Midnight in Madrid by Noel Hynd (Zondervan, March 1, 2009), 368 pages
Midnight in Madrid is the second book in The Russian Trilogy by Noel Hynd. The first book is Conspiracy in Kiev, which I haven’t read. Actually, Midnight in Madrid was my first Hynd read.
From the back cover:
When a mysterious relic is stolen from a Madrid museum, people are dying to discover its secrets. Literally.
U.S. Treasury agent Alexandra LaDuca returns to track down the stolen artwork, a small carving called The Pietà of Malta. It seems to be a simple assignment, but nothing about this job is simple, as the mysteries and legends surrounding the relic become increasingly complex with claims of supernatural power.
As aggressive, relentless, and stubborn as ever, Alex crisscrosses Europe through a web of intrigue, danger, and betrayal, joined by a polished, mysterious new partner. With echoes of classic detective and suspense fiction from The Maltese Falcon to The Da Vinci Code, Midnight in Madrid takes the reader on a nonstop spellbinding chase through a modern world of terrorists, art thieves, and cold-blooded killers.
I was excited to get this advance copy in the mail — a female FBI/Treasury agent in an almost surely fruitless search for a stolen piece of art. She’s multilingual, she’s smart. And she’s not just looking for the small sculpture that was, perhaps, Michelangelo’s inspiration for his Pieta, no. She’s also searching for the people behind the theft, and their motivation, and trying to stop their endgame.
However, this book didn’t do it for me.
Story wise, Midnight in Madrid was solid. Great, even. But the character of Alex LaDuca was fragmented to me, two parts of a whole. In short, unbelievable. Perhaps this problem might have been alleviated if I had read the first book in the series. Otherwise, though, this book does stand on its own.
I was intrigued (in a good way) by some of how things happened in this book, as far as writing mechanics; to move the story forward, at times Hynd broke a lot of writing “rules” — but it worked in this book.
Aside from lacking in characterization, at times I also felt like the novel was replaced for a few pages by a term paper. It’s good for the book to have a historical basis and footing, but sometimes this background didn’t feel well integrated into the plot.