THE MAN ON THE TRAIN by W.J. Chaput

THE MAN ON THE TRAIN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Nazis in New England menace Winston Churchill on one of his visits to Franklin Roosevelt in this bleak but satisfying WW II debut thriller. It's the beginning of World War for America, but Frank Kemper at the end of his career. He's spent his adult life in Europe keeping an eye on things for the US Office of Naval Intelligence, and he's worn out. At 58, the survivor of a massive heart attack and a broken marriage, limping around on a wooden leg, Kemper is ordered to work for an obnoxious young FBI bully in an effort to clean out a pack of German saboteurs and spies in Vermont. It's all Kemper can do to make himself endure the Christmas holiday alone on the icy shores of Lake Champlain, but he finds himself more and more intrigued with the rocketing death rate among known German sympathizers in the area. Crypto-fascists are flying off speeding trains, burning up in boathouses, and succumbing to poisoned needles, and to Kemper's trained eye it's the work of the S.S. And Kemper's right. An S.S. assassin is busy rubbing out the old Abwehr spy network and setting up an attempt on the life of the British Prime Minister. But as Kemper narrows in on the agent, he trips over small-town and FBI politics so often and so rudely that he's pulled from the case just as Churchill's train is ready to roll through town. Rich wartime atmosphere, an unusual setting, and the broken but believable Frank Kemper lift this one above the pack of Nazis-afield adventures.

Pub Date: Dec. 15th, 1986
Publisher: St. Martin's