4 out of 4 stars
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The Easter Make Believers by Finn Bell is a modern detective story. Nothing good ever happens at 3.30am as Nick and Tobe know when they are called to the hostage situation in a quiet suburb. Such a call is unusual as they work in the organized crime unit. What could mobsters want with a quiet middle-class family who has never had any trouble with the law? While the correct hostage situation protocol is followed, things still go wrong. There are gunfire, explosions and the police are forced to interfere. First, it looks like things went well, bad guys are dead and good ones will recover. When the dust settles the husband and father of the family as well as one of the criminals are missing.
Race with the time starts, and while the search perimeter gets wider and wider, it takes seasoned cops to know that what they are doing is for the media and to make the public feel better. Finding a kidnapper and his victim in the wilderness of New Zealand southern island is unlikely in the best-case scenario. With the storm coming in, however, it becomes near impossible. It’s up to Nick and Tobe to find a way to save the life of a decent man and the time is not on their side.
Finn Bell writes a captivating story with incredibly vivid characters and delivers an ending that made sense but is still a surprise. Crime fiction has been my go-to reading over decades. As a side-effect, many of the plots of otherwise good stories have become too easy to predict. This book kept me guessing through reading and the ending didn’t disappoint. The passing element of Nick’s shaking hands was carried well through the book and wrapped the story together well. The protagonist is very human with self-doubts and somewhat ironic view of the world. As he describes himself "I've never been someone to quit doing stupid things just because I'm confronted with good reasons."
It’s refreshing to have a country other than the USA or the UK as a backdrop. Author’s love for the area and knowledge of its history adds an interest to the reading. While the main story is told from the point of view of Nick, there are two parallel storylines from the point of view of the kidnaped person and the storm that is about to hit the town. First helps to build a tension in the story and the second creates a time pressure.
The only criticism to offer is that while the author does an excellent job at foreshadowing, some elements at the end were presented as a new information that a reader couldn’t have known or guessed. Also, side characters are on some occasions described so well I found myself frustrated over them not having a larger part in the story.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. The editing and proofreading are on a professional level without notable grammar mistakes. With a captivating and well-paced storytelling and character building, this book would be a good reading for anybody who likes detective fiction and thrillers. There is no hard language in the book, but some descriptions may be too graphic for a younger audience. It may also not be a good fit for readers who prefer their mysteries Miss Marple level cozy.
The Easter Make Believers
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