A historically faithful and ingeniously thrilling account of the last throes of the second world war.


Dead Ringer

A historical thriller set during World War II that revolves around the global race for an atomic bomb.

Debut author Cone, a retired U.S. Army officer, pens a suspenseful account of the international dash to make a single weapon so destructive that it would irrevocably alter the balance of power among nations. The story begins at a complex in Ohrdruf with a secretive test by German scientists that’s spectacularly, chillingly successful. Col. Manfred Veltheim, who made his reputation for efficiently managing a concentration camp, personally relays the good news to a triumphant Adolf Hitler. But despite his purported confidence, Hitler seems aware how badly the German military needs such leverage, as his military resources are dwindling and he’s suffered serious, recent setbacks in Normandy. Also, the Führer must manage conspiratorial plots to unseat him from power, especially as the prospect of defeat looms closer. Meanwhile, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill discover evidence of Germany’s progress producing a fission bomb and redouble their own collective efforts to make one first. Roosevelt, intent on knowing more about Germany’s work, dispatches one of his most trusted spies to gather intelligence. Josef Stalin, with his own eye on world domination, also pursues the same goal. A factotum close to the Soviet leader aptly expresses the significance of such a bomb: “Comrade Stalin, if Napoleon had possessed a fission weapon, I have little doubt that you and I and all of Europe would now be living under the French flag, eating croissants with every meal, and listing our addresses as but one of many far-flung arrondissements of the city of Paris.” The action rapidly unfolds, including a vast cast of meticulously researched historical characters. The plot’s greatest strength is its inventive revision of Nazi Gen. Erwin Rommel’s role in the war. For readers interested in the behind-the-scenes intrigue of WWII and particularly the dissent within Germany’s own ranks, this is a delightful read.

A historically faithful and ingeniously thrilling account of the last throes of the second world war.

Pub Date: June 9, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4701-7726-3

Page Count: 270

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller


Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.


High-stakes weepmeister Sparks (A Walk to Remember, 1999, etc.) opts for a happy ending his fourth time out. His writing has improved—though it's still the equivalent of paint-by-numbers—and he makes use this time of at least a vestige of credible psychology.

That vestige involves the deep dark secret—it has something to do with his father's death when son Taylor was nine—that haunts kind, good 36-year-old local contractor Taylor McAden and makes him withdraw from relationships whenever they start getting serious enough to maybe get permanent. He's done this twice before, and now he does it again with pretty and sweet single mother Denise Holton, age 29, who's moved from Atlanta to Taylor's town of Edenton, North Carolina, in order to devote her time more fully to training her four-year-old son Kyle to overcome the peculiar impediment he has that keeps him from achieving normal language acquisition. Okay? When Denise has a car accident in a bad storm, she's rescued by volunteer fireman Taylor—who also rescues little Kyle after he wanders away from his injured mom in the storm. Love blooms in the weeks that follow—until Taylor suddenly begins putting on the brakes. What is it that holds him back, when there just isn't any question but that he loves Denise and vice versa-not to mention that he's "great" with Kyle, just like a father? It will require a couple of near-death experiences (as fireman Taylor bravely risks his life to save others); emotional steadiness from the intelligent, good, true Denise; and the terrible death of a dear and devoted friend before Taylor will come to the point at last of confiding to Denise the terrible memory of how his father died—and the guilt that's been its legacy to Taylor. The psychological dam broken, love will at last be able to flow.

More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2000

ISBN: 0-446-52550-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

Did you like this book?