An interesting and informative novel that will please World War II buffs but falls short as a thriller.

HUNTING THE HANGMAN

A roman à clef about a team of British-trained paratroopers who carry out a daring mission in Nazi Germany.

The Hangman is Reinhard Heydrich, SS Obergruppenführer and architect of the Holocaust. In August 1941, exiled Czech President Edvard Beneš and chief Czech military intelligence officer František Moravec meet in England and formulate a plan to assassinate Heydrich, whom Beneš believes has been chosen by Hitler as his heir. Jan Kubiš and Josef Gabčík, heroic Czech soldiers and close friends tapped to lead the mission, are trained by British Cpl. Andy Donald, with Anthony Eden and Winston Churchill making cameo appearances. Linskey moves back and forth between the Czech-led team and Heydrich’s interactions with Göring, Bormann, Hitler, et al. Linskey begins each chapter with an apt period quotation succinctly capturing the tragic European situation. His solid research provides several illuminating tidbits, like the fact that fellow navy cadets gave Heydrich the derogatory nickname “Blond Moses.” As days of training for Operation Anthropoid unexpectedly drag out into months, Jan and Josef grow increasingly frustrated. So too the tale unfolds slowly until the final third and the actual mission. The duo parachute into Czechoslovakia and reunite with their girlfriends as the ambitious Heydrich works to forge bonds with colleagues and smooth his rise to the top. Linskey’s scrupulous groundwork allows him to depict these final phases with consistency and clarity.

An interesting and informative novel that will please World War II buffs but falls short as a thriller.  

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7860-4702-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pinnacle/Kensington

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A poignant and lyrical novel that asks what is worth sacrificing for peace—and provides some answers.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

NORTHERN SPY

Berry delivers a taut and compassionate thriller as young mother Tessa is drawn into working as a double agent in the Irish Republican Army to protect her sister.

It's been years since the Good Friday Agreement was signed, but tensions in Northern Ireland remain at a constant simmer. Tessa moves through the simple motions of her life: taking care of her infant son, working at the BBC News Belfast bureau, spending time with her mother and sister. The physical isolation and beauty of her home village hint at the possibility of a world in which one doesn’t always have to be alert for terrorists; Tessa is old enough, however, to remember the Troubles, and she fears that the IRA will never truly surrender. Still, it comes as a shock at work one day when she sees a video of her sister participating in an IRA robbery. But even more shocking is the revelation that comes from Marian herself once she is able to reach out to Tessa: She's been a member of the IRA for seven years, drawn in by their talk about economic inequality, and has recently begun feeding information to MI5 in order to create space for peace talks. After a bomb she created for the IRA failed to blow up, though, she's under constant surveillance and can no longer meet with her British handler. And so Tessa joins her sister as a double agent: She's accepted by Marian’s crew and asked to do increasingly dangerous tasks for the IRA, which she then reports to her handler. Days of espionage are balanced by quiet moments with her son as Tessa comes to realize that putting herself in danger is justified, even necessary, if she wants him to grow up in a safer Ireland. Berry's use of short chapters, often divided into several smaller episodes, is particularly effective in reflecting Tessa's fragmented sense of loyalty and safety. This is not a book of action, though there is plenty, but instead a greater reflection on personal choice and consequence.

A poignant and lyrical novel that asks what is worth sacrificing for peace—and provides some answers.

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-73-522499-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The overly complicated mystery plays second fiddle to the sexual tango between two psychic partners.

CLOSE UP

Quick returns to 1930s California (Tightrope, 2019, etc.) with another sexy but derivative thriller.

After refusing to marry the man her wealthy parents favored, fiercely independent Vivian Brazier moved from San Francisco to Adelina Beach to pursue her career as an art photographer. Her mother and sister, Lyra, who becomes engaged to Vivian’s reject, send her gifts, but her father has cut off support, so she does studio portraits and freelance photojournalism to support herself. Studying her own photos surrounding the murder of Hollywood star Clara Carstairs by the Dagger Killer leads her to believe the perp is a photographer, and her tip to the police puts them on the right path. But a chance to sell her work at Fenella Penfield’s gallery falls through, and Vivian is stunned when she uses her sixth sense to learn that Fenella is furious over Vivian’s photos of nude men. Meantime, Nick Sundridge, who works with his dog, Rex, as a private eye, is striving to harness his strange fever dreams to help his investigations. After Vivian’s narrow escape from the Dagger Killer, Nick arrives to warn her that she’s marked for death by a hired killer. He’s an emissary for Luther Pell, who is an old wartime friend of his uncle's and who runs a nightclub in Burning Cove and has connections to the FBI and other government agencies. Nick convinces Vivian that he can protect her by posing as her assistant while trying to find the killer whose coded journal of poems contains the names of his victims and the methods he’s used to kill them. Escaping when the killer tries to burn them alive, Nick and Vivian (and Rex) move to the Burning Cove Hotel, where they set a trap for their quarry while the flame of their attraction burns brighter.

The overly complicated mystery plays second fiddle to the sexual tango between two psychic partners.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0684-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more