The Northern Cross by Hendrick Falkenberg

  29904293 I received a free ebook of The Northern Cross from NetGalley in return for a fair review.

This is a novel set on the Northern Coast of Germany on the Baltic Sea.  Hannes is a detective and a semi-pro athlete.  He is now returning to work from a two week training session and has to face a new partner.

The case that greets him at his return is of a man, unidentified at first, found crucified  along the coast.  This case leads to another and another. All the murders are uncommon to say the least.  At the heart of them is a controversial religious group.  Are they the targets or perhaps the villians?  Is this an internal dispute of the church or something more personal?  The case leads Hannes through twists and turns, meeting a variety of characters and suspects.  It also leads Hannes to visit his old partner in prison to gain new perspective and put to rest feelings that Hannes has about his mentor being incarcerated.

The book develops a strong sense of place through scene descriptions and the isolated nature of the people’s lives.  Hannes is an interesting character, part detective part athlete.  He is the target of his new partner’s derision and yet seems determined to do his best with the cases he is assigned.    There is a romantic subplot for Hannes that adds to the novel as a whole.

I did enjoy this novel.  I just wish I had read the first book before reading this one.  I feel as though there were things I missed due to not having a complete backstory of the characters.  Nicely done mystery, with multiple twists and turns to keep the reader guessing.

The Atheist by Mike Robinson

30811655  I received a free copy of The Atheist by Mike Robinson from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

The Atheist seemed to be a philosophical/spiritual/self-help book written as a novel.  The Atheist refers to Dr. Arthur Moore a renowned speaker and author who eschews God and religion and advocates for science and reason.  He has a near death experience and this causes him to re-examine some of his views.  Not that he specifically states he finds God, but rather that he now sees himself and everyone and everything as part of a bigger spritual entity/intelligence.  There is much discussion and introspective thoughts laid in the book.

The novel piece tells the story of Arthur the man, his strained relationship with his homosexual son and the women in his life.  His difficulty writing his current book and his interest in  current events, particularly those surround a Christian radical cult employing snipers to deal out their own brand of retribution.  His reactions to media attention and events for his books.

I did not find that the two parts (philosophical work and novel) worked well together. Arthur wasn’t  likeabe and so it was understandable that his relationships with others were awkward and strained, not because he was an atheist but rather due to poor social skills.  He acted as though he was having a mid-life crisis.  As a philospher/atheist , he came across as one of those rambling theorists who make perfect sense to themselves, but who cause everyone else’s eyes to glaze over.  I’ll admit that I ended up skimming some passages because I just  couldn’t read through it, yet felt obligated due to receiving the book from NetGalley.

I have read other philosophical leaning texts, Siddhartha, The Alchemist, Candide, etc. but I’m afraid this one was not my cup of tea.