|Children of War: A Bruno Courreges Thriller by Martin Walker|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A thriller rather than a police procedural and all the better for it. A thought-provoking and edge-of-the-seat read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: June 2014|
|External links: Author's website|
Now published as Death Under Cover
Rafiq had phoned Bruno Courreges for help just a few hours before his tortured and mutilated body was found in the woods, but despite his being a policeman the Brigadier didn't see the case as a priority. He sees the wider picture, whilst Bruno is only the chief of police in a small French country town. A young Muslim by the name of Sami has turned up at a French army base in Afghanistan and he's keen to get home to St Denis and although it's possible to smuggle him back into the country, the FBI are not far behind him. It seems that Sami has been involved in bomb making in Afghanistan and has quite possibly been indirectly responsible for the deaths of soldiers of all nationalities.
Bruno knows Sami of old and he knows his history. His parents were slaughtered in Algeria and five-year-old Sami was present when it happened. He's described as being on the autistic spectrum and it's obvious that there are - always have been - signs that this was the case. He has considerable skills with electronics, such as the ability to mend that old radio or explain what's wrong with the laptop, but his social skills and ability to communicate are limited. He'd been to a Muslim special school in France but disappeared from there and turned up four years later in Afghanistan. It seemed that he'd been at a Madrasa.
There's another interesting development in the town too. In the second world war two Jewish children were given shelter in the town and survived. There's now wealth in the family and a wish to do something positive for the town which made the family's life possible. The amount of money available could make a real difference, but the media's pursuit of Sami as a Muslim terrorist - despite what he suffered as a child caught in a war - and their lauding of another family where the children were caught in a war sits oddly and uncomfortably with Bruno.
So far I've thought of this series (we're at book number seven now) as sitting in the crime genre but this latest book is more correctly classed as a thriller - and it's a good one. We're not really in any doubt about who has done what but there's a real edge-of-the-seat feel about how it will all work out - and it wasn't as I expected despite the fact that the ending had a certain inevitability about it. There are all the Commissar Bruno trademarks - the splendid location in the Dordogne brought vividly to life and descriptions of food which leave your mouth watering - but with the added bonus that you're not going to put the book down until you've turned the final page.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
If this book appeals then you might also enjoy The Madness of July by James Naughtie.
You can read more book reviews or buy Children of War: A Bruno Courreges Thriller by Martin Walker at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Children of War: A Bruno Courreges Thriller by Martin Walker at Amazon.com.
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