RIDDLE OF BERLIN by Cym Lowell

RIDDLE OF BERLIN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An arms dealer orchestrates acts of terrorism throughout the world, vexing international authorities.

Mark Anton is an Internet wunderkind living in Germany, a 27-year-old Californian who went abroad to take advantage of the wild free market conditions in Eastern Europe. Little does Anton know that his empire has caught the attention of an international terrorist mastermind. The Lion, frequently posing as an old German frau, is a sophisticated and cultured criminal holdover from the Old World who orchestrates attacks from a plush library in his suite at Berlin’s finest hotel. The shadowy international financier decides to frame Anton–as well as his unsuspecting mother–as the perpetrator of a series of attacks on NATO intelligence and civilians in Germany, using Anton’s online venture, an auction site for sports memorabilia, as a coverup for arms dealing. Anton’s only hope of escaping this nefarious web–one that also includes the American vice president (who is a friend of his mother’s) Chinese militants and the FBI–is an investigator named John Jaëgerman, a decorated war hero and skilled soldier who somehow knows to warn Anton a few days before the first attack. Jaegërman, however, jumps off the Notre Dame Cathedral into the Seine shortly thereafter, in hopes of meeting a mysterious female entity who resides in the water. He is rescued by a Slovakian nurse driven by her own carnal and spiritual desires. For such an integral character in the book, Jaegërman is touched upon too infrequently and without enough emphasis. His relationship with the Slovak Carmen is distracting and even unnecessary in light of the tremendous amount of action going on elsewhere in the book. These disparate storylines eventually come together, but the novel as a whole feels overly plotted. The European settings are top-notch, a Jason Bourne-like mix of sex, immense manses and fast cars. However, NATO seems like a prosaic and harmless target for such a skilled criminal to focus on, and more so, the ability of The Lion to repeatedly defeat the authorities is not entirely plausible.

A dense amalgam of genre elements, but fans of international thrillers will be pleased.

Pub Date: June 18th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-595-42665-2
Program: Kirkus Indie
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