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Stettin Station (John Russell #3)

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  1,718 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews
In the fall of 1941, Anglo-American journalist John Russell is still living in Berlin, tied to the increasingly alien city by his love for two Berliners: his fourteen-year-old son, Paul, and his longtimegirlfriend, Effi. Forced to work for both German and American Intelligence, he's searching for a way out of Germany. Can he escape and take Effi with him?
Kindle Edition
Published (first published September 1st 2009)
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Aug 19, 2015 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s now 1941 in this series & set a few weeks before Pearl Harbour & America’s belated entry (again) into another world war. A lot of the book is dedicated to the effect of the war on the Eastern Front on ordinary Germans in Berlin & the author paints a vivid picture of this. We also experience the start of the removal of the German jews as part of the “resettlement program” in the east & its quite harrowing as you experience this through a family close to the hero who can’t bel ...more
I must say I have enjoyed this series (which I recommend reading in order) so far. This is the third and continues an examination of Germany during World War II as seen through the eyes of Russell, an American journalist, who is tied to Germany by his girlfriend, Effie, and his German-born son.

You get a real sense of the claustrophobia people must felt as they became hemmed in by bombing and the repressiveness of the regime, constantly having to watch what you say, who you say it to, and who mi
Nov 17, 2013 Garry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For those looking for a detailed and evocative description of wartime Berlin, it would be hard to find a better way of getting insight into this time and period.

For those looking for a tight and taut plot that propells the narrative from beginning to end....not so much.

Given how carefully Downing catalogued every breakfast, lunch, dinner, break for tea, stop for cocktails, trip to a coffee shop and more it is not surprising that copious detail and attention are given the quality (poor) of the
Mar 19, 2014 Speesh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: second-world-war
It must be hard to write any kind of book, fiction or non fiction, set in or around Germany during the Second World War and not at some point come up against the situation of whether 'they’ knew about what was happening to the Jewish population. The ‘hero’ of David Downing’s wonderful ‘Station’ series (you really don’t have to read on any further now, do you? You can guess this is going to be (another) good review, eh?), John Russell has, as in the previous two books, both become aware of someth ...more
Jan 10, 2014 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jan Z
This is the 3rd installment of John Russell's ongoing struggles. In this story he finds himself in an increasingly complicated situation. "In reality he had done nothing to help Nazi Germany and several things to impede it, but the number of people who could actually testify to that fact were decidedly thin on the ground. If all of them dropped dead before the war's end he would have some difficult explaining to do."

The story begins in the fall of 1941 when the Nazis are apparently about to take
Rob Kitchin
Sep 13, 2013 Rob Kitchin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stettin Station is the third book in the John Russell and Effi Koenen series. The strengths of the tale are the characterisation, sense of atmosphere and place, and the historicisation. Russell and Koenen are well realised and rounded characters and they are accompanied by a broad spectrum of nicely penned others, including journalists, administrators, various forms of police, family, friends and other citizens. Downing manages to nicely blend the everyday realities and complexities of living in ...more
Oct 25, 2011 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Stettin Station” continues the story of John Russell, a British/American journalist living in Berlin during WWII. While the last three books focused more on espionage and Russell’s involvement with the Nazi’s, the Americans, and the Russians, this book focuses more on the personal life of Russell and the events and decisions he has to make in order to survive. Once again David Downing’s writing is excellent and he is able to create such incredible tension and anxiety about this period in histor ...more
It's rare I get frustrated when a book ends and I want *more* now but this series became so good and this book (which is the best so far, though Zoo and Silesian were excellent too) is so compelling and the characters' arc so interesting that I got upset when it ended, re-read it twice and the next book (hopefully tbp in 2010) Postdamer Station is an asap...
Downing continues this fascinating series. His writing about Berlin prior to WWII and its aftermath is heartbreaking, but he puts just enough romance and humor into the story to make it readable, even through the dark settings.
Francis Hardy
A two star review seems somewhat mean, I quite liked many aspects of the book but, going by the goodreads rating system, overall I thought it was ok. I feel like I should clarify that I really enjoyed the two previous books (especially the first which is superb), however, I felt that the plot let this instalment down somewhat.
WWII novel in Berlin
==A WW2 British-American journalist/spy thriller set in Berlin==
This is the third book in Downing’s wartime thrillers about British journalist/spy John Russell. I would recommend reading the first two books before this one since what happened before has a large bearing on what happens in the last quarter of this one. Having read first two, Zoo Station and Silesian Station, I was disappointed by the lack of intensity in the first half of Stettin Station but the last half more than makes up for la
James Kemp
Sep 04, 2014 James Kemp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the third of the series the focus widens to also include Effi Koenen, John Russell's film star girlfriend. She's been there in the first two as a strong supporting character, but she really comes into her own in this one.

This story starts in the Autumn of 1941 leading up to the entry of the Americans into the war. Having been largely left alone for a couple of years following the outbreak of the war by the Germans and the Soviets Russell has been working as a foreign correspondent for some A
Jim Angstadt
Sep 05, 2015 Jim Angstadt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is John Russell #3; I've read numbers 1, 2, and 5.
This one is set in Berlin just prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, 1941.

Russell is up to his usual tricks. He is trying to play the gap between spy factions that include the US, various factions within the Reich, and the underground resistance. His interaction with Effi, and his love for her, come through more strongly than previously.

In other notes, I've described this series as atmospheric. That continues here. Another s
Alison Hardtmann
Nov 22, 2016 Alison Hardtmann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-but-unowned
The sign of a good series is that a new reader can pick up the latest one and not feel lost, while the faithful reader is not bored with long descriptions of events he has already witnessed. Stettin Station by David Downing is the third in a series of four books (so far) and I found it excellent, despite having never read the previous books.

Historical fiction, and especially stories that take place in Hitler's Europe as this one does, often fall prey to several common pitfalls. One, the protagon
Sonya L Moore
I just finished this, the third, in the series and am really enjoying them. They are quick, easy reads and are well written. What I like most is that they are set in Germany during WWII and give me the citizen's view of the war.
From Publishers Weekly
"Fans of the intelligent WWII thrillers of Alan Furst and Philip Kerr should enjoy Downing's atmospheric and tension-filled third novel featuring Anglo-American journalist John Russell (after Silesian Station). By November 1941, Russell has decided
Jun 13, 2016 Tom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having now read five of the six, I have grown to love David Downing's John Russell/"Station" series, even more so than Alan Furst's pre-war European espionage tales. Downing has an encyclopedic knowledge of Berlin and the other locales in which the novels take place over abroad stretch of time (1939-1948), and his major and minor characters weave in and out of each of the novels in the series. His portrayal of political, military, social and environmental conditions in the pre-war, war and post- ...more
Robert Ronsson
Apr 28, 2014 Robert Ronsson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's number three and David Downing is into his stride. I gave three stars to the other two in the series and this one merits a four. We aren't subjected to as much regurgitated research as the earlier John Russell books and the number of meals we sit at table with John Russell for has diminished somewhat. Consequently, we have a tighter read with the tension ratcheting up as we approach the denouement. I'm a sucker for any tale that involves the adoption of false identities and I invested more ...more
Ginny Kavanagh
John Russell is an American journalist living in Berlin shortly before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He is divorced and in a relationship with a prominent German actress. Effi and John are doing their part to make life difficult for the Nazis. John is an unofficial agent for the U.S embassy, the Soviets, and the German Abwehr, often playing one or two against the other. John's German-born son lives with his mother and is a member of Hitler Youth. John knows he will have to get out of Berl ...more
Joe Stamber
Once again John Russell attempts to disentangle himself from a web of relationships with just about every other interested party in wartime Berlin. Downing creates a believable atmosphere of a Germany experiencing doubt for the first time as the advance into the East falters. The war is taking its toll and everyday necessities are becoming scarce, and Downing does a good job of getting this across. Like the previous entries in the series, Stettin Station is about Russell's relationships with the ...more
Mary Warnement
Given how long I took to read this, one would guess it wasn't a quick read or that I didn't like it. But there were the holidays and I travelled. Like his other books in the series, this one ends leaving one wanting to start the next immediately. I won't spoil anyone's pleasure and give away anything. I'm glad I'm not reading as these were published; I need not wait. I'll probably check the next one out of the library but wait a little. I have others on deck. I'm reading Larson's non-fiction abo ...more
Phyllis Gauker
Mar 08, 2014 Phyllis Gauker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my second David Downing novel in the WWII genre and it was just as exciting as had been the first, Zoo Station. I look forward to reading more of them. Maybe it's because I have also been an expatriot, but they really ring true to me. My experience was not in Germany, and certainly not during a war. I'm too young to remember all the deprivations of WWII, but do remember a little. My parents always stressed how lucky we were to be safe in the US with almost no threat of war on our soil. ...more
Sep 23, 2012 Scot rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this third book much better than the second in this series, all named for different U-Bahn stops in the Berlin transit system. It is 1941, and wartime rationing and bombings by the British are taking their toll on daily life and the spirit of the citizens of this major German city. How long will John Russell be able to play off against each other the various governments and agencies that employ him? As the Germans continue to advance against Moscow, rumors escalate about the likelihood o ...more
Gareth Evans
Jun 25, 2012 Gareth Evans rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This the 3rd book in the 'station' series by David Downing. To my mind it's the best of the series so far. Like the other novels, there is much travelling around Betlin and further afield by public transport, some of the travel without a great deal of purpose. Nevertheless, it builds nicely - if not using all the elements - to a tense thriller. The setting of late 1941 gives the book some novelty, Berlin during the war is a much less frequently used as a location than in the immediate per-war. T ...more
Dec 31, 2012 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers, ebooks, fiction
A decent entry in the "Station" series, but much of it is largely indistinguishable from what's been offered in previous outings. In addition, there is very little in the way of significant plot development beyond slowly moving the protagonist and his long-time girlfriend toward the next big change in their lives, which occurs rather abruptly near the end of the book. Characterizations are good, however, and Downing does his usual good job with setting scenes and evoking war-torn Berlin, but for ...more
Jul 27, 2014 Kay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I debated giving this 5 stars not 4; it's an excellent book which describes some of the horrors of wartime Germany, including the personal horrors of individuals. The characters are very human - I won't give anything away but their guilt, sadness and anger at what happens is heartbreaking in places.
I didn't give the book the full 5 stars because the Kindle version I read was fairly badly edited, which spoilt the flow of the story. I was also a bit unsure of the way the narrative jumps between E
Christine Rebbert
Aug 25, 2010 Christine Rebbert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Book #3 in a series of novels about American journalist John Russell living in Berlin before, and now during, World War II. He's a spy/counter-spy so there's all that kind of story, but also his relationship with famous-actress Effi and his now-Hitler Youth son. Of course, it touches on real history, some of which seemed new to me, so I'm anxious for Milt to finish reading it so I can ask him if a couple things really were true (he's way more of a WWII expert than me). The conclusion was ...more
Jan 05, 2015 Corny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers
This is number three in the John Russell series set against the backdrop of wartime Berlin. Two years have passed since the last book and life in Berlin has become more perilous than ever, especially for Russell whose Resistance activities have involved him with German, American and Soviet authorities. By far the most suspenseful of these books to date, this one has some hairbreadth escapes and lots of thrills. I look forward to the next installment.
By the way these novels MUST be read in order
V Reader
Nov 01, 2012 V Reader rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very enjoyable series set in pre-war and wartime Berlin. The intricacies of plot, and atmosphere of pervasive intrigue and double-cross are always well done. Lead characters John Russell and Effi Koenen are intelligent but fallible; pitting their wits against the Nazi administration and war machine to give a very human picture of decent people trying to keep their eyes wide open and also get on with their lives in extraordinary and cruel times.
If you haven't read David Downing, start with Zoo
Feb 15, 2016 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the first three books in this series in quick succession and found Stettin Station the equal of the series opener Zoo Station, and better than the relatively weaker Silesian Station. This series isn't as good as Alan Furst's noirish and more artful books set in the same era, but they're fun and fast-paced nevertheless. I don't know whether it's an exaggeration of the historical truth, but I've found it interesting to read about the network of German communists who resist the Nazis and hel ...more
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David Downing is the author of a political thriller, two alternative histories and a number of books on military and political history and other subjects as diverse as Neil Young and Russian Football.
More about David Downing...

Other Books in the Series

John Russell (6 books)
  • Zoo Station (John Russell, #1)
  • Silesian Station (John Russell, #2)
  • Potsdam Station (John Russell, #4)
  • Lehrter Station (John Russell, #5)
  • Masaryk Station (John Russell, #6)

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