Books by Patrick Oster

Released: April 17, 2018

"An enjoyable diversion with a little something extra for political junkies and followers of the Supreme Court."
In this mystery, a Supreme Court justice suddenly dies days before the court is expected to rule on a Florida presidential election recount. Read full book review >
Released: March 27, 1989

Here, Oster, former Mexico City Bureau Chief for the Knight-Ridder newspapers, exposes Mexico's very real problems and offers unbalanced, scathing condemnations of Mexican government policies and national character. In 1986, by chance, Oster met Manuel Sanchez, whose early life was chronicled in Oscar lewis' famous study of a Mexican family living in poverty, The Children of Sanchez. This meeting gave Oster the idea to write about individual Mexican people rather than events; unfortunately, unlike Lewis, he doesn't allow his subjects to speak for themselves, but uses them as springboards for polemic about Mexico's failings: the chapter about the doctor who works in the slums provides a chance to excoriate Mexican health policies; the bare-bones profile of an honest, dedicated cop appears amid a thorough recounting of police corruption and brutality; we learn the essential facts of the existence of Oster's maid (and how she's received charity from Oster and other North Americans), but she never emerges as a personality. Mexican policies are described as "foolish," "ignorant," "misguided," "cockamamie," "nonsensical," "immature," and "uninformed"; the rape of a three-year-old girl is termed "maddeningly typical"; Mexicans lie, think illogically, display cruelty, vanity, and alcoholism. Remarkably insensitive; seemingly calculated to inspire fear and disgust—rather than understanding—of the nation with which we share a 2,000-mile unguarded border. Read full book review >
The German Club by Patrick Oster

A Chicago cop is pulled into an elaborate conspiracy involving the reunification of Germany in Oster's (The Commuter, 2014, etc.) spy thriller.
In 1989, Matt Ritter is a soon-to-be-divorced detective working a series of murders in Chicago when he receives a call informing him that his brother, Wolf, has been killed. For Ritter, this is a particular shocker, as he never even knew his brother existed. He immediately travels to Germany to identify the body, only to be mugged by men mistaking him for his brother. Wolf's body then disappears, leaving Matt suspicious about the true nature of his trip. Using his skills as a detective, he begins looking into who his brother actually was, and why he might have been killed. He discovers that Wolf was actually a spy working for both East and West Germany, as well as for the Russians and the Americans. He also quickly realizes that he's being used by American intelligence agents, who hope that he'll lead them to some important documents Wolf possessed that may affect the future of Europe. Later, it appears that Wolf might not even be dead, and that the overall conspiracy could have ties to their father's role as a high-ranking German soldier in World War II. Oster's story is full of double agents and hidden agendas, which he ably ties into the days leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. He provides enough historical context for readers with only a cursory understanding of Cold War politics that they should be able to follow the plot's various twists. Oster unravels the mystery with a steady, straightforward delivery befitting its protagonist. Ritter pushes and punches his way through the novel, which never strays from the action, even if it indulges in standard thriller genre conventions. These don't detract from its effectiveness as entertainment, however, as each passage reveals another layer of the mystery and keeps up the story's momentum.
A solid, worthwhile espionage thriller.
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