Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Andalucian Friend - Alexander Soderberg

The Andalucian Friend is Alexander Soderberg 's debut novel.

Sophie Brinkmann is a widowed nurse, living a quiet life with her fourteen year old son Albert. She's a good nurse, often spending extra time with some of her patients. Hector Guzman is one of those. There's an attraction between the two and they continue meeting up after Hector is released from hospital. But, there is much more to Hector than meets the eye. He and his father head up a Spanish (Andalusia) crime family. They're in a drug war with a German criminal organization. That's enough of the plot to get you started. And I couldn't even begin to explain the rest - it gets quite involved with many characters and plot lines.

Don't get me wrong - I like intricate, complicated plots that challenge. But, I've had this book on the go for a few weeks - I pick it up, I put it down. For me it was overly busy and dense and just didn't grab me like I wanted it to.  I was curious as to the ending, so I did finish it. But I just felt tired by the time I tuned the last page, not satisfied.

Sophie as a lead protagonist wasn't plausible for me. I never 'bought' her relationship with Hector, her acceptance of the criminal filled world she's entered or the ending - completely over the top and even more unbelievable. The supporting cast of criminals were pretty stereotypical -  think bad guys on a crime show. Who, although grievously wounded, soldier on. Car chases, things going kaboom and a drug addicted cop.

I've since discovered that Soderberg did work as a scriptwriter and script editor before penning this first book in a planned trilogy. And that made sense - while I was reading I had thought 'this feels like a Guy Ritchie move'. In fact, the author says that "the idea for The Andalucian Friend began as a TV plot." I think this would have made a great action film, but it didn't translate well to book form for this reader. Film rights have been sold.

Read an excerpt of The Andalucian Friend.


bermudaonion said...

It sounds like it has too many characters for me.

Andrea @ Cozy Up said...

I find it interesting when screen writers write a novel, to me it always feels different and that it's missing something. I've been hearing some buzz around this book but it sounds like there are too many characters and a plot that is a bit too complicated to keep me going. Thanks for the honest review!

Luanne said...

Kathy and Andrea - Yep way too busy - it felt like work to read it , not enjoyment

Ethan said...

Thanks for this review. I've been eyeing this novel for a while, but after reading your thoughts I think I'll skip it.