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review 2017-07-25 18:34
A STORY OF LIFE UNDER THE TIGHTENING YOKE OF NAZI OPPRESSION (France, 1941)
A Hero in France - Alan Furst

A HERO IN FRANCE” is a story set during the early months of the German Occupation of France during the Second World War.     It is centered around a Frenchman with the nom de guerre “Mathieu” who has cast off the trappings of his previous life in Paris to join the ranks of the Resistance.   Mathieu is in his early 40s, fairly fit, resourceful, tough, determined, yet not without charm and a knack for making friends in the most interesting places.     Unlike most French people, who at this stage of the war (the novel begins in a wintry, melancholic Paris in March 1941) were largely resigned to the defeat France had suffered at the hands of the Third Reich in June 1940, Mathieu is determined to fight the Germans any way he can.   To this end, he has been part of a network that has formed a pipeline between the Occupied Zone and Vichy France, spiriting downed RAF (Royal Air Force) flyers out of France into Spain, where they would be repatriated back to the UK.  

 

Resistance activities had started off on a very small scale from late 1940.   But as the months wore on, the Germans began to show their impatience and frustration from their efforts to discourage random acts of vandalism, the occasional murder of a German officer, and sabotage.   Thus, a police inspector from Hamburg was enlisted by Berlin to go to Paris (as a temporary major in the Feldgendarmerie, the German Army Military Police) and see what he could do to break up the Resistance pipeline of which Mathieu is an instrumental part.  

 

What I like about an Alan Furst novel is his knack for evoking the atmosphere of German-occupied Europe and creating a set of characters who struggle to survive, endure, and fight the Nazi yoke.   Anyone who wants to lose him/herself in a taut, well-told story rich with cinematic overtones, look no further.   “A HERO IN FRANCE” is the novel for you.

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review 2017-06-14 09:35
The Midnight Swimmer - Edward Wilson

Edward Wilson has again crafted an engaging, well-paced, and thrilling novel that brings back William Catesby, a sentimental yet coldly efficient agent in Britain's MI-6. Shuttling from West Germany to London, to Havana, and onward to Washington between October 1960 and the final week of October 1962 (when the world was on the brink of nuclear war), Catesby is given a thankless, yet vital task. That is, to make clandestine contacts and "offer Moscow a secret deal to break the deadlock" between it and Washington. One of the observations he makes during his service in Havana is the following: "The most interesting aspect of international relations wasn’t the conflict between enemies, but the conflicts between allies. You only had to go to an embassy cocktail party to see those conflicts in the flesh. It was easier for Western diplos to talk to the Russians than to talk to each other."

 

Cross, double-cross, love, the clear and present threat of war balanced against the preciousness of peace . Taken together, all these elements faithfully evoke the spirit of the early 1960s. Wilson has this uncanny skill for blending in fiction with history that will have the reader wondering how much more there may have been to the Cold War beyond what is the common narrative surrounding it today. Read "THE MIDNIGHT SWIMMER" and be amazed.

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review 2016-11-27 12:12
Orphan X
Orphan X: A Novel (Evan Smoak) - Gregg Hurwitz

I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway to give an honest review. I am pleasantly surprised with the beginning... Very suspenseful and wonderfully written. Looking forward to continuing...

 

I have finished the book and it is truly a great spy thriller. The writing is excellent and polished and the plot does not languish. It style reminds me of the Bourne movies (although I have not read the books) but by no means is this taken from that. This is new and inventive with excellent plot twists.

 

My only complaints are my own... there is lots of swearing as the story moves on which I don't feel is necessary. There are two sex scenes which I always feel is not needed in a good book. I have taken a 'star' off for these.

 

A must read (apparently a movie is in the works) before the movie comes out! I will be reading more by this author.

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text 2016-11-11 10:59
Orphan X
Orphan X: A Novel (Evan Smoak) - Gregg Hurwitz

I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway to give an honest review. 

 

I am pleasantly surprised with the beginning... Very suspenseful. Looking forward to continuing...

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review 2016-08-23 06:44
Apocalyptic Invasion...
Orbs: A Science Fiction Thriller - Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Even though I've really liked all of the other books I've read by Smith, when I first saw the cover of this book, I was thinking I probably wouldn't like it very much because I didn't like the cover at all, but you know what- I absolutely loved it!  That's a perfect example of why you should never judge a book by its cover!

 

Of course after I finished reading it, I saw online that Simon & Schuster has given this series a complete makeover and the covers are gorgeous! Honestly, if I would have seen the new covers before I read the book, I wouldn't have hesitated one second to read the story. But hey that's reality, we do it everyday with books, products, people etc. 

 

So I guess the moral of this review/rant is: this is a fantastic post-apocalyptic book so don't let the (old) covers fool you! The characters in this one could have been fleshed out a little more but other then that, if you like a good action-packed, apocalyptic invasion, then you can't go wrong with this series. Really, you can't go wrong with any of Smith's books. Hell Divers is my ultimate favorite but Orbs is a close second behind it! 

 

*I received this ARC from NetGalley & Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! 

 

Professional Reader Reviews Published 2016 NetGalley Challenge

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