Read Alibi by Joseph Kanon Online


Winner of the Hammett PrizeIt is 1946, and Adam Miller has come to Venice to visit his widowed mother and try to forget the horrors he has witnessed as a U.S. Army war crimes investigator in Germany. But when he falls in love with Claudia, a Jewish woman scarred by her devastating experiences during World War II, he is forced to confront another Venice, a city still at warWinner of the Hammett PrizeIt is 1946, and Adam Miller has come to Venice to visit his widowed mother and try to forget the horrors he has witnessed as a U.S. Army war crimes investigator in Germany. But when he falls in love with Claudia, a Jewish woman scarred by her devastating experiences during World War II, he is forced to confront another Venice, a city still at war with itself, haunted by atrocities it would rather forget. Everyone, including his mother's suave new Venetian suitor, has been compromised by the occupation, and Adam finds himself at the center of a web of deception, intrigue, and unexpected moral dilemmas. When is murder acceptable? What are the limits of guilt? How much is someone willing to pay for a perfect alibi?Joseph Kanon's Alibi is at once a murder mystery, a love story, and a superbly crafted novel about the nature of moral responsibility....

Title : Alibi
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780312425906
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 416 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Alibi Reviews

  • Marita
    2018-12-08 08:09

    The setting: VeniceThe time: Shortly after WWII.A war crime, a marriage proposal, a violent death. A chance encounter subsequently results in murder, albeit on the spur of the moment when an argument got out of control. The argument was based on hasty assumptions made. Another person is also implicated in the murder, and they become each other’s alibi. In the guise of helping the police to discover who the murderer is, the main perpetrator attempts to not only deflect suspicion but also to try and justify their actions and to assuage feelings of guilt. This soon becomes an obsession and the accomplice observes: “‘It’s not for the police, this story. It’s for you. You want to believe it. That someone else did it.’” Were there valid reasons for the crime? Is it ever OK to murder someone? Soon someone else is arrested for the crime, but who and why? Before long the situation escalates beyond control. The plot thickens and the moral dilemmas multiply.Venice is the setting of the story. After various retributions had been meted out immediately after the war, the Venetians want to forget the horrors of war and move on. The Americans on the other hand are sniffing around for war criminals. American Adam Miller finds it impossible to come to grips with the Venetian way of doing things. He is baffled by their dialect and the fact that they are first Venetian and then Italian. He finds that in Venice what you see is not necessarily what is. And this is reflected in the layout of the place: ”There were no straight lines in Venice. Maybe if you lived here long enough your mind began to work that way too, seeing around corners, making leaps out of sequence, until you arrived at the right door.” Miller will learn some hard lessons in Venice.This novel contains some of Joseph Kanon’s hallmark elements of writing: because of a simple action, a protagonist becomes more and more embroiled in trouble and also has to deal with a moral dilemma or two. (view spoiler)["All I’d wanted was to get my mother out of a mistake.” (hide spoiler)] However, ‘Alibi’ is not Kanon at his best. Also suspend disbelief. For example, after a fight in which one of the characters is bashed about and almost killed, he appears at a party shortly afterwards with no visible signs except grazed knuckles and a little blood under his nails. The Kindle edition could also do with editing, in particular with the Italian used in the text.

  • Jeanette
    2018-12-15 11:33

    Anything World War II fascinates me to pieces, and the premise of this novel was no exception. Only problem: the premise was about the only exciting thing about it. At times, I was just forcing myself to get through it. But it wasn't all bad. The use of metaphors (especially with the canals) to represent Venice during the German occupation was very engaging. It is important to be educated in how each country handled the occupation and the war very differently, each displaying unique adaptation and ultimate "perceived" sovereignty in the preservation of its citizens and national identity. THAT was very fascinating. But the story itself simply regurgitated itself over and over, each time giving nothing really new to the plot. The characters that were supposed to be the most empathetic just were not able to elicit any real sympathy for their plight. But I guess that is the true tag of a complex character. Even still, there are complex characters in real life that, in spite of their flaws and "complexities", still manage to do the right thing. There is only one heroine in the novel who does endeavor at all times to do the right thing....and, well, for me, that just wasn't good enough. You can stop rolling your eyes at me now.

  • Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
    2018-12-13 05:39

    Even these days, walking round the Cannaregio at night, and especially when the mist lies low off the Lagoon, Venice takes on that strange, dreamlike quality, as if nothing is real... as if you're in a movie. Thus it is with the opening pages of "Alibi". I almost hear the voiceover in "The Third Man", almost rushed in order to throw us into the story more quickly. And once Adam and Claudia meet, walk the canals and become lovers, the mist of dreams descends.And then the dream reaches that disturbing stage, no longer romantic misty. Reality starts to impose itself; the war, the concentration camps, anti-Semitism... but also age and decay. A leery old man like a praying Mantis over the ageing wealthy widow, the arrogant woman with a critical eye. And then the dream darkens, no longer a dream but that half-awake disfunction as things take on a more uncomfortable level......and the stage is set.I found this book totally absorbing, like a Hitchcock thriller. It is a tale of misconceptions and uncertainty, a seeking after truth. It is a tale of collaboration and betrayal, death and survival. It raises questions about the value of life in a world at war and immediately afterwards... and where the boundary between revenge, a search for justice, and murder actually lies. "The Germans had got away with murder, the whole world. Even in Venice, as beautiful as the music, everyone had an alibi, somewhere else when the air-raid sirens covered the sounds of people being dragged off. I didn't know. I didn't realise. I had my own life to consider. And of course everyone did."

  • Dorothy
    2018-11-27 12:29

    I thought I would read a murder mystery as a break from more serious stuff but boy, was I surprised! This book is set in Venice right at the end of World War II, and the murder that occurs is not a mystery at all. The novel is more a psychological thriller. We SEE the murder happen, KNOW who did it, we know the motivation, we see their alibi in place, we even sympathize with the murderers. But what is the aftereffect of the murder on them as they try to figure out if the victim deserved to be murdered and as they try to keep their alibi intact? and what are the results of this murder on those around them? If their alibi is perfect, who WILL be accused of the murder?After the Italians had surrendered and a rump government had been set up by Mussolini, the Germans had occupied much of Italy, including Venice. What happened during the occupation? This is a city where EVERYONE is compromised in some way. The narrator, Adam, the main character, is an American ex-GI who had been part of the de-Nazification program in Germany at the end of the war. He comes to Venice in 1946 to visit his widowed mother, who has returned to Venice to live in the beautiful, magical city she remembers from her younger, happier days, and in which it is also cheaper to live well than in New York. (Well, having been there recently myself and loved the city, I guess prices have gone up since 1946!!) Venice itself is a character: brilliant and murky in turn, romantic gondolas and dark winding canals.Adam falls in love with Claudia, a young Jewish woman who survived life in a camp, and because of what he finds out from her, he becomes intent on investigating the past of an aristocratic Venetian doctor his mother plans to marry. He thinks he has it figured out, and then the author reveals something that subverts his assumptions, and then does it again. and again. calling into question everyone's motivation. Is murder ever acceptable? Some murders more than others? Are some cases of compromise with the Nazis worse than other cases? How far can you compromise for self-preservation? Is some guilt worse than other guilt? Is the perfect alibi really a net of guilt in which you are trapped?The author does not go all soft and sentimental at the end. As much as I would have liked a different ending, I must admit the he stays completely true to the characters. It all seems inevitable after all that had come before. Everyone is compromised. I am glad the book includes a map of Venice inside the cover, but more detail, including more places the author mentions, might be helpful to anyone who hasn't been to Venice.

  • Madonna Valentine
    2018-11-24 06:34

    This is a well written book that took me a bit of time to engage with as the plot moves quite slowly at the start. The action takes place in Venice in 1946 and events are narrated by the main character, Adam Miller, who has come to Venice to visit his widowed mother. He falls under the spell of Claudia, a young Jewish woman. Alibi explores issues of ethics and morality in the aftermath of the Holocaust. Kanon is one of my favourite writers and this book did not disappoint. I did find the main characters to be an impulsive and unsympathetic pair who are each sure of their moral superiority - which provides the impetus for much of the plot. It is a little hard to believe the main character, an American serviceman investigating Nazis in occupied Berlin, did not investigate his mother's Italian fiancé more thoroughly before he attempts to prevent the marriage, as he discovers he is mistaken in some assumptions only after certain tragic events transpire. Similarly, for someone who is meant to be a hardened investigator, he is remarkably trusting of those around him. Much of the plot is centered around Miller's desire to prove he was justified in taking the action that he did by carrying out his own investigation, which also has dire consequences for an innocent party. The plot is fairly predictable in the end. I think it would have been a more provocative book if Kanon had written a less "tidy" ending. That's about all I can say without giving too much away. I would recommend this book. It's an entertaining read.

  • Dan
    2018-12-06 10:37

    Much more than a mystery, we get losses here in many forms, the heavy hand of history, the endlessness of violence once it is unleashed; we get the mutations of violence, deep irony, the pain of a good man who causes harm and the tortuous course of his effort to right his wrong as far as possible. We see the ease with which a whole culture aligns itself with those in power without regard to ideology or decency. These themes are tributaries to a broad theme that suggests moral decency is merely a matter of applying the right cosmetics and a tacit complicity of the whole community of the powerful. Yes, as many Goodreads reviewers noted, the story does involve a strain of anti-Semitism and the devastating effect of such abuse on one character. But the main conflicts are not between Germans or Italians on the one hand and the Jews on the other. The violence in story time is instead between Partisans (Communists) and those who helped the Germans. The recurrent moral concerns are less about anti-Semitism than about the themes mentioned in the first paragraph. The setting in Venice adds to the pleasure of reading this book if you’ve spent a little time there, especially on the Dorsoduro. You might have difficulty following some of the physical movements in the calles and canals of Venice, but it doesn’t really matter because the twist and turns of the plot are not dependent upon understanding exactly where in the real Venice the characters may be at any given moment. Kanon does a wonderful, amazing job of first making you doubt who is telling the truth, doubt which story is real, and then taking you through one twist after another, or maybe I should say through layers of truth, bringing you in the end to see that in immediate postwar Venice, keeping the cosmetic mask in place is so important that more crimes can be committed to to sustain the appearance of civilization. The book presents many long dialogues. Many mimic life closely in the sense that characters sometimes argue without much coherence, that they repeat themselves, answer indirectly, repeat themselves again. I’m not sure whether Kanon wanted to achieve the realism of a transcript or a tape recorder or whether he was trying to increase tension by changing the words of the dialog just enough to give tiny increments of insight or information. For me it the repetition of the same essential idea in dialog was boring. For example, the same character in the same dialog repeatedly say, “You don’t understand.” Real life, yes, but for me it would be better to select good representatives from reality and let us understand that the rest is like that without making us drudge through so much. Maybe I just don’t understand, just don’t understand, don’t understand. I’ve been told that publishers really do not edit fiction anymore. Maybe so. Otherwise I wouldn’t expect to see “. . . she said simply,” so many times; maybe not at all. The first time I noticed that particular phrase, I thought maybe Kanon added “simply” to connote the dignity of a simple or ordinary person (the speaker was a Communist or sympathizer right after WWII). But he does the same “said simply” with other speakers too. Whoever said to avoid adverbial modifications when attributing speech to characters? My complaints are mild, perhaps not worth the space they take. Alibi keeps you going on several levels as you try to follow its turns, cheer for the lovers, and keep hoping for something to cleanse the most attractive characters. Don’t get your hopes too high. It’s a good book that can keep you interested, but it will not elevate your mood.

  • Don Edgar
    2018-12-06 04:35

    I really liked the opening sequences, set in Venice right after WWII but I hated the middle chapters, finding them tedious. (A bozo guy commits a murder, and then seeks to help an extremely crafty detective solve it. Actually, he was seeking to "unsolve" the murder, but still?)However, I absolutely loved the last sections and in particular the ending. Seldom is a crime novel brought to a conclusion as completely and as satisfyingly as was this one. The ending was brilliant and featured no loose ends or characters left hanging while you wonder what became of them. The story itself was all about compromising your values, your ethics, and in the end, your morality. Everyone in the story faced these decisions on some level. Inspector Cavallini was an inspired character; extremely smooth and polished, crafty and clever, ruthless and brutal, and driven by his own agenda. As we go along, we see that he does not solve crimes as much as he cleans up the aftermath. He had thrived in pre-war Italy and in Fascist WWII Italy. Clearly he was now in firm control of his fate in post-war Italy. I would love to see where these fictional people were ten and twenty years later, since the ending of this novel seemed to be the beginning of several others.

  • Sam Reaves
    2018-11-25 08:20

    Venice, 1946, the city largely untouched by the war but the enmities still smoldering. A wealthy American widow returns in search of her youth spent here as part of a carefree expatriate community. She reconnects with an old flame, an Italian doctor, now himself a widower. They decide to marry. Her son, freshly discharged from the army in Germany, comes to visit her; he suspects his mother has fallen for a fortune-hunter but fails to dissuade her. He himself falls in love with a Jewish girl, who, at the mother's engagement party, identifies the doctor and prospective stepfather as the man who betrayed her father to the Nazis. The son's implacable hostility to the marriage leads quickly to multiple complications, culminating in a violent and gratifyingly unforeseen plot twist. That's when this book really hooked me. The rest of the way I couldn't put it down. Kanon handles the myriad implications of his setup with skill. Who's lying? Who's to be trusted and who isn't? What were all these people really up to during the war? Layers of deception peel away, each revealing deeper mysteries, with the decaying beauty of the slowly sinking city pervading the whole thing. Money, politics, family, love and death. A great, entertaining read.

  • Tom Tischler
    2018-12-10 10:16

    It's 1946 and Adam Miller has come to Venice to visit his widowed mother and totry to forget the horrors he has witnessed as an Army war crimes investigator in Germany. Adam falls in love with Claudia a Jewish woman scarred by her devastatingexperiences during the war. Adam is forced to confront another Venice, a city still atwar with itself haunted by atrocities it would rather forget. Everyone has been compromisedby the occupation - the international set, the police who kept order for the Germans andmost of all Gianni Maglione the suave Venetian who happens to be his mothers new suitor. When finally the troubled past erupts in murder Adam finds himself at the centerof a web of deception, intrigue and unexpected moral dilemma. What are the limits of guiltand how much is someone willing to pay for a perfect alibi. This is a murder mystery, a love story and a very good novel. I gave it a 4.

  • Barbara
    2018-12-17 09:12

    I recalled reading this book a few years ago. It is a mystery occuring in post-war Venice. Kanon is a gifted writer, who has written this, a compelling, suspenseful mystery along with other notable novels, including the gripping historical, The Good German.

  • Dgoll
    2018-12-15 04:11

    This is a great book by the author of The Good German. At times I didn't like the book but only because I didn't like what was happening. In some ways it reminds me of Theodore Drieser's An American Tragedy, really great book in my opinion!

  • Stephen
    2018-12-11 10:34

    Author has a wonderful feel for Venice. He obviously has been there often.

  • Ann Hassett
    2018-12-10 11:26

    Fascinating and insightful. Clever plot with surprising twists, beautifully written. A deeply psychological story as well as a page-turning mystery. I found it hard to put down. I recommend it to all serous readers.

  • Al
    2018-12-04 08:22

    I did really like it, although by the end I was getting tired and a little confused.Adam Miller, newly discharged from the army in Germany just after WWII, goes to Venice to stay with his expatriate widowed mother. He quickly becomes involved with a beautiful Italian Jewish prison camp survivor, and also with his mother's boyfriend, a native Venetian and old friend of hers. Complications ensue when it turns out that his girlfriend and his mother's boyfriend had a connection during the war.Most of this book is wonderful. The characters are well-developed and credible, the exploration of the murky morality and shifting loyalties among occupied and occupiers is deftly presented, and the evocation of Venice is razor sharp. Kanon never lectures, but this book is one of the most competent I've seen on the matter of how hard it is to determine what's right to do. Every single character has complex, impossible, choices to make, and the results are tragic. Perhaps the book is a little too long, and the plot becomes needlessly complex. Still, it ranks up there close to Alan Furst and that's about the highest compliment I can bestow.

  • Sarah
    2018-12-15 04:30

    The premise of this book is that once you do something morally questionable (even if you have a good reason), it's a downward spiral from there. I would say that the other lesson to be learned form this book is not to let someone talk you into something until you know all the facts.In this book, an American (recently demobilized form the army after WW II) has come to Venice to visit his mother and think about his next step. He gets invovled with a woman whose family was killed in the war and she convinces him to help her get revenge. Of course, nothing is as clear as it seems and no one is as clean or as dirty as they seem.This was a pretty good book but it got a little too involved with itself and I found myself thinking "yeah, yeah, I got the message." It remineded me a little of the Good German which also plays with the idea of "he who is without sin, throw the first stone."

  • Sharon Kreps
    2018-11-28 04:11

    I got into this book very fast. Loved the description of post war Venice and the people who returned to resume their "normal" lives. The plot and love story got on and I kept reading, intrigued. At some point it turned into pages of conversation that were harder to follow and care about. But I read to the end wanting to see how it resolved. I guess it didn't really. Bleah.

  • Steve
    2018-11-20 09:32

    ALIBI Set in Venice just after the end of WW II author Joseph Kanon delivers another winner with Alibi. Adam has just been discharged from the army where he was assigned to a division whose purpose was to help ferret out who the true Nazi zealots from the rest. Rather than going back home immediately he goes to Venice to visit his mother who has moved back to Europe from the States. One evening at a party thrown by a friend he meets a young woman named Claudia. Claudia is a Jew who along with others was rounded up and sent to a camp. The two begin a very fragile relationship that both seem to need. One night Adam agrees to meet his mothers new boyfriend for dinner with Claudia accompanying him. As introductions are about to begin Claudia lashes out both physically and verbally at the mothers boyfriend Gianni. Claudia tells Adam that Gianni was the man who turned her father over to the Nazis which that led to his being sent to a camp and dying. This sets in motion a series of events and decisions that will leave some people dead, and others trying their best to avoid the consequences of their actions.Us usual the author does a fantastic job of developing his human characters as well as the physical location that the story is set. Post WW II Venice comes alive under Kanons writing and makes it very easy for the reader to put themselves into the story. I look forward to reading the authors next book.

  • Nicholas Kinsey
    2018-11-20 10:16

    An excellent story idea for a novel about corrupt fascist Italian society, but badly done in the sense that the middle of the book goes on and on with no dramatic development. You only get there at the very end. Still it is an excellent book idea. The war between the haves and have nots in Italian society after 20 years of Mussolini.

  • Vivian
    2018-12-09 08:15

    Fast paced chilling book. I'm glad there was a map inside the front cover as that helped keep my bearings. Can't say that I found any of the characters like able. There was certainly a lot of intrigue and that was entertaining. I just wish Adam would have come across as stronger.

  • Barbara
    2018-11-28 08:09

    I found this book to be slightly tedious. There were parts of the book that were shocking though, and also it was a nice description of Venice.

  • Carla Foy
    2018-11-29 12:31

    This book brought me back to Venice. Interesting plot. A bit confusing in parts.

  • Mark
    2018-11-26 10:28

    A taut, complicated little thriller placed in the morally ambiguous post world war II Venice. This one had a couple of unexpected twists and kept me guessing until it ended.

  • Regina
    2018-11-20 09:29

    Three of Joseph Kanon's books. Three five-star ratings. I can't recommend him highly enough. I love his writing style, with not a spare word, yet so evocative and intimate. Every word is pitch perfect. Alibi hit all the right notes for me--the plot, the characters, the setting. What a pleasure to read!

  • Mike
    2018-11-25 10:39

    Plodding story that begs for a tighter storyline and plot

  • Bill
    2018-11-28 05:35

    Alibi was not for me. It seemed more contrived than Joseph Kanon's The Good German. One-hundred fifty pages into it I realized I disliked the main character, Adam Miller, so much I wanted to be finished with him. I skipped ahead, read a few pages, and then skipped some more. Soon I was reading the ending. Both the era, post-WWII, and the location, Venice, sounded good to me. Also, I frequently read stories about the moral decisions that people were forced to make under Fascist governments. This, for me, was people making bad decisions, without moral ambiguity. So I stopped reading.

  • Nan
    2018-12-02 07:27

    I just discovered Joseph Kanon's new book, Istanbul Passage, so now I'm reading his earlier books as well. Alibi did not disappoint. I adore books where the suspense comes from the moral dilemma of the protagonist, so I figured this would be up my alley. Or canal, as it's set in post-WW II Venice. But in Kanon's work there's never just one dilemma to worry about--every character has a secret.American Adam Miller has just left the army after being an investigator of war criminals in Germany. His widowed mother has settled in Venice, where she'd once lived, and he goes to stay with her until he figures out what's next. Unlike most of Europe, Venice appears unchanged by the war's horrors. On the surface. By the time Adam meets his mother's new fiancee Gianni, and the pretty Italian Jewish Claudia fresh from a concentration camp, he realizes everyone in Venice has been affected by the war in some way. With the best of intentions (to protect his mother from a fortune-hunter, and show Claudia that love and life can still be hers), he gets caught in currents much murkier than anything he's read in a German case file. Soon he's up to his eyebrows in a murder investigation, and alibis, and not knowing who to believe--and realizing he himself is not to be trusted. About one-third through there came a scene that made me yell out in surprise. I had to put the book down and to absorb it before I could keep reading. And even then the revelations come so quickly yet unexpectedly, and subtly--the dialogue is a model of tight precision--that I had to use a blank piece of paper to read line by line, so my eye wouldn't be tempted to skip ahead before my brain caught up.I was dazzled, though by the end, tired. Maybe one or two shocks too many. Or perhaps my complexity meter isn't used to being stretched by such elegant, layered plotting. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is, I really, really wanted a character--just one!--to believe in and root for. But such is the murky moral climate here that no one emerges without stain, or complicity in some very bad acts. For these people, the war will never be over.

  • Brenda
    2018-11-23 10:26

    Adam MIller is desperately tired. As a US Army War Crimes investigator he has been working in Germany to bring the Nazis to justice, but it has taken its toll and he struggles with the enormity of the evil he has seen. Learning that his mother is in Venice, he decides to visit her there; to get away and recuperate away from the aftermath of war.When he arrives, Venice in 1946 seems unaffected by the war. The expat community still gathers at Harry’s, the canals and the homes seem unchanged, and except for the fact that sugar and coffee are in short supply, it is hard to even see that the war has impacted Venice at all. His mother, still recovering from the death of his father seems to belong here in ways that she never seemed to belong at home and Adam soon finds that the cause of his mothers’ happiness is Dr. Gianni Maglione, a genial but enigmatic Venetian of some standing in the community.However, when Adam falls in love with Claudia, a Jewish woman who survived the war, he suddenly sees another Venice, a Venice that is much more sinister and with many secrets. As he confronts the horrors that Claudia endured, Adam unexpectedly finds himself confronting his own moral dilemmas. How much proof do you need to know someone is guilty? When is murder acceptable? How much is a perfect alibi worth?Well paced, historically accurate, and with wonderful descriptions of Venice, Kanon immerses us in this post war world of intrigue and shameful secrets. He raises interesting questions about collaborating with the enemy, the uses of fear, the difference between proving a crime and knowing a crime was committed and the primal desire for revenge. Venice, the city, stars as a wonderful backdrop to this intrigue and pain, and somehow you know that those buildings and and cobbled streets have endured many such moments in history and remain as mute and enduring witnesses to the constant battle between our best and worst selves.

  • Melissa
    2018-12-11 12:30

    Overall, it was an interesting, suspenseful read. The description of place and people that the author offered were quite good, the historical perspective added interest for me , particularly from an aspect I had not previously considered, that of people whose participation was more peripheral. Many of them seemed more like outside observers, content to party and socialize while the serious business of war raged in places far removed. Throw in the love story, and a good murder mystery, and it made for a pretty decent novel. Knowing who had done it very early on allowed me to look at other issues, like how it effected everyone involved, and how they changed as a result. Other reviewers have commented that the two main characters seemed to feel a moral superiority about what they'd done. I found that to perhaps be true in the beginning, but over time, they definitely seemed to be grappling with the moral aspects of it, including whether their feeling of moral superiority was justified. There was some guilt, as they turned out to be wrong on a number of points, and some relief when what they had thought was, in fact, true. The book offered some interesting insight into the after effects of such a major event, on not just those characters, but many other lives it touched as well. Other reviewers have also commented that the main characters seemed to believe that once someone ventured down the wrong path, it was difficult for them to come back, or even impossible. It seemed to me that they were grappling with the possibility that that was also happening to them, and how to regain some sort of redemption for themselves, while still managing to survive it. I wouldn't call the ending happy, but it seemed satisfying, and feasible. It tied up most of the loose ends in a way that wasn't entirely neat and tidy, but it worked.

  • Judith
    2018-11-21 11:10

    An unexpected pleasure. I chose this thriller, which was on the sale table, in large part because the action takes place in Venice. There is a map on the inside covers. I have loved Venice since I visited it in 1974 and I have read several popular mysteries that are based there. But I did not know much about Venice during WWII or shortly after. That is the time period of this novel. Venice managed to come through undamaged. That is, the buildings did. The beautiful city attracted widow Grace Miller, who leased a home for several months. Perhaps she would stay, live there. Her son Adam, released from military service, comes to stay with her, and meets the man she is currently seeing, Gianni Maglione. Gianni is charming, well-mannered, and from an old Venetian family. But Adam does not like him.Adam meets Claudia at a party. Claudia is Jewish and survived a camp. Her scars are more than physical, as she had been made to be essentially a sex slave to one of the Nazis running the camp. The two hit it off. But then there is an incident that pits Claudia against Gianni, and Adam calls on his military intelligence buddies to find out more. And then one fateful night everything changes. The story really kept me in suspense. A different type of suspense than one might expect from a thriller. And it revealed a part of Venice - and Italy - that we may tend to gloss over in our daily lives. I suspect that Kanon's representation of the general feelings after the war are pretty nearly accurate. They make sense while they make one think. What does it mean when a country is occupied and its inhabitants become used to following orders of its occupiers? What happens after and how do the citizens feel and act?Not what I'd call a "nice" story. But fascinating, absorbing, thought-provoking.

  • Eva Thieme
    2018-12-16 10:10

    I love Joseph Kanon. Having finished Istanbul Passage, which I loved, I wanted to read another one and chose Alibi for its setting in post-World War II Venice. While the setting was great and it promised to be a good story, I didn’t like it nearly as much as Istanbul Passage or The Good German. Perhaps it was because I couldn’t bring myself to like the narrator, an American ex-serviceman whose mother makes her life in Venice after the war, and whose fiancé, an Italian, is perhaps not what he might seem on the surface. When he is killed about a third into the story, which is surprising, the rest of the book deals with covering up the crime, and digging into the past in an effort to justify the killing. It’s not really a murder mystery, since we know who the murderer is, and it’s not really one of Kanon’s signature spy stories, as there is no spying involved. Even though we get a great look at Venice and some of the goings on there during the war, I could not bring myself to like any of the characters very much. This is not atypical, as Kanon’s characters are often conflicted and morally suspect, having to make tough choices with equally bad outcomes. But usually, you can cheer for the main hero. Here, I wasn’t so sure what I wanted to see happen to him. What does happen all seems more and more unrealistic as the story unfolds.Overall, Alibi seemed a bit forced and lacked the suspenseful intrigue I’ve come to associate with Joseph Kanon. As if he had told himself, “let’s write another post-World-War-II story, let’s pick another intriguing city, and let’s pick a plot, any plot, as long as we can use that city.” It felt to me like the beautiful city of Venice got sacrificed to a mediocre plotline. If you want to read one of Kanon’s books, don’t pick this one.