Monday, March 25, 2013

The Andalucian Friend: Final Words

Once again, publisher hype has run rampant, and its latest target has been The Andalucian Friend by Alexander Soderberg. "A Cross between Stieg Larsson's Trilogy and The Sopranos?" I see where the publicist who gave birth to this piece of hoopla was coming from. But, as the old saw goes, "Comparisons are odious." And these days comparisons to great novels or television masterpieces are obnoxiously lazy.

So! First, I suggest that you read Sarah's review of The Andalucian Friend at CrimePieces because I agree with many of her observations about the novel.

Here's my take: The strongest literary element was plot, which was well-developed, original, and held my interest throughout. Different, clever, smart! What else could a crime reader ask for? Yet characterization was the weakest element, in my estimation, and a series will not continue to sell like hotcakes without superb characterization of the leading players. I sympathize with the nurse Sophie Brinkman's dilemma, I do, but at the end of the novel I still know nothing about her. In fact, no character was convincingly developed. And it's on this fact that the comparison to Larsson's Trilogy falls flat (on its face). The comparison to The Sopranos? Yes! I think I see a glimmer of that, but only in one limited aspect--the amount of gun violence and death by even grosser means.

At this point you're probably thinking that I'm panning The Andalucian Friend. Well, I'm not. After all, I was continuously entertained by the plot. I would suggest to Scandinavian crime aficiandos that they sample it, give it a whirl, why not? Yet it will be a while before I'm tempted to read the second in the series. Perhaps that comment is the most telling of all.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Judith. Thanks for the link to my review. Yes I agree - overhyped which is a shame as it has so many positive elements. I liked the character of Sophie but I didn't really believe in her. I'll probably read book 2 but like you - no rush.