My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Mixed feelings about this one. I got it from the UK publisher, through Netgalley, just as it was being published in Romanian, but I prefered to read the english version, being curious to see if it sounded as good as it was supposed to. Well, that was a little disappointing: throughout the book, I had the persistent feeling of reading a text that was written by someone whose native language was not english, by someone who had been learning it as a foreign language. It was correct from a grammar point of view, yet there were certain phrases which sounded just as if they would have been written in Romanian and then translated into english, but not by a native speaker. You can almost always spot the places where a native editor of the manuscript has tried to give it an english sound.
The story is rather simple, and the fact that the POV characters are changing from one part to the next, although it’s a neat literary trick, doesn’t manage to convince me: the POV characters sound almost alike, despite belonging to different professions and being of different ages. A literary agent, a freelance reporter and a policeman, all talking the same way? Not efficient towards reaching the aim of suspending disbelief…
What I disliked most was the elaborate setup of the plot which led to an anticlimactic conclusion. In an interview, Chirovici said tried to give his crime novel a literary feel; with all the descriptive passages and the omnipresent contextualization, he mostly managed to make it boring and at times overdone. Also, the too frequent change of perspective on the events does justify the title of the book, making it a sort of a Game of Mirrors. But the fact that all narrators end up being unreliable, far from keeping you on the edge of the seat, becomes simply annoying.
What I did like was the fact that the author managed to keep me reading, despite all that I’ve said before. You do end up caring for at least one character and you definitely want to find out the truth. Hence the three stars qualification. I acknowledge the fact that breaking out in the harsh international market is no small feat. But I will not be so eager to read the next book by E. O. Chirovici, not enough to put it on top of my TBR stack.