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Basic Law: A Mystery of Cold War Europe

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3.88  ·  Rating details ·  33 ratings  ·  19 reviews
A peace-seeking man must unravel the mystery that led to his former lover’s death

Expat American journalist Sam Kramer is burned out: too many dead bodies, too many wars covered, too little meaning in it all. He’s got a dead-end job at the Daily European as the correspondent for Vienna, where nothing happens now that the Cold War is over. And that is exactly how Kramer lik
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ebook, 324 pages
Published April 14th 2015 by MysteriousPress.com/Open Road
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3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  33 ratings  ·  19 reviews


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Manchester Military History Society (MMHS)
A good solid post cold-war thriller.


"Red Reni", poster girl of the German left appears to have committed suicide. However her former lover, journalist Sam Kramer, believes otherwise when he discovers at Reni's funeral that he is the executor of her literary estate and that her memoirs are missing.

As a result Kramer sets out to track down Reni and Kramer's former friends who were part of a left wing group they were involved with in the '60s and '70s.

The detail of the German left wing politics in
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Kathryn in FL
The title "Basic Law: A Mystery of the Cold War Europe" serves as a fine synopsis of this book. Written by J. Sydney Jones, we travel back in time to 1994 before cell phones and computers would have quickly unraveled the mysteries that await us in this novel. As a result of the lack of these impressive tools, we instead rely on a burned out reporter, as we meander with through multiple countries multiple times, seeking multiple people of whom are made subject to multiple inquiries about multiple ...more
Julie
Basic Law by J. Sydney Jones is a 2015 Mysterious Press publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sam Kramer is shocked to learn a former lover, “Red Reni” has committed suicide. He is even more puzzled when she names him the executor of her literary estate. When he begins looking for Reni's memoirs, he discovers they are missing, and when another death occurs, it makes him wonder if Reni really committed suicide or was murde
...more
Maria Beltrami
A kind of complicated treasure hunt that starts from the suicide of a famous exponent of the German left politics at the time of the Cold War to tell how, even in the Germany after unification, Nazis ideals are still alive and present and how, behind the screen of the most vulgar neo-Nazism, political and economic forces are actually working exploiting for their own interests the social hardship. Despite some ingenuity typically American - American is author and Americans are some of its protago ...more
A Reader's Heaven
(I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.)

Expat American journalist Sam Kramer is burned out: too many dead bodies, too many wars covered, too little meaning in it all. He's got a dead-end job at the Daily European as the correspondent for Vienna, where nothing happens now that the Cold War is over. And that is exactly how Kramer likes it.
But his private neutral zone is shattered with news of the suicide of Reni Müller, a German left-wing firebrand an
...more
Dawn
Mar 13, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Basic Law" is a solid, enjoyable mystery. Basic law (German constitution) plays a part in the story - a piece of that law explains that it's against the law to belong to any terrorist organizations.

The story revolves around Renata Muller, queen of the German left, called "Red Reni," who might have committed suicide, or might have been murdered. Reni's former lover, Kramer, who used to be a widely traveled foreign correspondent and is now a journalist working in Vienna, hasn't seen Reni in decad
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Zeb Kantrowitz
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-read
Imagine you’re a veteran correspondent from the time of the Cold War. Well, now that it’s over, what do you write about, what use are your old contacts. So, you end up at a dead end job, banging out worthless copy, you’re just going through the motions. You feel as useful as a condom in the bedside draw of a eunuch.

That’s what Sam Kramer is doing in Vienna. To say he’s bored is to say the rich like to travel. His only emotion is ennui. Then out of the blue he receives a notice from a lawyer. His
...more
Susan Johnston
Apr 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some books grab you by the neck and never let go. Some books start slowly and build quickly. Some book start slowly and it takes them a long time to fuel momentum. This book, for me, was in the last category.
I found the first half of the book slow and without much fire. Once the book found its rythm, it turned into a roaring good time. Neo-Nazi and good old fashioned Nazis, the East German secret police, politics, corruption, youthful ideals and jaded realities- it is a potent brew for post Cold
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Nolene Driscoll
Jul 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book from netgalley in return for an honest review. Thank you.

Journalist Sam Kramer receives the tragic news that his former girlfriend has committed suicide and he has been appointed her literary executor over her memoirs. There are no memoirs and Reni was not the type to commit suicide. Was it really suicide or was there a more sinister reason for her death.

Sam and Reni had belonged to a radical left wing political group in the cold war of the 60s and 70s with 5 other friends.
...more
Emily
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I received a free copy of this book through the GoodReads First Reads giveaways.

I really enjoyed Basic Law by J. Sydney Jones. This was a great thriller about the post-Cold War. The main character, Sam Kramer, who is a journalist, believes there is a “story” into the death of his former lover, Reni Muller. Upon her death/suicide she left Sam in charge of her memoirs which have gone missing. The author takes the reader on quite an adventure throughout Germany and through the memories of Sam, Ren
...more
Bert
Mar 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the author's fourth novel, and third in the series of Vienna crime mysteries. I read this entire 312 page book in 36 hours, which reveals how hard it was for me to put it down. Vienna is one of Europe's most fascinating and beautiful cities, home of Sigmund Freud and formative home of Adolph Hitler. You find serious art, architecture, and classical music. The end of the Cold War only sent the cat and mouse game of espionage, intrigue, and murder underground. No tells here, suffice it to ...more
Rosemary
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jones, a scholar and the creator of a series of 19th Vienna mysteries, has taken a dark and exciting turn with this exploration of neo-Nazism during the Cold WR. Set principally in Bonn and Prague, the plot lifts the curtain in corruption and the rising force of right wing fascists whose identities were revealed in a missing memoir. Part chase and part intrigue, this book's central figures include a dogged journalist following the trail of crumbs left by his former lover who has committed suicid ...more
Debbie
Apr 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this was one heck of a ride! Once I finally got all the characters straightened out and got down to the nitty gritty I could not put this thriller down. There were so many plot twists and twists on the plot twists. This was one twisting thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed.

If you like thrillers, I highly recommend this one!

Thank you Open Road Integrated Media and Net Galley for this free e-galley which kept me totally entertained on this dark, gloomy, rainy day.
Sarah
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book via Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for my honest review.

This isn't my usual type of reading fare. I was afraid that it would be boring, confusing, and/or require too much of my undivided attention to be enjoyable. However, I found my fears to be unwarranted. It's an interesting mystery with a satisfactory resolution to the story at the end. I recommend giving it a shot.
Tabby Shiflett
3.5 Stars
An action-packed mystery and thriller set in Europe (during the mid-1990s interlaced with flashbacks). An interesting read, but there's so much going on, it was a bit hard at times to keep up with it all. A good plot with quite a few twists. For mystery/thriller fans and readers of historical fiction.

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Lynn
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This novel by J. Sydney Jones is a mystery taking place in modern times but whose history reaches back to the Cold War. I was disappointed in the writing from the beginning and found it jarring and inarticulate. I suspect that the writer intended the book to in the hard boiled style of James Cain. The mystery wasn't interesting to me either. Maybe I wasn't my type of novel.
Brenda Schneider
A Thrilling mystery with plenty of action. I received this book through Good Reads first reads.
Staci Suhy
Mar 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
i received this book for free as part of a first reads promotion
RichardM
rated it really liked it
May 06, 2015
Benchmark
rated it it was ok
Aug 08, 2015
Marisa Young
Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intriguing mystery with several twists and turns.
James Lynam
rated it it was amazing
Mar 02, 2015
WILLIAM T HODGE
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Jul 21, 2017
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Jan 04, 2016
Cyber
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Jul 25, 2016
Patricia L. Newton
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