out to discover a motive and finds himself drawn into the complex and terrifying web of international terrorism.
In keeping on top of a couple of my own personal reading challenges, I selected a Scandinavian book which was the recipient of the 1999 Glass Key Award; thus killing two birds with the one stone.
Davidsen’s book Lime’s Photograph was in truth less of a Scandinavian book and more of one concerned with Spain, both during and post-Franco’s reign. We encountered....hippies, communes, Madrid, ETA, IRA, security services, Franco, Basques, photography, friendship, family, marriage, fatherhood, death, loss, grief, betrayal, celebrity, politics, Denmark, art, terrorism, bombs, treachery, Berlin Wall, Stasi, GDR,KGB, Moscow and Russia.
An interesting book, well-written and engrossing and in parts educational, particularly as my previous knowledge of the Spanish Civil War and subsequent strife in the country was bordering on ZERO to MINIMAL. I feel compelled to find out more about the origins of this conflict and how it has resolved itself, and what Franco’s legacy has been to his country.
The author has one of his characters make a couple of claims which may or may not be true, but I’m intrigued enough to pursue them and expand my knowledge at a later date.
Franco was a necessary evil insofar as he dragged Spain into the twentieth century and enabled her to start looking forward as opposed to always looking back. Despite the opposition to his regime, in many ways he united the country.
Franco’s regime (unlike the Fascist regimes in Italy and Germany) was guaranteed its survival by the US in return for its anti-communist stance and the allowing of US bases on its territory.
I think my enjoyment stemmed as much from the history lesson as from the resolution to the mystery for the deaths caused by Lime’s Photograph. This was my first book by the author and I do have a second book by him rattling around somewhere – The Serbian Dane, which I will get to at some point.
I don’t always pigeon-hole books but this could also be considered as a thriller/espionage type book as opposed to something which sits firmly on the crime fiction shelf.
4 from 5
I bought a second-hand copy earlier this year on ebay.
Col - I'm with you; I like books where I can learn something while I'm reading. And this one sounds as though there's some really interesting history wrapped up in it. ThanksReplyDelete
Margot, yes it is an enjoyable feature when it happens, even if on this occasion it only served to remind me how ignorant I am of Spanish history.Delete
I'm not a total numpty, but I feel I should know more!
Col, for your information I disagree with the statement that "Franco was a necessary evil insofar as he dragged Spain into the twentieth century and enabled her to start looking forward as opposed to always looking back". Any serious historian considers today that the uprisings against the Spanish Republic were unacceptable, the civil war a collective disaster and Franco's regime was a cruel repression that slowed down the economic development. .ReplyDelete
Jose, thanks for commenting. I was hoping you could offer some perspective for me on what is a subject I know little about.Delete
One of the characters in the book made a statement to that effect, which obviously jumped off the page at me.....and I felt it merited further investigation by myself, along with some input by others more knowledgeable than myself.
I would not agree with the statement myself, the character who made it was an ex- security officer who served both during and after Franco's regime.
I will re-visit the book to find the exact comments and see if I have mis-quoted "his" - not my - sentiments. I don't believe I have misconstrued his sentiments,
You're welcome Col, unfortunately it's a widespread opinion. I did mention it just because it seemed to me that you were interested in the subject. I have suggested some authors and a book on FriendFeed, case you're interested.Delete
Jose, thanks. I was initially concerned that you believed the comments were my interpretation of Franco's regime and his legacy, which isn't the case. I was worried I had offended you, which would not be my intention.Delete
The whole subject interests me, more so after reading this book. Unfortunately the teaching of modern European history in English comprehensive schools of the 70's wasn't great. I don't believe Spain was covered.
Don't worry Col. It was always clear to me it was not your opinion but a quote from the bookDelete
Terrific review. I own this title from way back. Just haven't read it yet.ReplyDelete
Keishon thanks. This book had a bit of everything in it to be honest, which made it more enjoyable..........as well as thought provoking!Delete
I hope you read it yourself soon.
I know a little about the Spanish Civil War and Franco's long reign, some of it from my reading of Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" that got me interested in that war. Rather unusual that this Scandinavian novel is set in Spain with several elements like the IRA and the Eastern European intel agencies. Definitely interesting.ReplyDelete
Prashant, Hemingway is another gap in my reading, that ought to be addressedDelete
I'm always fascinated by the Spanish Civil War - I don't know enough about it, though I read George Orwell on the conflict, and have always thought the whole idea of the International Brigade extraordinary. I used a poem by someone who died there for my Armistice Day entry. Anyway, this book sounds good!ReplyDelete
Moira, this is the first time I have come across this subject in a book. It has wetted my appetite for more. He did have an earlier book set here, as this is listed as the second in The Spanish Duo. The first - The Sardine Deception, I know nothing about.Delete
Another one of those books you find with way too much going on. I might get too confused. But a lot of the subject matter sounds very interesting.ReplyDelete
Coincidentally, when I was at the bookstore today, I saw a book by Davidsen entitled The Woman from Bratislava and it also looked very interesting. I did not buy it but may someday.
To be honest because Lime is pretty much involved in every scene or part of the narrative, it wasn't too mind-boggling. The disparate strands were introduced fairly effectively as we went along.Delete
I have heard of the Bratislava book, but don't have it and will probably stick after the second one I eventually read. I enjoyed this one, but wasn't compelled to go and seek out everything he's ever written - perhaps I need more books like this on my shelf? Good, but not too good!