"I was very pleasantly surprised by this mystery/ thriller. I rarely give 5 - star ratings to mystery/ thrillers, but this was an such an engrossing story. It's my first book by David Downing, the first in his John Russell series. Russell is a British reporter living in Berlin just before WWII as the Nazis are consolidating power in the country and beginning to make waves in the world. He's a bit of a cynic, reporting on small items, making ends meet, living with his girl friend, German actress, Effi and spending time with his German son, Paul on weekends. While in Danzig gathering information for a news article, he meets a Russian spy who offers to pay him well to write a series of stories on Germany, a comparison between Communism and Socialism (and maybe also provide the Soviets with information useful to them). Russell is also given a job teaching a Jewish family English, a family who are trying to gain exit visas from Germany (as are countless other Jews at that time). Russell finds himself becoming more and more involved in issues, trying to help the Jewish family, trying to avoid the Gestapo, and so on. It's a very well-written story and the development of Russell's character is carefully and well-crafted. I liked many of the characters; I think I've got a bit of a crush on Effi. The story builds tension excellently, the story keeps you deeply engrossed. All in all, I'm glad I discovered this and look forward to continuing to see how Russell manages to survive in Nazi Germany as war becomes more and more of a given and also to see what other situations he will find himself in. Excellent!!"
I've also completed Crash by JG Ballard, a strange SciFi book about people who become obsessed with car crashes as a sexual stimulant (sort of). Very weird, but engrossing. I just completed The Merchant's House, the first Wesley Peterson mystery by Kate Ellis and I enjoyed it very much. An interesting concept, throwing in an archaeological element as well as a child disappearance and a murder. Are they related? You'll have to read. Finally, I finally read The Moonstone, described as the first detective novel. It's my first classic read of the year and I found it both accessible and also interesting. I enjoyed how the story progressed; with different characters taking up the story and describing their part in the mystery. Excellent read and I'm glad I finally read a Wilkie Collins story.
I bought a few books today at Nearly New Books and last week, scored one at Second Page Books in Courtenay. These are the new additions to my book shelves.
So there you go, another update. I can't wait to start some of these new books!