The official website for Author Mark Mills
THE INFORMATION OFFICER
Publication date: April 2009 | UK Publisher: HarperCollins
The Information Officer was shortlisted for the British Crime Writers’ Association Historical Fiction Dagger (2009).
Summer, 1942. For the people of Malta, suffering daily bombing raids, the British are the last line of defence against the Nazis. And it is Max Chadwick’s job as the information officer to ensure the news the islanders receive maintains morale. So when Max is given proof suggesting a British officer is murdering local women, he knows the consequences of discovery are dire.
With the violence on the war-ravaged island escalating daily, he embarks on a private investigation, hidden from the eyes of superiors, friends and the woman he loves. But Max finds himself torn between patriotic duty and personal honour in his efforts to track down the killer... an elusive figure always one step ahead of his hunter.
‘Stunning fiction...The sense of immediacy Mark Mills brings to The Information Officer is so intense that this breathtaking novel reads more like a memoir than a wartime thriller.’
‘Magnificent... reads like the story of Casablanca revisited, like a vanished Graham Greene.’
A lush, romantic thriller, skilfully crafted by master stylist Mark Mills.’
‘Mr Mills skilfully combines grim historical reality with murder in this tautly gripping mystery.’
‘Mark Mills's third novel is a rapist's progress set against the atmosphere, wonderfully evoked, of the besieged island of Malta in the summer of 1942... A compelling, vividly rendered slow burn of a book which culminates in an electrifying climax.’
‘Mills is as versatile as he is talented... He is a fine stylist as well as a storyteller, enabling him to bring a remarkable degree of eloquence and emotional depth to his material. As historical fiction, as mystery, and as a love story, this one hits on all cylinders.’
‘Mills paints a vivid portrait of a tenacious people, embattled and besieged troops, and a principled man trying to resolve the conflict between duty and justice.’
‘Once again, Mills has crafted a story filled with rich history, tension, and characters whose frailties and strengths move the plot along at a taut and satisfying pace.’
‘The writing... is graceful and fluid, the research scrupulous, and the love scenes, played out against the whistle and shriek of falling bombs, are knee-buckling in their intimacy.’
‘Mark Mills is a superb writer, and The Information Officer is a superb read.’
‘Ratchets up the tension with each page, leading to a pulse-pounding climax. Wartime Malta comes alive in this meticulously researched and beautifully written portrait of an island on the edge.’
‘The Information Officer is both great historical fiction and a first-rate thriller. Mark Mills has taken a harrowing and often-forgotten conflict, populated it with believable and compelling characters, and then turned up the heat. This is a novel that works on every level.’
‘A forgotten corner of World War II is rediscovered and expertly revealed to us. The Information Officer is fascinating and shrewdly compelling - Mark Mills does it again.’
‘A brilliant read with a super-smart thriller plot and an amazing denouement - it had me transported and enthralled all the way through.’
A BIT OF BACKGROUND
The Information Officer is a book that came about by pure chance. I was nearing the end of The Savage Garden (and struggling badly, I remember) when I stumbled across a memoir in our local junk shop: a short little book that told the story of the author's time on the island of Malta during the Second World War. I knew Malta had been besieged - the island was a British Crown Colony at that time - but the author's eye-witness account of the remorseless bombing campaign by the Germans and Italians painted such a vivid and harrowing picture that I was immediately gripped by the idea of setting a story there.
The Second World War had featured briefly in both of my previous books, and the prospect of tackling that conflict head-on was appealing. It became considerably less appealing when I realised just how little I knew about military matters! The Information Officer demanded a lot of research, most of which, inevitably, was never used. It also required a trip to that glorious Mediterranean island, with its brave and resilient people who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the British garrison to see off the Nazi scourge.