Author is a retired attorney having practiced for 35 years in Illinois who now lives in Texas and started writing stories about a year and a half ago.
Book Review: Blood Flag
This is a book review/book report on Steve Martini’s newest contemporary legal mystery/thriller Blood Flag. I don’t know if it's a review or a report or a hybrid or neither. But I’m going to proceed anyway since I have in fact written a book report in my past life, the last one being in fifth grade for a Laura Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie book. I loved that series. However I have never written a book review, not even in college.
All that aside I read fiction for one reason and one reason only, to be entertained. This book did that for me. It was a page turner and I read it in two days. Martini has written a number of books with San Francisco criminal defense attorney Paul Madriani as the main character and I have read him before and liked him. That’s why I chose this book to read.
Here our hero Madriani starts our representing a sixty three year old woman charged with voluntary manslaughter for allegedly ending her dying father’s sufferings with an overdose of insulin. Attorney Madriani in investigating the case finds out that his client’s father was a World War II veteran, fought in Germany, and somehow has a connection to a war souvenir called Blutfahne. That’s German, Ich spreche kein Deutsch, so thank the gods the author tells us that Blutfahne means Blood Flag, a Nazi holy relic consecrated in blood the equivalent to the proverbial Bloody Shirt in American folklore. This leads Madriani to believe that who ever overdosed his client’s father did so to silence him about the Blood Flag. From there the leads spin out into a web of international mystery and intrigue with numerous entities seeking the Blood Flag each for their own perverted reasons. The author weaves all this cleverly together and does not overwhelm the reader with mind boggling scenarios. In other words it’s easy to understand and follow. That’s what makes it a page turner and that’s why I recommend it to readers who like contemporary thrillers and/or murder mysteries.
All that I have said above I believe to be in the nature of a book report. Now as to a book review, I will point out a few things which I have gathered from a five minute cursory reading of a definition of a book review on the internet. This book has no agenda. It does not delve into the relationships between men and women, or between any ethnic, religious or social groups. Nor discuss one’s problems of sexuality. It doesn’t dive into anyone’s psyche or psychoanalyze any characters. It doesn't seek to bolster any political beliefs or preach political correctness. The author is not trying to prove anything about human nature. It’s not literary and not meant to be. It’s a mystery.
And the author’s thesis is the mystery itself. So like a good mystery writer he goes about solving it methodically. He does so with an opening that hooks you from the start just like an good opening statement from an attorney does, after all the author is an attorney. Then onto the middle where he builds his case to a climax, which is what trial lawyers do. Then the resolution where everything is tied up neatly and comes to a satisfactory ending, no dangling loose ends, again just like a trial lawyer does. His trial lawyer background wrote this book for him.
Now as to what the book has and doesn't have. It has no obligatory sex scene. There is nudity though. Only once and it fits. Oh ya one will have no trouble visualizing the nude scene. It has no descriptive excessive violence and gore though people do get killed, tastefully somewhat. It has one car chase scene. This book doesn’t have purple prose wordiness, just everyday language. And finally this book doesn’t get off track, has no flashbacks, has no jumping around of events, not a bunch of sub stories, and stays right on target to the end.
In summation this book does what it sets out to do. Gives you a mystery that you can’t put down. It’s weird, fascinating, somewhat historical, and contemporary entertainment. I enjoyed it and could relate to it. After all I had a Blutfahne once.
P.S.-My wife said that those weren’t blood stains on it. She said they were coffee stains. Maybe I had ein Kaffeefahne.