In the fifties, Harriet is working for the Smithsonian by taking down oral histories of veterans when she runs across Lowell. Turns out he's in the veIn the fifties, Harriet is working for the Smithsonian by taking down oral histories of veterans when she runs across Lowell. Turns out he's in the veterans' home under a false identity. Turns out he has a reason to be hiding. Turns out he has quite a story to tell.
But Lowell won't tell it all at once. He draws it out, making Harriet come back time and again just to get another part of it. She even takes him out to eat in nice restaurants on her own nickel. She's fascinated by his story and she's beginning to be fascinated with him.
Lowell's story starts before WWII, when he gets into the Navy and his senator stepfather gets him a White House aide billet. Lowell's all for it since he never wanted to be stuck on a ship anyway. In fact, Lowell starts off as a kind of playboy looking for an easy ride. But he's extremely personable and as the story unfolds, we find more facets of Lowell to like. I grew quite fond of him.
He (accidentally) gets in good with FDR and is sent to liaise with Churchill. He also hobnobs with FDR's confidant Harry Hopkins. Seems there was a conspiracy to let Pearl Harbor happen so that the country would back the US's entrance into the war and Lowell was, if not in the midst, certainly seeing it from the outskirts. When war starts, his knowledge is deemed too dangerous, and he's sent to some warzones where he's bound to get killed. Before the tale is over, he tangles with J. Edgar Hoover and a lot of other interesting characters.
I really liked this story, except for the rough transitions between Harriet's story and Lowell's retelling of his. It's irritating to try to figure out whether this paragraph is/isn't part of the preceding storyline.
This is another book about World War II. Set in France and Germany, it uses many viewpoints to tell the story of the blind heroine and a young GermanThis is another book about World War II. Set in France and Germany, it uses many viewpoints to tell the story of the blind heroine and a young German radioman.
Marie-Laure became blind at a young age. Her father teaches the motherless girl how to make her own way around Paris by building her a miniature city. By the time WWII begins, she is comfortable going around the streets and the art gallery where he works. Then her father agrees to help smuggle the museum's prize gem, the Sea of Flames, out of Paris. There are four smugglers. Three will have copies, one the real diamond. With no idea which he holds, he and Marie-Laure flee to St. Malo.
Then her father is recalled and disappears. Marie-Laure is left with her great-uncle, his housekeeper active in the Resistance, and a miniature version of St. Malo to guide her.
In Germany, Werner, a young orphan, falls in love with radios. He grows to understand them in a way that gets him into a special program for gifted Aryans. Later, his knowledge of how to repair, build, and find radios gets him out of the program. He's sixteen, but they claim his birth certificate is wrong, that he's really eighteen. They send him to the front where his skills are needed.
There, Werner works to pinpoint resistance radios and learns the real cost of war.
For most of the story, Marie-Laure and Werner lead separate lives, but the reader knows all along their meeting is destined. And when they do meet, the satisfaction that it happens almost makes up for the disappointment later.
This is a noir novel about an American reporter, Jake, who, during WWII, gets out of Germany just in time. When the war (against Germany) is over, heThis is a noir novel about an American reporter, Jake, who, during WWII, gets out of Germany just in time. When the war (against Germany) is over, he returns to Berlin to cover the talks between Truman, Churchill and Stalin. But he is really searching for his lover, a German woman he left behind.
He finds her, ill and near death. But that isn't the real story. As he's covering the conference, a dead soldier is pulled from the water. An American who'd been on the plane with Jake and who now has a bullet hole through his head. Everyone--Russians and Americans--tries to cover up the murder, but Jake won't let it go. With the help of a German ex-policeman who has his own horrible war story, he follows up clue after clue, trying to figure out what happened and why the soldier is dead.
As Jake picks his way through the shattered city, his memories of the way it was before the war show us the toll of the Allies' bombardment. All the way through, he constantly compares and contrasts streets, cities, vistas, people.
In the end, he finds out what's going on. And we are drawn to mourn the damage one warped dictator can wreak against an entire race and an entire country.
I really like Dorsey's sociopath, serial killer hero Serge. He always makes me laugh. This story is no different.
He and his sidekick Coleman are prepaI really like Dorsey's sociopath, serial killer hero Serge. He always makes me laugh. This story is no different.
He and his sidekick Coleman are preparing for the holiday season, dressed up in elf costumes. The idea is that since crooks are blending in with the crowds to pick out victims, Serge and Coleman will blend in to pick out the crooks. And it works!
Then, meeting up with an old friend (???), Serge decides he wants to be normal like Jim. This entails renting a house across from Jim and spying on him so he can trot over in time for dinner. Of course, he brings his and Coleman's share: leftovers from KFC.
For some strange reason, Jim's wife doesn't like Serge and Coleman and things kind of go downhill quickly.
As always, the bad guys are taken care of (in unusual fashions that fit the crimes) and Serge and Coleman emerge victorious.