THE QUIET ASSASSIN by Thomas Kirkwood


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One woman's attempt to assassinate an East German villain and then escape from East Berlin--in an earnest Mission: Impossible-style adventure that only catches fire towards the end. Kate Frassek is involved with the underground in East Berlin from her teenage years; her brother Roll is a 1963 casualty of freedom-fighting. So, though she makes a respectable marriage-of-convenience, Kate remains an underground heroine, writing propaganda under a soon-legendary pseudonym--while raising her son Karl: child not of her husband but of Kate's brief, never-forgotten 1964 lover, American exchange-student Clay Bentley. Now, however, widowed Kate is ready to make her big move. She'll write a propaganda leaflet predicting the death of Generaloberst Heinrich Bulow, head of the Vopo; next, with help from Karl (an Olympic-level athlete who has become one of Bulow's bodyguards), she'll arrange for Bulow's assassination. And then she and Karl will flee to the West--aided by . . . old lover Clay, now ""a rather famous medical doctor"" and still in love with Kate (whom he hasn't seen in 19 years). The grand plan runs into complications, of course. Clay handles the secret propaganda printing--and winds up under E. German arrest; both he and Karl get free, however, thanks to a sympathetic police doctor. Meanwhile, Bulow is starting to get hints of Karl's underground connection--as is Bulow's rival at the Stasi (who plans to let Bulow be assassinated, then catch the undergrounders himself). So lots of things go wrong on assassination day: killer Karl is forced to use messy strangulation instead of an undetectable syringe; Kate is being shadowed by the Vopo; the escape plan--via tunnel--is fraught with peril, pursuit, and casualties. . . though all the main heroes get out alive. In these final chapters, the sudden dangers create some solid tension and fierce action. Otherwise, however: a straightforward tale of underground bravery--rather plodding (clumsy exposition, stiff dialogue), without the well-earned uplift of Jack Higgins' Day of Judgment (1979) and other similar thrillers.

Pub Date: May 8th, 1985
ISBN: 0595004032
Publisher: Donald Fine