21 October, 2010

Book Review: Heart of Lies by M.L. Malcolm

Author: M.L. MALCOLM

Published: June 2010, HARPER

I received this book from The Book Report Network for free, in exchange for an honest review

From Good Reads:
Leo Hoffman was born with a gift for languages. When his dreams for the future are destroyed by World War I, the dashing young Hungarian attempts to use his rare talent to rebuild his life, only to find himself inadvertently embroiled in an international counterfeiting scheme. Suddenly Leo is wanted across the European continent for a host of crimes, including murder. Left with no options, he must escape to Shanghai with his lover, carrying with him a stolen treasure that could be his salvation . . . or his death warrant. But the gangsters who control the decadent Asian city have no intention of letting him outrun his past. And when the Japanese invade, one wrong move could cost Leo Hoffman everything he holds dear.

My Review:
HEART OF LIES by M.L. Malcolm is a sweeping historical novel that travels from eastern Europe, to Asia, and even to America. I was taken on a lovely ride that included danger, lies, misunderstandings, manipulations, the affects of war, but most of all, love.

There's something to be said about a writer that can create a flawed character that can still capture the reader, such as Leo Hoffman. Despite the fact that he seems to act with good intentions in mind, Leo doesn't necessarily operate on the "right side" of the law. While his adventure starts out with him being taken advantage of, and it precipitates a quick escape from his home, Leo is still culpable in many of the actions that he takes throughout this story. However, I thought that, perhaps in spite of his mistakes, Leo is also a character that I could sympatize and empathize with.

Truthfully, it was the locales that Malcolm included in HEART OF LIES that kept me reading the book, as well as their history. The characters were rich and interesting, but Malcolm's research and depth as she describes the places is truly enthralling. This is the real star of the book. The places and the everyday people that inhabit them. Malcolm infuses the novel with such detail, while still telling Leo's story, that the cities he spends time in become just as important to the plot, as the things he does while there.

4/5 for plot
3.5/5 for characters
3.5/5 for language

My Rating: 11/15 Recommend

HEART OF LIES was selected as an “Indie Pick,” and Target chose the title as a “Breakout Book” in their Emerging Authors Program as well.

To find more info on the author, M.L. Malcolm and her work visit any of the links below:

M.L. Malcolm's bio
HEART OF LIES Discussion Guide
More about HEART OF LIES and her upcoming sequel, HEART OF DECEPTION
Schedule of author events

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