Crime In Brief: Ice Moon by Jan Costin Wagner<br></br> <br></br>

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Novels in translation have been very much in the news lately on the crime scene, so I thought I should find one to review. Kimmo Joentaa is a cop in Turku, Finland. One long, cold summer his wife dies of cancer. He descends into a world of grief, and can see no end to it. Instead of taking time off he returns to CID where he becomes obsessed with the murder of a local woman in her sleep, seeing his wife in her place. His boss dismisses Kimmo's theories on the murder - he's more involved in a case centred on the attempted assassination of a local politician. But then there is another murder, and another. Like most crime novels I've read from dark and frozen Northern Europe, this is a gloomy tale, but nevertheless intriguing and touching, especially Kimmo's reaction to his wife's death.

The Camel Club by David Baldacci (MACMILLAN £12.99 £10.99 (P&P FREE) 08700 798 897

Only a few weeks ago, I named Baldacci's last book The Hours as one of the best of 2005, and called him a giant of crime writing. I still believe he is, but his new book just doesn't cut it. Maybe it's because I've read too many Washington conspiracy theory thrillers over the past few years, where the diabolical plot always exists, although no one in authority believes it until the bitter end. Been there, done that. Even the assumed name of the main character is annoying. He's known as Oliver Stone - simply so that we can chat about Oliver Stone's films. So when he and his two friends (who form a trio of political activists known as The Camel Club) witness a murder on an island in the Potomac River - a murder that should have been written off as a suicide - I knew exactly where this was heading. And when the dead man turned out to work for the US Secret Service it was obvious that the conspiracy went right to the top. As far as the White House in fact. Disappointing. And I'm really sorry to say that.

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