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Blood Flag: A Paul Madriani Novel (Paul Madriani, 14) Hardcover – May 17, 2016
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“The novel boasts the sure-handed, suspenseful storytelling that Martini’s fans have come to expect. Martini holds serve with his 14th Paul Madriani thriller, in which Hitler’s evil legacy continues to haunt survivors of World War II.” -- Kirkus Reviews
“Get ready for a great read…. If 10 stars could be given, Martini rates them all.” -- Suspense Magazine
“Steve Martini’s writing is smooth, clear and easy to become immersed in. The integrity he writes into his characters feels as fresh as a Pacific Ocean breeze. A rewarding read with strong characters and an outstanding sense of realism.” -- Mystery Scene
“With plenty of surprises waiting just around each corner, Blood Flag is a fast-paced thriller that picks up steam on its way to a shocking, climactic ending that most readers will not see coming.” -- Therealbookspy.com
“The spooky, conspiratorial tone and nature of “Blood Flag” harks to those great Robert Ludlum international romps. . . . A slam-bang tale with as many twists as pages. A perfect summer read.” -- Providence Journal on Blood Flag
From the Back Cover
When Emma Brauer is blamed in the mercy killing of her father, Paul Madriani and his partner, Harry Hinds, step in to defend her. Insisting she’s innocent, Emma tells Madriani about a package sent to her father. Bequeathed to him by a fellow soldier from World War II, the box contains only a key and a slip of paper.
Madriani uncovers a trail leading to a mysterious talisman—a feared Nazi relic known as the Blood Flag. Soaked in the blood of a fallen Nazi follower, it went missing at the end of the war, turning it into a historic prize sought by collectors and others with darker motives. Racing to locate the artifact before it falls into the wrong hands, Madriani is in for the fight of his life.In one of his most perilous cases yet, with Emma’s life on the line and his own safety in jeopardy, Madriani must uncover the truth before more people die in the struggle over the Blood Flag and its horrific legacy.
- Publisher : William Morrow; 1st Edition (May 17, 2016)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062328964
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062328960
- Item Weight : 1.15 pounds
- Dimensions : 1.5 x 6.4 x 9.1 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #981,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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One reason is that Martini changes perspective among a half dozen or so characters, and then takes pages to have each character learn a piece of information or plot point. We get to have a couple thousand words in Madriani's voice telling us how he learned X, then we get to learn another couple thousand words on how the killer learned X, and then another couple thousand words on how Jocelyn thought about X and what it meant for Y.
Another is that Martini goes to great length to tell us how people get from point X to point Y in their car or walking or whatever, telling us how they stood up, moved around the desk, opened the door, walked down the hall, went outside, opened the car door, fumbled with the key. For goodness sake, just tell us they're somewhere new and get on with the story! Faulkner and Morrison and Joyce can do this because their language is beautiful to read. Martini just writes sentences.
What happened is Martini's books are guaranteed best sellers, and so editing is light. My guess is that he meets a deadline for a certain length of book, and if it's not a disaster they send it to a proofreader to correct typos and really bad grammar then send it out. These assembly line "thrillers" are so lightly touched that we are essentially buying second drafts, and it's getting annoying.
I'd have given this one star, but I was able to finish it so couldn't bring myself to. But I'm not likely to pay for another one.
(SPOILER alerts [though I will reveal nothing that is not already revealed on the book jacket and the Amazon.com description). In Blood Flag Paul and Harry defend a woman named Emma Brauer. Emma’s father Robert has recently died and Emma is suspected of having assisted in his death, in short—a euthanasia case. Things are far more complicated than that, however. Robert Brauer was a soldier in the 45th Infantry, the unit that controlled Munich at the close of WWII. He and two of his fellow soldiers are suspected of having appropriated the ‘blood flag’, a flag soaked in the blood of a Hitler protégé from the days of the Beer Hall Putsch. In celebrating the ‘heroes’ from the early days of his kampf Hitler turned the bloodied flag into an icon or talisman, displaying it at later rallies. It would now be worth a tidy 9-figure fortune.
The ancestors of the now-dead soldiers would like to have it. So would Mossad; so would, it appears, some Aryan Nation-types. This naturally draws the attention of the police, FBI and assorted other groups. This is all complicated by the fact that when Emma was arrested, her beloved pup, Dingus, was left alone in her home. Paul sent an office intern to retrieve it. The intern was promptly murdered and we are left to wonder how her case is related to the search for the blood flag, particularly after her autopsy reveals some interesting information.
Thus we have an international thriller with an interesting (actually historical) McGuffin and just enough of a legal dimension to enable Paul and Harry to exhibit their legal chops. Since Paul has a new romantic partner and Harry is dating a local judge we get some insight into their personal lives. This aspect of the story complements the mystery plot nicely. Steve Martini is incapable of telling a dull story but this one is just a tad too convoluted and a tad too implausible. It held my attention and I look forward to Paul and Harry’s next outing, but I would not rank this installment among their very best.
I found this story to be one of Martini's best that I have read so far. It got me out of bed earlier than usual (my usual reading time is before breakfast) so I could get more reading time in. I will be reading more Martini/Madriani in the future.