Deaver fans expect the unexpected from this prodigiously talented thriller writer, and the creator of the Lincoln Rhyme series and other memorable yarns (The Blue Nowhere, etc.) doesn't disappoint with his 19th novel, this time offering a deliciously twisty tale set in Nazi Berlin. The book's hero is a mob "button man," or hit man, Paul Schumann, who's nabbed in the act in New York City but given an alternative to the electric chair: to go to Berlin undercover as a journalist writing about the upcoming Olympics, in order to assassinate Col. Reinhard Ernst, the chief architect of Hitler's militarization, seen as a threat to American interests. A German spy onboard Paul's transatlantic liner grows suspicious and sends a warning to Germany before Paul discovers and kills him. Then in Berlin, Paul, en route to meet his contact, kills a second suspicious man who may be a storm trooper, setting Insp. Willi Kohl of the Berlin police, or Kripo, on his trail. Deaver weaves the three manhunts-Paul after his target, Kohl after Paul and the Nazi hierarchy after Paul-with a deft hand, bringing to frightening life the Berlin of 1936, a city on the brink of madness. Top Nazis, including Hitler, Himmler and Gering, make colorful cameos, but it's the smart, shaded-gray characterizations of the principals that anchor the exciting plot. An affecting love affair between Paul and his German landlady goes in surprising directions, as do the main plot lines, which move outside Berlin as heroes become villains and vice versa. This is prime Deaver, which means prime entertainment. Agent, Deborah Schneider. (July) Forecast: S&S is betting big on this title, with a 250,000 first printing. A 14-city author tour and Deaver's increasingly hot rep should ensure a solid sell-through. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Narrator Jefferson Mays's polished performance amplifies the suspense in both the abridged and unabridged versions of this historical thriller by the author of the popular Lincoln Rhyme series. Paul Schumann, a German American living in New York City in 1936, is a conscientious Mafia hit man known for agreeing to dispose of only the true dregs of society. When he is captured by the Feds, he is given an alternative to prison-travel to Berlin to assassinate Reinhardt Ernst, the man behind Nazi Germany's rearmament. Getting to know many of the locals while posing as a reporter covering the Olympics, Paul glimpses firsthand the horrors perpetrated by Hitler and his National Socialist Party. Finding himself the victim of a double-cross, Paul must choose between saving himself and completing his mission. While the abridgment includes most of the important plot lines in this fast-moving tale, the listener misses out on Deaver's poignant characterizations of the ordinary German citizens sickened at what their beloved country is becoming under Hitler. The unabridged program is recommended for all public libraries.-Beth Farrell, Portage Cty. Dist. Lib., OH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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 Kathe 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 geopoliticalmess into the traditional American values of cleverness, adaptability, and vigilante violence in the best of all possible causes. First printing of 250,000; author tour. Agent: Deborah Schneider/Gelfman Schneider