Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Sound Of Breaking Glass by Deborah Crombie

In this fifteenth novel about London detectives Gemma and Duncan Kincaid, the couple's lives have changed.  They are foster parents now to three year old Charlotte and Duncan has taken leave from work to stay at home with her.  Gemma has gotten a promotion and is eager to show her expertise in her first assigned case.

Someone is killing barristers.  Two men have been found killed, each bound naked and strangled.  There seems to be little that connects the men.  Victor Arnott was an older man, sixtyish, powerful and at the top of his career.  He made a habit of picking up women in bars and taking them to a seedy hotel nearby.  Shaun Francis was a young barrister just starting out and feeling his way in his profession.  There seems to be no connection between the two men except that no one seemed to like them much, and they both lived in the same part of town, near the Crystal Palace of historical importance.

As Gemma delves into their lives, connections start to appear.  Both seemed to have been involved with a young guitarist who is about to make a breakthrough in his career.  Andy also comes from the neighborhood and has connections with both men.  Could he be involved?  Gemma's new detective sergeant, Melody Talbot, hopes that this is not so, as she has felt an instant connection with Andy.  Andy's manager is a man both Gemma and Duncan know.  Should Gemma continue to work the case when she and her team have personal connections to the participants?  If she does, can they solve the case before more men are killed?

Fans of Deborah Crumbie's Kincaid series will welcome this new chapter in the series.  Crumbie mixes the details of a police investigation with just enough information about the personal lives of the police investigating it to draw the reader in and make them feel as if they are revisiting old friends.  The story is satisfactorily complex and the personal relationships move the plot along as the line between work and home responsibilities is finely drawn.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Mongoliad, Book Two by Neal Stephenson and others

In this second book of the trilogy, those banded together against the Mongols continue to make plans to overthrow the invaders by assassinating the Khan, Ogedei.  The main group in those banded together against the Khan are the Shield-Brethren who have vowed their mission to defeat the Khan even at the cost of their lives.

As before, there are multiple threads that move the novel along.  Some of the Brethren have been taken hostage and are forced to do battle for entertainment in the Khan's Circus of Swords.  Between fights, they recruit others who have also been forced into this slavery as gladiators for the pleasure of their captors.  Father Rodrigo has received a vision and has made his way to Rome to deliver the message he believes he has been entrusted with.  He arrives as the current Pope has died, and becomes mired in the struggle between the various Cardinal enclaves as they fight to have their own candidate declared the next Pope.  Lian, the beautiful Chinese slave who is teaching Gansukh the ways of the Khan's court, has determined to try to escape.  Gansukh is torn between his mission to help the Khan and his love of Lian.

As the story advances, some characters die  and others join the group.  The reader needs to be vigilant to keep all the characters in order.  Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey, E.D. de Birmingham and Cooper Moo have created an intricate fantasy that leaves the reader eager to continue the story in Book Three.  This book is recommended for fantasy readers.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Dinner by Herman Koch

Two Dutch couples meet for dinner.  Serge and Paul are brothers; their wives Babette and Claire sisters-in-law.  But these are not close brothers.  These are brothers for whom sibling rivalry has defined their lives, and Serge is definitely the winner.  Serge is in the race to become the next Prime Minister and is expected to win, while Paul has been unemployed for nine years.  Everything about Serge sets Paul's teeth on edge.

The two couples each have a fifteen year old son who are cousins and close friends.  Serge and Babette also have a daughter and an adopted child from another country.  The purpose of the dinner is to discuss the sons.  They have committed an act that has the potential to ruin not only their own lives, but those of the parents.  How far will these four adults go to shield their sons from the consequences of their actions?

Herman Koch has written a compelling suspense novel.  The reader will not soon forget the narrator, Paul.  As the story begins he seems like the guy next door, although a bit supercilious about his brother and quicker than most to take offense.  As the book progresses, the secrets in each family are slowly revealed, pulling each family unwittingly down a path from which they cannot return.  This book is recommended for suspense readers and those interested in familial relationships.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie

On February 14, 1989, Salman Rushdie, one of the era's preeminent novelists, awoke to find that he had been sentenced to death.  Not by a court of law after a long trial of evidence for some heinous crime.  Not by a doctor who after exhaustive tests had determined that he had a fatal disease.  No.  Rushdie had been put under a fatwa by radical Islamic extremists who objected to his latest novel, The Satanic Verses.  Most had not read it, but decided that it was blasphemous and that he must die for his ideas.  For the next thirteen years, Rushdie was a marked man who had to live under the strictest security imaginable.

Joseph Anton is Rushdie's memoir of this time in his life.  Joseph Anton was the pseudonym he chose, Joseph for Joseph Conrad and Anton for Anton Chekhov.  For thirteen years, this was his name as he lived undercover.  He was moved from location to location, rarely having the luxury of being in the same place for more than a few months.  Airlines refused to fly him and countries refused to let him enter due to the security issues.  He had four policeman who lived with him for those years.  Imagine how this works.  You are trying to live a family life but there are four strangers always there.  Strangers who decide what you will be allowed to do.  You can't go to your child's school functions, and there are whole months that you can't even see your child.  You can't decide to walk down to the corner store or go see friends.  You can't even go outside to check your mail. 

During this time, life did go on after a fashion.  Friends came and went.  Children were born and they grew, knowing only the reality of a restricted life and the constant fear that their parent would not be there tomorrow.  Marriages were made and broken; a constant wonder about whether love would have lasted without the artificial restraints it was lived under.  Governments showed courage at times, but often only political expediency, and the constant recalculation of whether standing up to the terrorists was a smart political move.

Salman Rushdie has long been one of my favorite authors so I knew I would like this book.  The writing is superb as he takes the reader through the long years of disenfranchisement and constraints.  The issue about whether freedom of ideas and speech is indeed an issue we are willing to protect is paramount.  Does one stand up for that right knowing that death may be the result, or cave in to those who would take it from you?  While Salman survived, there were those who didn't; translators and editors who were targeted and killed, rioters who lost their lives.  Can a society give in to the fear that a dedicated group of extremists is willing to die to defeat?  All these are important questions, and Rushdie's book gives the reader the ability to frame the discussion and make a decision. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Friendfluence by Carlin Flora

In Friendfluence, author Carlin Flora does an exhaustive survey of the literature and research surrounding friendship.  She discusses the desire for friends that we all are born with, and how our friends allow us to develop our personalities fully, providing support for our hopes and desires.  She goes back to the roots of friendship, talking about the research on how children find and make friends as small children, and how their success or failure impacts their later life and even their career and marriage successes.  She then moves on to the teen years, when friends are the most important influence in an individual's life, as they move to create themselves as individuals outside of their nuclear family structure.

There are many types of friends and friendships.  The work friendship is different from that of two people who share a common interest.  There are friends who have influence for good in our lives, and there are friends who impact us in a negative way.  Flora talks about how to disengage from a negative friendship, which is a skill set many of us are not familiar with.  She also discusses the difference in male-male friendships, as opposed to male-female friendships, and how those differ from love relationships. 

In an interesting chapter, the author discusses the way that virtual friendships are dominant in many people's lives, and how these friendships can fill voids when no one in the everyday routine meets the specific needs of an individual.  The pitfalls of this type of friendship is also covered, along with the research on whether the new paradigm of online time changes the core relationships an individual might have.

While exhaustive, the book does not read like a textbook.  Rather, the author has written in an engaging style, and includes many examples that illustrate points in a manner that is familiar to the reader.  The reader will finish the book both validated in their own friendships and with ideas how to extend and expand their friendship circle.  This book is recommended for many types of readers; parents struggling to help their children establish friendships, those interested in the role friendship plays in our lives, and those with friendship issues they need to resolve.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Rally 'Round The Corpse by Hy Conrad

Amy has started a new travel agency, and has had a wonderful idea.  Instead of the traditional European tour, she has contracted with a mystery writer to offer a tour based around solving a mystery.  Not sure if it would be popular, she was pleased to see the tour sell out. 

As the tour progresses, Amy starts to see issues.  Shepherding twenty-four strangers from place to place is more difficult than she thought, with conflicting personalities and lots of demands.  Amy gets a call from her mother back home who shares the news that the writer of the mystery has been murdered; not a auspicious start.  It also becomes apparent as the days go by that instead of creating a new mystery the writer appropriated the details of an unsolved murder he had heard about.  Even worse, there are members on the mystery tour who were involved in that unsolved murder.

Still, the tour ends in Rome on time, and the winners are chosen.  Everyone seems to have had a grand time until one of the participants is killed at the celebration dinner.  Who could have done this and what was their motive?  Was it dislike generated during the tour or did it hark back to the original murder?  Can Amy and the mystery tour participants solve the murder before the Italian police can?

Hy Conrad was the writer and producer of Monk, the TV show built around the quirks of an intelligent detective unsuited for everyday life by his obsessions.  Fans of the show will love the book as it has much of the same charm.  Those unfamiliar will also enjoy the book as it is offbeat enough to be interesting but the pacing and plot are professionally done.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Stone Maidens by Lloyd Devereux Richards

Young girls are disappearing in the Midwest.  When found weeks or months later, their bodies show that their killer has removed all their internal organs and left them hollowed out.  Except for one thing.  The killer has inserted a carved stone figurine in their throats.

FBI Special Agent Christine Prusik is heading up the investigation into these serial murders.  A forensic anthropologist, her ability to make the most minute evidence speak has propelled her to the forefront in the agency.  But this case, her first as a lead investigator, has her confused and uneasy.  The method of the killings seems to mimic that of native New Guineans; a remote tribe that practiced cannibalism.  This tribe was the focus of Prusik's doctoral dissertation years ago, and she barely escaped with her life.  How can murders in Indiana mimic cases in New Guinea, which are known only to a few people?

The case progresses, and a suspect is identified.  His actions seem to shout guilt, yet Christine is unsure that he is the correct suspect.  The forensic evidence doesn't support the circumstantial evidence that has led to his arrest.  Has the Bureau made a mistake, or has Christine's past clouded her vision?  Can she unravel the clues to explain the mystery before another girl goes missing?

Lloyd Devereux Richards has written a fascinating debut thriller.  His background as a law clerk in the Indiana Court of Appeals, is clearly demonstrated by the inside knowledge of murder cases and the investigative process found in the novel.  The question of genetic inevitability is raised and left to the reader to decide.  The pace is fast enough to be compelling, and the reader will turn the last page with a racing pulse.

Life Among Giants by Bill Roorbach

Lizard Hochmeyer is a giant.  Not literally, but he is 6'8" tall and the star quarterback of his high school football team.  He is taller than those around him.  But Lizard also has a giant heart.  His concern for others, especially his family, takes him on a tailspin that starts his senior year and is finally resolved decades later.

Lizard's parents are mysteries to him, as parents mostly are to their children.  His mother comes from money but in the Midwest.  She marries Lizard's dad who she sees as glamorous, since he comes from the East.  Unfortunately, he is a charismatic guy who cuts corners and makes his way through life more on charm than skill.  Their marriage is rocky, two disparate individuals who share nothing in common but the kids and an undying lust for each other. 

As are his parents, Lizard can't figure out his sister, Kate.  She is gorgeous, bright and full of secrets.  As the book starts, she has gone to Yale.  Then there are the neighbors.  Not your ordinary country club couple, although there are plenty of those folks in town.  No, the neighbors in this case are one of the world's power couples.  Dabney is a major rock star, one whose every action is followed by the press.  His wife is Sylphide, a ballerina considered to be the world's best talent.  Their house is shrouded in more mysteries.  Ordinarily the two families' paths would never cross, but Dabney and Sylphide have a son, Linsay, who needs constant care, and they hire Kate to be one of his main caretakers.  Soon Kate is full of new secrets she learns at the house of Dabney and Sylphide.

Tragedy strikes.  Lizard's dad is arrested, part of a major financial scandal.  He agrees to turn state's evidence.  The family gathers for a final luncheon before he enters protective custody, and in front of Lizard and Kate, the parents are gunned down. 

Years pass.  Lizard becomes the star quarterback at Princeton and later has a mediocre career in the NFL.  He can't move past that senior year.  He and Kate are consumed with the desire to discover what went on and who killed their parents.  Over the years, Lizard has met and become entangled with Sylphide, and he tries to push through the concealments and secrets there to determine if she is involved in his parent's death, as Kate believes.  He can't move into a love of his own as Sylphide comes and goes in his live, picking him up occasionally for a few weeks, then jetting off to do whatever she wants to do.

Bill Roorbach has written a fascinating novel, full of intrigue and vividly drawn characters.  Readers will retain memories of Lizard long after the last page is turned.  The book deftly draws the line between the falseness and damage of secrets held, sometimes for decades, and the clarity found when the truth is known.  This book is recommended for readers of family conflict and any reader looking for a wonderful novel to get lost in.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Big Exit by David Carnoy

Richie Forman is slowly putting his life back together.  He spent years in prison after being convicted of vehicular manslaughter.  In a messy case that made the headlines, Richie's car hit another on his way home from his bachelor party and killed the other driver.  Richie acknowledges he had been drinking, but doesn't remember driving.  Was he the driver as the evidence says, or did his best friend, Mark McGregor,  swap places with him after the wreck when he saw that Richie was passed out?  The possible betrayal goes even deeper when Richie finds out that Mark used the time of Richie's sentence to woo and marry Richie's ex-fiance, Beth.

Whatever happened is now in the past, Richie thinks.  He is out, making a living with his singing at night, and starting a new job at a law firm set up to exonerate those falsely convicted.  His life is starting to come together again.  All that changes when Mark is found hacked to death in his garage.  Beth came home and found him.  Is she the main suspect or is Richie the obvious candidate with his bitterness about Mark's actions? 

The evidence linking Richie to the murder starts to pile up.  One of the main detectives in his first case, Hank Madden, seems convinced that Richie is the culprit.  Beth has hired a lawyer, and it turns out to be the prosecutor who tried and convicted Forman.  Is history repeating itself?

David Carnoy has written a fresh, interesting mystery.  The characters are engaging, and the book's pace is such that the reader is drawn along.  The plot is intricate, and the police procedures are satisfactorily researched rather than being unrealistic as is often the case with mysteries.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.  They will turn the last page satisfied and ready for another Carnoy novel.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Blood Innocents by Thomas H. Cook

Detective John Reardon can't believe this is the case he's been assigned.  Two fallow deer have been killed in the Central Park Zoo, and since they were donated by one of the wealthiest, most influential men in the city, it's a top priority case.  Although he doesn't agree, Reardon treats the case with the same doggedness and integrity he has given all his cases over his career.

The scene is similar to a butcher house.  One deer has been hacked to death by fifty-seven blows with something such as a hachet or axe.  The other deer was killed by one blow.  There is a two written in blood at the scene.  Why the savagery of one death and the relative ease of the other?  Was this targeted at the deer themselves or at the wealthy donor?  Who would be willing to kill with such a savage nature?

The stakes are soon raised.  A day later, two career women, roommates, are killed.  Their deaths seem to mimic that of the deer.  One woman is killed with one blow while her friend is hacked to death with fifty-seven blows.  This time the word Dos is written in blood.

Surely the two cases must be related.  As Reardon follows the trail of clues, the political pressure mounts.  The case must be solved quickly, and sure enough, soon a suspect is arrested.  There is evidence against him, and everyone is quick to congratulate themselves on a case solved.  But Reardon doesn't believe the suspect is guilty.  His investigation is leading to a different suspect, but can he fight the administration that is desperate to close the case?

This is Thomas H. Cook's first novel.  Mystery fans know him as one of the masters of the genre, and the features that make him a first-rate author are easily found in this early effort.  The plot twists and turns, and there are psychological issues that must be resolved.  This is a very satisfactory start to a stellar career.  This book is recommended for readers who enjoy mysteries and suspense.

Friday, January 11, 2013

French Illusions by Linda Kovic-Skow

When Linda Kovic-Skow was turned down for a job as a flight attendant on an international airline due to not speaking another language, she came up with a plan.  She would move to France by advertising her services as an au pair, and learn French by immersion.  She put the plan into action and quickly found a job.  There was one catch; the family wanted an au pair already fluent in French.

Desperate to get to France, Linda let the family believe she met their criteria.  Thus, her first experience meeting the family was a confession that she had come to France under false pretenses.  The family was not happy, but agreed to let her stay.  It was a wealthy family, living in a large castle-like home.  There was a young girl and a boy, and the mother delivered a baby girl shortly after Linda started with them.

Things did not go as well as she had hoped.  While Linda was willing to do whatever was needed, the mother in the family quickly stepped over the line.  She started assigning Linda tasks that were not in the au pair job description, and often had her working at household tasks for up to twelve hours a day.  While she got along well with the son, the daughter was haughty and refused to follow Linda's directions.

Things were not all bleak.  Linda went several times a week to a nearby town where she started college classes as another way to learn French.  She met some fellow students, and then Adam, who was a gorgeous man who also seemed interested in her.  These weekly classes quickly became her escape from drudgery.

Things went from bad to worse with the mother starting to make demands on Linda's limited free time and making comments about her sexual nature.  When things got to the absolute limit, Linda knew she had to make a change.  Could she change her relationship with her family or would she have to find another way to extend her journey abroad?

Kovic-Skow has written an entertaining memoir of her time in France.  It is full of her adventurous nature and the pitfalls that a young person alone in a foreign country can encounter.  This book is recommended for readers who enjoy travel writing and those who like memoirs.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

As It Is On Earth by Peter M. Wheelwright

Peter Wheelwright has written a wonderful debut novel.  As It Is On Earth follows the stories of a New England family with roots going back to colonial times, and even further through some Native American blood.  Taylor Thatcher is the protagonist and has lost his way.  He is teaching but feeling out of touch; he has lost his love due to his inability to share his feelings, and he is worried about his brother Bingham. 

While Taylor lives in the theoretical world, Bin, as he is known, is his opposite.  He is a prosaic scientist, interested in the relics of the natural world that tell us of our place here on Earth.  Bin and Taylor are half-brothers and cousins.  Their father married twin sisters, each of whom died very young after having a son.  The two boys were raised by a nurse/housekeeper named Esther.  Esther was a strong woman who came to New England from her Louisiana upbringing to escape a violent husband.

Now the boys are grown, and Taylor believes that Bin has lost his way.  He thought Bin was set up on the family farm with a strong love with the girl next door, but Bin has unexpectedly left that life.  He shows up in the town where Taylor is teaching and is showing signs of strain, such as sleeping on the fire escape.  Taylor decides that it is his mission to make Bin's life better and he believes that he has the solution.  He has met a woman photographer, Miryam, who he believes can solve all of Bin's issues.

The novel explores the role of family, and how tangled familial relationships can affect all parts of one's life.  Taylor cannot move forward in his own life until he resolves the role that family secrets from his childhood have had on his adult life.  Wheelwright has created a strong character who seems lost but his love for others is the strength that will save him.  This book is recommended for readers interested in books about how families make us who we are as adults, and those interested in how individuals can get unstuck in their lives when they aren't making progress.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

It is 2044, and Earth is not a place most people enjoy living.  Due to over consumption, energy is massively expensive so most do not travel.  Living quarters are cramped with multiple people sharing houses.  Jobs are scarce and most people just live off the grid. 

But there is one thing that makes life worth living.  OASIS.  OASIS is the next generation Internet, and gives everyone the ability to live in a totally virtual world where they can be anywhere as anyone, anytime.  OASIS is the brainchild of James Halliday, and he became so rich that he made sure it would be free for everyone.  When Halliday died, he left his entire mega-fortune to whomever could solve a series of riddles he had concocted around his fascinations; coding, video games and the cultural icons of the 1980s.

Wade Watts is one of the people who lives virtually.  The virtual world is so much better than his reality where he shares a trailer with 18 other people when his aunt lets him in the door.  Socially inept, his only social contacts are in the virtual world, where he attends school and has become known for his gaming knowledge. 

After five years of frantic searching for the answers to Halliday's riddles, the search has died down.  That all changes when Watts figures out the answer to the first riddle and becomes an instant celebrity.  He becomes friends with those who also figure out the riddle, and they all fight against a huge corporation whose only purpose is to solve the riddles, gain Halliday's fortune and take over the OASIS as a moneymaking venture, ending life as it is now.  Can the group of underdog friends use their knowledge and skills to outsmart the minions of the corporation?

Cline has written a wonderful novel.  The pace is fast, the plot satisfactorily twisted.  The real draw, though, is to those interested in technology, fantasy and gaming.  The book will remind all computer nerds (like me!) why they fell in love with technology and remind them of the mindless obsession that can keep one up all night getting to a new level or solving a technical issue.  This book is recommended for anyone interesting in a fast-paced quest with a satisfying resolution.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Dinner At Deadman's by C.J. West

Lorado Martin isn't your average guy.  At over three hundred pounds, he makes a living not at some company job but at doing the things he loves.  Renovating foreclosures for affordable housing for those down on their luck.  Renting apartments to drug addicts trying to reclaim their lives.  And his biggest love, closing out estates and getting to find the treasures left behind.

Lorado is on his latest estate, a Mrs. Newbury.  He had met her six months before since she was the grandmother of one of his workers.  Newb was one of the drug addicts that Martin tried to help; he paid him ten dollars an hour to help with the construction and hauling his activities entailed.  Mrs. Newbury had just died and Martin is there to clear out the house and get it ready for an estate sale.  Staying overnight to continue his work, he becomes violently ill.  So ill that when his wife discovers him the next morning, she has to call an ambulance.  The verdict?  Lorado has been poisoned. 

Lorado is sure someone is trying to kill him.  Too many things are happening.  Like a brick thrown through his windows.  Like his son getting beat up on his way home from school.  Like having thousands of dollars of copper and wiring stolen from his latest big renovation project.  The question is who would want to kill him?  Some addict he had refused to help?  A dealer mad about Lorado's interventions? 

But things get even more complicated as he realises that the real motive may be more sinister.  He starts to realise that Mrs. Newbury's death might not have been natural but that she might have been murdered.  If so, there is a real motive for someone to get Lorado out of the way before he can discover their identity.  Can he find the killer before the killer gets to him?

C.J. West has created an outsize, interesting character in Lorenzo Martin.  Lorenzo is a mass of contradictions.  He spends his days working to house and feed those down on their luck, but resents the entitlements those same people feel they are owned by everyone else.  He works hard and plays hard.  His love of finding treasure among junk will ring a bell with those interested in TV shows such as American Pickers and Storage Wars.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Istanbul Passage by Joseph Kanon


The year is 1945, the place Istanbul.  Leon Bauer is marking time in the city.  He works for an American tobacco company and would have gone home before now but his wife is confined to a clinic; she has been in a coma like state for many years as a result of a bad experience trying to save people on a boat that sank.  Leon is at odds in his life, drifting as he waits to see if Anna will make it back to health, bored and ready for something more exciting.

That chance comes when a friend of his, Tommy, who works at the American consulate, asks Leon to get involved in the periphery of some clandestine activities.  Leon is Tommy's help in getting people across borders at times, an exciting job that enlivens his boring existence.  Everything changes one night when Tommy is killed as he and Leon bring in another exile.  This man is someone that everyone is desperate to get.  The Americans want him for his knowledge of the Germans, as do the Russians.  The Turkish embassy wants him to sell him to the highest bidder.

Leon manages to get Alexei into hiding and then, as he tries to plan an escape, finds out why Alexei is so important to so many.  He was a Nazi actively involved in the Jewish massacres; now there are many who are ready to get revenge.  Leon wonders what is the ethical way to choose when the only options are bad choices?  Should he try to get Alexei out of Istanbul, knowing that he is saving an evil man?  Should he do nothing and allow Alexei to be captured, knowing that he has basically agreed to Alexei's murder?

Adding to Leon's confusion is a new relationship.  Kay is the wife of another embassy employee, a man Leon has worked with over the years and who is trying to recruit him to fill Tommy's position.  When Kay comes to town by herself, she and Leon fall into a relationship, full of sexual tension and the knowledge of betrayal of bonds.

Joseph Kanon has written a fast-paced thriller heavy with the mystique of Istanbul, the cross-currents of conflicting loyalties and actions that have far-reaching consequences.  Nothing is as it seems on the surface; there are hidden motives that remain hidden until the last minute.  The plot twists and turns, showing all sides of Leon's actions and the compulsion that moves him forward to a startling climax.  This book is recommended for lovers of historical fiction and the spy genre.