Monday, September 01, 2008


The Hidden Assassins by Robert Wilson is a brilliant book that deals sensibly with the major problem of religious fanaticism, and the no less serious traumas caused by spousal abuse and psychological problems. 
Robert Wilson is one of the very few writers I have read that can produce a very long book that maintains my interest throughout. His style of writing is  very easy to read and the pages just flow past along with the twists and surprises in the complex plot.
Some readers might find the personal relationships between the characters unlikely but it is said Seville is a village and it is no surprise to me that Javier Falcon would know everyone of influence in the city. 
The fact that his ex wife Ines is married to the investigating judge Calderon and his sister Manuela's partner Angel Zarrias is a major figure in the politics of Andalucia is quiet believable to me.
I worked in a suburban town for 17 years where everyone seemed to be related in some way to everyone else. 

One message from this book is never jump to conclusions where terror is concerned and that perhaps one day good people will reach a compromise between Islam and the West. 

'Our own people were killed in suicide bombings in Casablanca in May 2003, and Muslims died on those trains in Madrid in 2004, and in London in 2005, but they don't remember that.'

'........ as just another way the West has devised to set out to humiliate us.'
' But it isn't the West that has created that website ,' said Ramirez. 'It's another fanatical minority within the West.'

It is a pity we don't have real life detectives like Javier Falcon who with all around them panicking remain calm.

''re looking remarkably relaxed, Javier, said Angel, taking a seat and ordering a beer.
'We have to present a calm exterior to a nervous population who need to believe that somebody has everything under control,' said Falcon.

I will definitely be reading the next book in the Javier Falcon series.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

To read the next you might have a bit of a wait on your hands. Sadly, I heard at Harrogate this year that Robert Wilson has not been very well during the last year. I hope he's better soon and able to write more of the books we love and appreciate, which in my mind are superb.

In the mean time, don't miss the back list Norm. Wilson's Falcon is set to be a series of four or five books - sorry, can't remember exactly - and The Hidden Hassasins is third on the list. The first, The Blind Man of Seville was a classic and much talked about when it came out because of its originality - Falcon as the main character, mainly, but also the plotting. It's a novel that never leaves you and is the perfect introduction to Falcon as a character because it also sets the scene for his psyche, being a personally related crime story. The second in the series, The Silent and the Damned is not personal for Falcon, but draws on his backstory beautifully.

Robert Wilson's writing is a class act in my mind, levering up a notch or two alongside John Lawton. Yes, it's the crime fiction genre, but it's also beautifully written with more depth to explore. Once read, the tale in The Blind Man of Seville will never leave you.

So there you go, Norm. You have a back list to enjoy here!

I believe that Robert Wilson has spent some time in Spain, but now resides mainly in Portugal, adding authenticity to the setting - which is vivid, real and clear on reading.

Praise highly enough? I can only join the queue and hope to be at the front. His writing is really superb and he's one of the authors I schedule "time out" for. Easily. And with no guilt.

But please, I urge you, do read the back list for this series. You will find treasure and not be disappointed.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

I will try and read the earlier Falcons but I have been sent a huge pile of books I have to get through first. ;o)

Thanks crimeficreader

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And I feel sure you will the pile sent! I hope they arrived undamaged.

4:10 PM  
Blogger Philip Amos said...

In earlier discussions cfr and I found ourselves as one with regard to the great virtues of John Lawton, and so too, it seems, with regard to Wilson. I've just finished A Small Death in Lisbon, my fourth Wilson, and it confirmed in spades a suspicion I formed reading the others. I sometimes sensed in his writing a certain effortfulness, as if it did not come easily to him, and this I thought I detected both in sentence structure and in vocabulary; in all, a sense of deliberation. But I was partly wrong in this. I think what I sensed is indeed there, but I think it is rather the hallmark of a true craftsman -- that he does indeed proceed with deliberation, that of a writer intent upon crafting the best prose he can -- and it is superb -- in writing novels similarly constructed and based upon the most assiduous research, this last particularly impressing me in the case of A Small Death. He deserves the highest accolades for all this, especially when there are British crime writers who of late have been getting what are to me incomprensible plaudits for writing that seems to me trite or slapdash, and certainly a good few notches below that of Wilson.

On the upside of British crime writing, I must just mention that I'm very glad indeed to have discovered Christopher Fowler's Bryant and May series. Lovely stuff and I recommend with greatest enthusiasm.

7:06 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

I am looking forward to reading the four John Lawtons I have been sent!
I agree about Robert Wilson and his efforts make reading his 600 pages effortless and more pleasurable for his readers. I read A Small Death In Lisbon several years ago but remember how much I enjoyed reading it. I am a sucker for those long back story/flashback novels which when they work are so satisfying.

12:33 PM  
Blogger crimeficreader said...

It's interesting that you say "...especially when there are British crime writers who of late have been getting what are to me incomprensible plaudits for writing that seems to me trite or slapdash..." because I have felt a sense of that too over the last few years. It seems to me that it's the ones who get the biggest publicity budget who get into public eye faster and deeper, but they are not necessarily writing the best.

I consider both John Lawton and Robert Wilson to be class acts when it comes to prose and storytelling. Interesting too, that both often insert a bit of espionage into their novels.

4:29 PM  
Blogger crimeficreader said...

Which Lawton will you read first?

4:30 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

I think I will start with Second Violin.

5:29 AM  

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