Book Review: Where Dead Men Meet by Mark Mills

cover for where dead men meet, blackstone edition
© Blackstone Publishing, 2017.


“A return to the period adventure thriller in Where Dead Men Meet reestablishes Mark Mills as a master storyteller for fans of William Boyd, Charles Cumming, or Robert Harris

Paris, 1937. Luke Hamilton—a junior air intelligence officer at the British Embassy—finds himself the target of an assassination attempt. A clear case of mistaken identity—or so it first appears. As Luke is hunted across a continent sliding toward war, he comes to learn that the answers lie deep in a past that predates his abandonment as a baby on the steps of an orphanage twenty-five years ago.

From the author of the bestselling The Savage Garden, and set against a terrific backdrop of Europe on the cusp of the Second World War, this is a compelling novel, rich in adventure, espionage, secrets, and lies.” (Source: Goodreads)


Originality is key. In this regard, Where Dead Men Meet by Mark Mills is so predictable that you already know the outcome from the first page. Kidnapped at a young age and taken to another country, Luke Hamilton grows up believing that his family is dead. After Sister Agnes, a key character in Luke’s life, turns up dead, Luke quickly finds himself caught up in a situation that spins out of control. His very existence is unfinished business to the Karaman brothers, a pair of crime lords whose reach is impossibly long. Brushing close with death, Luke Hamilton soon flees across several countries. Along the way, he meets Pippi. Can he trust her?

Well, the answer there is clear as day, but I’ll leave it at that. There’s nothing original about the plot in this book. Absolutely nothing, which makes it a rather dull read for me. Luke Hamilton is a misfit. An orphan of a wealthy family, too. What should be a major plot twist in Where Dead Men Meet becomes obvious before its actual reveal, too. This is a serious no-go for me. If I’ve read it once, I don’t want to read it again. If I’ve watched it once, I don’t typically want to read it again either.

The characters are alright. Luke Hamilton seems a bit soft, Pippi is roguish, and the others, which are largely minor in comparison, are fairly standard in their actions. I never felt any connection to any of them. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you know that my emotional connection to a character is a must.

Despite these major flaws, Mark Mills can write. Though I don’t care much for Where Dead Men Meet‘s plot, Mills’s style of writing is nice. I haven’t had the opportunity to read more of his work, but, provided it is more original in its concept, I’d definitely give it a try.  This book is probably better suited to readers that prefer more cinematic thrillers.

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy via NetGalley for unbiased review.

Rating: 💀💀

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