Heart of Lies: A Novelby M.L. Malcolm
Leo Hoffman was born with a gift for languages. When his dreams for the future are destroyed by World War I, the dashing young Hungarian attempts to use his rare talent to rebuild his life, only to find himself inadvertently embroiled in an international counterfeiting scheme. Suddenly Leo is wanted across the European continent for a host of crimes, including… See more details below
Leo Hoffman was born with a gift for languages. When his dreams for the future are destroyed by World War I, the dashing young Hungarian attempts to use his rare talent to rebuild his life, only to find himself inadvertently embroiled in an international counterfeiting scheme. Suddenly Leo is wanted across the European continent for a host of crimes, including murder. Left with no options, he must escape to Shanghai with his lover, carrying with him a stolen treasure that could be his salvation . . . or his death warrant. But the gangsters who control the decadent Asian city have no intention of letting him outrun his past. And when the Japanese invade, one wrong move could cost Leo Hoffman everything he holds dear.
An epic tale of intrigue, passion, and adventure, Heart of Lies heralds the arrival of a remarkable writer.
- HarperCollins Publishers
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- 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)
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Meet the Author
M. L. Malcolm has won several awards for short fiction, including recognition in the Lorian Hemingway International Short Story Competition, and a silver medal from ForeWord magazine for Historical Fiction Book of the Year. Malcolm has lived in Florida, Boston, Washington, D.C., France, New York, and Atlanta, and currently resides in Los Angeles.
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I enjoyed this book. The historical details are facinating, the settings range from Hungary to Paris to Munich to Shanghai during the time between the two World Wars. The intense love between two strangers so unexpected. Although the book jumps through time the story flows with a continuity that does not distract the reader but rather makes total sense. The manipulation of the main character by those who aren't honest provides excitement and intrigue to the story and a wonder at just how far he will go to make sure that the love of his life has a perfect life. The only problem I had with it was when it started to focus on Maddy's life rather than her father's. Although relevant it seemed to be an added appendage rather than a continuation of the original story. I read the book through in one sitting. I received this book free from Harper Collins as part of their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
"Heart of Lies" by M.L. Malcolm is the fictional tale of a family, inspired by the author's husband, which takes place after World War I until the early days of World War I. Leo Hoffman, ex Hungarian solider who fought for the losing side, has an ear for languages and ambition. However, Leo is tangling with the wrong people and is being forced by circumstances to leave Europe for the perceived safety of Shanghai. Shanghai is good to Leo, he becomes a wealthy man, meets the right type of people and marries Martha, the love of his life. However, the Japanese invasion puts and abrupt end to their fairytale life and Leo is forced to make some excruciating decisions. "Heart of Lies" by M.L. Malcolm is a well written novel, with interesting characters and a fast read. Ms. Malcolm certainly knows how to write exotic scenery and move a story forward. The international setting is exquisite, taking place mostly in Shanghai, the reader travels to Hungary, France and New York. While I did enjoy the book I felt that the mystery was one of the weakest points, as it is more a character study of a man trying to run away from his past. World War I and World War II are mentioned only in passing, but that's understandable as the book starts in the aftermath of the first war and end in the beginning of the second, while mostly taking place in the sanctuary of Shanghai. The book is supposed to be romantic, but I didn't find it so. While I did find the characters interesting, I didn't think they were well developed and fell somewhat flat. I wasn't sold on Leo and Martha's relationship - OK, she's beautiful and he's handsome - but there is more to a relationship than beauty or a damn good one night stand. That being said, the story did capture my attention and Ms. Malcolm writes in a style which is both well written and very easy to read. I have to commend Ms. Malcolm for trying to weave several different genres into one book - part historical fiction, part romance, part adventure and business intrigue. Maybe it didn't work as well as she hoped, but it is a great effort and an interesting read from that standpoint. My advantage of reading this book is that I already had the second one "Heart of Deception" on my shelf. So instead of reading it as a standalone novel, I knew there was more to come.
Chosen for my face to face book club and was given "a thumbs up" by all members. I enjoyed the historical aspects of the story and the locales: Hungary, Paris, Shanghai, and New York. Although I would have preferred more character development and depth, I would still give it 4 stars for a good read. I quite enjoy reading about the era between WWI and WWII Malcom gives us a different venue of this era. Entertaining and a quick read.
After his dreams for the future are destroyed by WWI, he attempts to use his talent to rebuild his life, only to find himself inadvertently embroiled in an international counterfeiting scheme. When he discovers he's wanted across the European continent for a host of crimes including murder, he escapes with his lover to Shanghai, taking with him a stolen treasure that will prove to be his salvation or his death warrant. But he soon learns that the gangsters who control the decadent city do not intend to let him outrun his past, and when the Japanese invade, one wrong move costs him everything he holds dear. (excerpt from back cover). My Review: This book is a blend of Bourne Supremacy meets Mission Impossible. The book starts off with his Leo Hoffman as he learns that his foster mother and her husband have been murdered due to their communist dealings. Leo had not involved himself in their plans and thus finds himself being warned by the Countess, who he shared a brief affair with that his life is in danger if he remains here. Since Leo is a man gifted in the ability to quickly learn new languages just by being around those that speak it, he is hired by a man named Bacso who finds a way to make Leo a rich man to use those languages to eavesdrop on a arms deal with several wealthy businessmen. Since Leo has lost everything, he agrees. Yet before the day of the meeting, he is asked by the Chief of Police in Budapest to purchase a diamond and emerald necklace for a wife of someone he is having an affair with. The Chief doesn't want his integrity and position compromised, and he tells Leo that he will make it difficult for him to leave the country if he doesn't help him out. Forced into this situation, he agrees and purchases the necklace. While Leo is out making the purchase he falls instantly in love with a lady in Paris named Martha Levy. She too, has the mutual feelings of love for Leo, the suave, handsome looking, charasmatic man she meets in a cafe. They spend the night in a Paris hotel and Leo proposes not being able to spend one more day without her. She agrees! The next day, he reads in the newspaper that a man has been arrested for using counterfeit money trying to cash a franc note. This is when Leo realizes that the money he has used will now indite him with the purchase of the necklace, the chief gave him. It was a set up. Now Leo leaves a note for Martha telling her he has to leave the country to go to Shanghai, but will be contacting her shortly and that his feelings for her have not changed. This is where the story begins its face pace adventure that lasts non stop til the last page. This book does have minor profanity, sexual content with several characters having illicit affairs but overall the book does a great job at keeping the story intact while meandering through the toughest of historical times leading up to WWII. I received the book, Heart of Lies, by M.L. Malcolm, compliments of TLC Book Tours for my humble review.
Hungarian Leo Hoffman has an innate ability to grasp languages rather quickly. He plans to use his skills, but his dreams of a better life ends temporarily he hopes as WWI flames across Europe with his homeland, the Austro-Hungarian Empire lined up on the side of Germany. By 1925 with the combat over for several years, Leo tries to start anew using his uncanny skills. However, bad luck shadows him when he gets unintentionally entangled in an international counterfeiting scheme. Before he can expedite himself from that mess, he becomes wanted across the continent for a myriad of other felons including murder. He flees with his beloved Martha, whom he fell in love with at first sight in Paris. Leo hopes they can escape Europe for Shanghai where he prays he can sell valuable stolen treasure, but even in the Chinese city, he finds people who want him dead. This is an exciting historical thriller starring a series of victims of people turning criminal to survive in the post war depression in East Europe. The story line is fast-paced as the linguistics expert lacks common sense. Although the key support cast is one dimensional never moving passed a singularity, readers will enjoy the twisting Heart of Lies as mid 1920s economically depressed Europe and to a lesser degree New York and Shanghai come vividly to life. Harriet Klausner