The Magician's Accomplice: A Commander Jana Matinova Investigation
by Michael Genelin
Cover Artist: Photo: Richard Koci Hernandez
Review by Mel Jacob
Soho Crime Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781569476260
Date: 01 July 2010 List Price $25.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The third Jana Matinova mystery, The Magician's Accomplice, has Jana traveling to The Hague to serve in Europol. She is a police commander in Bratislava, but the death of her lover, Peter Saris, a prosecutor in the attorney general's office, devastates her. Peter had been investigating corruption cases. She had just taken charge of the murder investigation of a young student shot while eating breakfast at a posh hotel. However, she is taken off that case and also forbidden to investigate Peter's death.
Jana suspects a professional assassin killed the student and may have mistaken him for another man, an insurance investigator. After learning of Peter's assassination, she collapses for a week and when she tries to return to her job, learns of her reassignment to Europol. If she refuses to go, she will be dismissed from the police. Before she leaves Bratislava, the police take all Peter's belongings and her home is burgled. However, she finds a paper hidden in her closet and convinces his landlady to give her some belongings of Peter's the woman took before the police searched his apartment. The paper dates from World War II and deals with some geological reports.
On the plane to The Hague, she encounters a magician called the professor. Suspicious, she checks the passenger list and discovers he has the same name as the slain student. He insists on sharing a cab with her. She begins to think about smoke and mirrors and various means of deception used by magicians, which makes her realize misdirection and deception may have played a part in the murders.
At Europol, she replaces a colleague who has disappeared and she is supposed to find out what happened to him. Unimpressed with her new supervisor and many of her new colleagues, she continues to ponder the murders in Bratislava and the possible motives. When the professor mentions a report his nephew, the slain student, had found she ignores it at first.
Meanwhile, she also manages to contact her boss in Vienna and learns about his suspicions of a high-level corruption conspiracy that may pose threats for both of them. Someone had tried to run her down on her first day in The Hague. Uncertain whom to trust, she can only rely on herself and the professor.
She enlists a few of the Europol staff to help her obtain information that may relate to Peter's murder. With the professor, she tracks down the lover of the missing man only to find he has suffered a beating and a home invasion by men looking for her missing colleague.
Murder attempts and betrayal dog her steps and rush her toward an exciting climax as she struggles to piece the information together, find the missing man, and stay alive. Overall, an exciting murder mystery and thriller with a European setting that starts small and escalates. Two earlier novels feature Jana: Siren of the Waters and Dark Dreams. Others are sure to follow.