Eric Ambler has chosen "an everyman" to be the protagonist of this suspenseful novel. Graham is a nice, quiet, intelligent armaments engineer from norEric Ambler has chosen "an everyman" to be the protagonist of this suspenseful novel. Graham is a nice, quiet, intelligent armaments engineer from northern England who has just finished a long business trip advising the Turkish navy. He goes back to his hotel room in Istanbul and is surprised by a man who shoots several times before disappearing out the window. Fortunately, he is not seriously hurt. Graham thinks the intruder might be a thief, but Turkish intelligence tells him that the Nazis are trying to kill him. It's just at the start of World War II, and the Germans do not want Graham to bring the classified armaments information that he has memorized back to his English employer. His travel plans back to England are changed, and he sets off on an Italian freighter. A small group of international passengers is on the boat. During the voyage, we are in Graham's mind as he tries to determine who he can trust. The tension and fear increase as the voyage continues, and the true identities of the passengers are revealed. Graham's fear intensifies as he is put in a no-win situation where his survival hangs by a thread.
One of the passengers on the boat is a leftist Frenchman who thought that wars were created by international bankers and armaments manufacturers who would profit from the conflicts. Ambler was known for his leftist views, especially in his early works prior to World War II. Another passenger is a Serbian nightclub dancer who remembers the atrocities of World War I and will not associate with the Turkish passenger. A French couple will not sit at the same table as a German archeologist as a political statement. Although the book is mainly an entertaining international psychological thriller, it is interesting to read the political messages too. When the book was published in 1940, at the advent of World War II, the author did not know exactly which countries would be allies, or the outcome of the war.
Eric Ambler is known to have been an influence on authors Graham Greene and John LeCarre, as well as filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock.
Thanks to my GR friend Judy for suggesting this book....more
The Lost Concerto combines suspense, romance, and international political intrigue with a musical thread running through the story. Sofia and her sonThe Lost Concerto combines suspense, romance, and international political intrigue with a musical thread running through the story. Sofia and her son flee from her husband to a convent off the coast of France, but a hired killer follows her. American Maggie O'Shea is grieving the death of her husband, an investigative reporter. She's in a dark place and has given up her career as a classical pianist. A CIA agent brings Maggie a CD and a recent photograph of her first love, a pianist that went missing after an explosion in Beirut thirty years ago. He asks her to come to France to help find Sofia's son and Maggie's first love. As the story unfolds, Maggie finds that Sofia's husband is a wealthy, dangerous man who is much more than a collector of art and rare musical manuscripts.
The wonderful French setting and the musical thread separate this book from a run of the mill mystery. There were a few times when I wondered how the intelligent, independent Maggie could be so reckless, putting both herself and a charming Colonel in terrible danger. At other points in the book, I admired her courage. The book had interesting characters the reader could care about, including the Colonel's three legged dog that had been injured in the Mideast. The story had themes of courage, grief, revenge, coping with disabilities, and the power of music....more
A five year old boy slips from his mother's grasp as a car speeds down the road, and a mother's life is never the same. The police detectives investigA five year old boy slips from his mother's grasp as a car speeds down the road, and a mother's life is never the same. The police detectives investigate the hit-and-run, but reach a lot of dead ends.
Memories of the accident haunt Jenna. She leaves England, and heads to the southwestern Welsh coast to start a new life. Then her past closes in on her.
So it doesn't get spoiled, it's better to know nothing about the story going in. The author spent twelve years on the police force, and used her experience to create some challenging situations. This thriller will grab you on the first page. Although it occasionally got a bit repetitive in the first half, the second half is nonstop twists and turns, and kept me reading late into the night....more
Great Britain had been occupying Palestine after World War II, and issued quotas allowing only 75,000 Jews to immigrate to Palestine over five years.Great Britain had been occupying Palestine after World War II, and issued quotas allowing only 75,000 Jews to immigrate to Palestine over five years. Brand is a Latvian illegal refugee who survived both German and Russian concentration camps because he had good mechanical skills. In the mid 1940s he shipped off to Jerusalem where the Haganah underground gave him a new identity, and an occupation of a taxi driver.
Brand had lost everything--his beloved wife, his family, and his identity. He feels survivor's guilt, and has painful memories of the atrocities he has witnessed. He's falling in love with another survivor who is also a member of the resistance--a former actress who now works as a prostitute.
The Haganah carries out attacks on British property to protest the British blockade of Jewish refugee ships and British immigration restrictions. But things become more violent and lives are lost when the Haganah joins with the Irgun. Brand is carrying out missions planned by their leaders, transporting explosives and other resistance workers in his taxi. He's a good man who is becoming increasingly uncomfortable as the violence escalates. The underground fight, which started with good intentions, now possesses moral ambiguities. As Brand witnesses the carnage from a terribly violent attack, he wonders who he is becoming and what kind of a man he wants to be.
Brand is a wonderful conflicted character who has experienced too much tragedy in his life. This thriller is based partly on actual historical events, mainly in 1946 Palestine. The author showed the complexity of the political situation while creating an exciting work of fiction....more
Ex-Marine Peter Ash had to search buildings full of danger during his tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, the war veteran cannot stay indoors withoutEx-Marine Peter Ash had to search buildings full of danger during his tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, the war veteran cannot stay indoors without feeling a "white static", a feeling of panic and claustrophobia. When he hears that his war buddy, Jimmy, has committed suicide, he leaves the great outdoors to come help his widow, Dinah. While doing repairs on Dinah's house, he finds Mingus, a large, mean, snarling, smelly dog, under her porch as well as a suitcase of money. He sees that an armed man is watching Dinah's house, and tries to unearth the story behind the money and Jimmy's death. The suitcase full of cash is only the tip of the iceberg in a sinister plot.
This is a riveting, fast-paced thriller with a complex main character. Peter Ash has the skills of an accomplished Marine, someone you would want on your side in a fight. He also has a big heart and a sense of honor. His sidekick Mingus is unforgettable! Nicholas Petrie has created some engaging characters, and writes snappy dialogue well. His incorporation of several characters with PTSD added a lot to the book. I liked this book so much that I'll be sure to look for his next Peter Ash thriller, Burning Bright, which will be published in January 2017.
Thanks to First Reads, Penguin Random House, and Putnam for a copy of the book for the purpose of providing an honest review....more
It was a parent's worst nightmare. The Courtland family was vacationing in the Colorado Rockies when their 18-year-old daughter Caitlin went out on aIt was a parent's worst nightmare. The Courtland family was vacationing in the Colorado Rockies when their 18-year-old daughter Caitlin went out on a morning run. Her younger brother, following her on his bike, was hit by a car and Caitlin was abducted.
We next see the heartbroken family one year later, their lives shattered since Caitlin disappeared. The father is drinking too much. The mother, who was already emotionally fragile, has fallen apart. The brother, mending from the accident, suffers from survivor's guilt. The story is told from the perspectives of all the family members.
The setting in the Rockies is gorgeous, but very dangerous with so many places where someone can disappear. The cover of "Descent" describes it as a "literary thriller" since it is written beautifully. The first part of the book tends to be more character-driven. Then the plot quickens in the second half to a "can't put the book down" ending....more