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GARDEN OF BEASTS by Jeffery Deaver

GARDEN OF BEASTS

A Novel of Berlin 1936

By Jeffery Deaver

Pub Date: July 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-7432-2201-6
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Deaver’s latest sabbatical from his Lincoln Rhyme series (The Vanished Man, 2003, etc.) sends him back before WWII to a Day of the Jackal remake with a good-guy assassin.

Hitler may be nothing but a psychopathic freak, but Americans in high places are watching apprehensively as his plans to rearm Germany move forward under retired Col. Reinhard Ernst, his Plenipotentiary for Domestic Stability. It’s vital that Ernst, with his encyclopedic knowledge and his keen vision of a militarized Reich, be eliminated. So the Office of Naval Intelligence, backed up by the obligatory carrot from millionaire industrialist Cyrus Clayhorn and the stick from law-enforcement agencies, sends a secret weapon on the Manhattan, the ship carrying the American athletes competing in the Berlin Olympics: Paul Schumann, a button man credited with 17 gangland executions. The plan calls for Paul to meet with Reggie Morgan, the ONI officer who’ll help him get settled and provide a weapon and the inside info he’ll need for a successful hit. Even aboard the Manhattan, however, things start to go wrong, and Paul’s first meeting with Reggie ends with the shooting of a storm trooper whose death will surely bring the dread resources of the SS and the Gestapo down on them. As his mission spirals out of control and he hears Hitler’s tirelessly efficient police closing in on him, Paul finds himself leaning more and more on people like Käthe Richter, his landlady, and Otto Webber, a raffish black marketeer, and wondering whether Deaver’s well-earned reputation for boffo surprises will give him a chance to fire that rifle after all.

Just the thing for readers who’d like to channel their frustration over the current geopolitical mess into the traditional American values of cleverness, adaptability, and vigilante violence in the best of all possible causes.