Kurt McKee

lessons learned in production

Hey there! This article was written in 2007.

It might not have aged well for any number of reasons, so keep that in mind when reading (or clicking outgoing links!).

"Alibi" by Kanon

Posted 1 January 2007

Alibi by Joseph Kanon
ISBN: 0-312-42590-2

The book looked promising; the back claimed that it was a story of love, murder, and mystery. It's a fiction set in post-war Italy in the 1940's. Our hero is an American named Adam who has just been released from the military, and who comes to Italy to visit his mother. He meets and falls in love with Claudia, a Jew, and discovers that his mother has just become engaged to the man who sent Claudia's father to a concentration camp.

Spoiler alert

I enjoy books that have uncompromising, uncomplicated good guys, and hidden bad guys. In this case, however, our hero ends up shooting his mouth off and causing that a fight that ultimately escalates to the murder of his mother's fiance. With blood on his and Claudia's hands, the two desperately try to avoid suspicion from the police while attempting to save a teenager who has been wrongly fingered for the crime. Thus, the hero is a murderer and is trying to get away it.

Further, at the end of the book, after everything is said and done, Claudia and our hero part ways because of all that has happened between them, even though they still love each other. What an unpleasant thing to read.

Finally, to top it all off, after Claudia leaves Adam, the book closes by suggesting that the chief of police - a quietly manipulative man - not only knows enough to blackmail Adam, but will in the future use the information. After everything he's been through and done, Adam has lost the woman he loves, and will forever have the murder hanging over his head as blackmail. Ugh.

I give "Alibi" 3 stars. I didn't like the story, plain and simple. The book was a good read, however, and was well written. I will say that the author's writing style at times seemed to rely too heavily on sentence fragments (although I believe the intent was to capture Adam's rapid thought processes, and it wasn't unbearable).