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To Die in Vienna

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  2,782 ratings  ·  141 reviews
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Jake Gyllenhaal.

He’s seen something that could get him killed. But what?

Freddie Makin is a spy for hire. For a year he’s been watching Jiang Cheng, an academic whose life seems suspiciously normal. To Freddie it’s just a job: he never asks who’s paying him and why—until the day someone is sent to kill him, and suddenly the watcher
Paperback, 270 pages
Published June 14th 2018 by Thomas & Mercer
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4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,782 ratings  ·  141 reviews

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May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great espionage thriller set in the architecturally beautiful Vienna, a city I know well, soon to come out as a film with Jake Gyllenhaal. A traumatised Freddie Makin left S8, a covert CIA unit, after a disastrous mission left 3 friends and colleagues dead in Yemen. Plagued by flashbacks, nightmares, and difficulties sleeping, for a year Freddie has been working as a surveillance expert for a unknown client of Leo Behnke, his employer. Freddie feels he knows all there is to know about ...more
To Die in Vienna is both the title of this book and an avid description of Freddie Makin’s anonymous existence spending a year surveilling a boring routine university professor In Vienna. Freddie is in some ways like a Jason Bourne, unaware of the part he’s playing in the great espionage games and determined to nevertheless survive. But, Freddie is no James Bond and no Jason Bourne. He’s hamstrung by migraines and visited by nightmares. He once (before he became a spy for hire) worked a clandest ...more
Dec 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: espionage, firstreads
I won this book in a goodreads drawing.

A surveillance expert watches a guy in Vienna. When the subject is taken, somebody comes after hm as well. Fortunately, he's got a little tradecraft and a lot of luck on his side. He tries to figure out what he knows that will get him killed, while trying to avoid death.

Very readable.
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
It is always a joy to learn a new Kevin Wignall book is about to be released and I will hassle and cajole to get an ARC or purchase one as soon as it is available.
The author writes with great style and humanity.
So it is good to report having consumed the latest offering my joy has been replaced by a sense of well-being and a smile tattooed to my face.
To die in Vienna is a modern spy thriller set mostly in Europe but with a recurring throwback to a failed mission in Yemen. It focuses on the washe
Donna Backshall
Send me to The Madhouse!

This has all the components of a great book: a likeable protagonist, an interesting storyline, lots of atmosphere and a fantastic narrator. It was a fun read, enhanced by the original and entertaining location of the Madhouse Hotel. Only in Supernatural have I ever seen an otherwise overlooked scene like a motel/hotel given such personality.

I would listen to everything Kevin Wignall has written, if it were all read by George Newbern. I think the next one I pick up I'll re
Jim C
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book thru a Goodreads giveaway for an honest review. I would like to thank the author and the publishing company for their giveaway.

This book can be classified as a spy genre novel. In this one, Freddie has been watching a man for over a year. Someone makes a move on Freddie and the person he is watching. Freddie has no idea why and who and Freddie has to figure this out before he is killed.

I am not the biggest fan of the spy genre but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The strength
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5* --> 4*

Set in the wonderful city of Vienna, we are introduced to a rather unlikely spy. Freddie Makin has been watching a Chinese academic, Jiang Cheng, for the past year and thinks he knows everything there is to know about him. Until one day, someone is sent to kill Freddie, his equipment is removed and Cheng disappears. Freddie must have seen something he wasn’t supposed to but what? And who is after him?

Not that I’m an expert on spy thrillers because I’ve not read that many of them, b
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been reading a lot of heavy stuff lately (reviews to follow eventually ) and some law review articles in preparation for a presentation on John Bingham and the 14th Amendment, so it's always nice to find something well-put together that doesn't insult the intelligence, but nicely engages. Kevin Wignall's To Die in Vienna is of the spy-like genre, a favorite of mine, and it fit the bill nicely.

Freddie is a surveillance expert who has been tasked with watching the activities of a Chinese nati
Visit Vienna with this book!

I’ve not read many spy action thrillers but this one felt very different to the ones I had. Slower paced for one, but that worked well in the sense the tension built up steadily and the twists and shadows of the city appeared and disappeared at will.

Freddie was a great character but for a spy was rather in touch with his feelings!Not sying that spies aren’t or shouldn’t be but he has a backstory and worries of his own which ,when being the target as it were, really ca
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my great loves are 1970’s conspiracy thrillers, The Parralax View being perhaps my favourite movie of all time. Alan J Pakula, the director, also directed Klute, and of course All The Presidents Men, the three movies forming a loose trilogy that summed up the disillusion, distrust and paranoia many American were beginning to view their government through. One can add to this mix The Conversation, where Gene Hackman played a freelance surveillance expert who stumbles upon a sinister conspi ...more
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Disclaimer: I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway and the promise that I would review it when done.

I really liked this book. I was kind of surprised by how much so. The characters are engaging and the author did a good job drawing them and not belaboring that process. The plot was fast paced and had enough twists and turns that, even though I suspected who "the bad guys" were, when I found out it still was a bit surprising. I've been to Vienna and the author captured the atmosphere of the city
Jun 22, 2018 rated it liked it
At the beginning of this novel it was very confusing for me. Then it all started to build up. There’s a man who was hired to watch Cheng named Freddie. All of a sudden Cheng is missing and Freddie walks into his place being burgled. The guy runs but then comes back and so Freddie bashed his face in. Now he is on a mission to find out why or who is after him. He hides in plain sight following leads. When this novel picks up it really picks up. Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to review this ...more
Sam Huleatt
I'm not sure why this 'thriller' got so much praise in the reviews. I found it pretty dull with a lack of character development. Freddie has potential as a character, but the author needs give us a bit more. I love the city of Vienna and was initially attracted to a thriller based in the great Austrian Capital, but aside from casual references, I felt it could have been any city. Overall the book is fine as far as espionage thrillers go, but there is no way it deserves over 4 stars.
Amanda Williams
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this thriller. It was an intense read and kept me hooked right from the start. The author writes very strong characters that you will instantly fall in love with. This book will keep you guessing until the very end.
Rituranjan Gogoi
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An engaging thriller with a taut story. For once I'm glad that it isn't one of those novels that revolves around some plot of world ending conspiracy. It is in fact much of a character focused story, and it also doesn't hop from one country to another, rather takes place in the beautiful city of Vienna. The pacing is good, and the theme of the hunter and the hunted is well played. Also, I liked the fact that the protagonist is a common citizen with some special skills, not like the hardcore guys ...more
Lynn Horton
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wignall is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. His measured pace, intelligent prose, and relatable characters (well, as much as one can relate to a spy) are a consistent and reliable pleasure. Vienna plays a large part in this book too, and I pictured the streets and the fog, the eclectic inhabitants and the river, and even the parks and trams, enjoying a mini vacation to one of my favorite European cities.

This book had a few weaknesses for me. First, the beginning is a little ponderous, a
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75 stars. Easily read spy novel. Kind of a Bourne-light. Interesting characters that I grew to like.
David Lowther
To Die in Vienna is a formulaic thriller, exceptionally well written. Having spent a week in Vienna last year, recognising some of the locations enhanced my enjoyment.

There are pretty nasty villains and an attractive hero. The action is nicely set and starts with a bang.

I shall seek out another Kevin Wignall thriller in the months to come.

David Lowther. Author of The Blue Pencil, Liberating Belsen, Two Families at War and The Summer of '39, all published by Sacristy Press.
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I received an advanced copy of the book from Netgalley and publishers Thomas & Mercer.

Who doesn't love a good spy thriller? Looking at the cover of 'To Die in Vienna' you cannot mistake it for being anything but. Set in the capital city of Austria, Wignall's latest book follows Freddie Makin, a surveillance operative whose life is saved by a migraine.

Freddie had been following math professor - certified genius - Jiang Cheng for around a year, when suddenly he finds his life is at risk. Hi
Jun 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Decent read

The story was decent but seemed to drag. I kept waiting for it to get more exciting but it never did, for me anyway. Seemed like your typical spy type story only without lots of action.
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

I did not like this book. Very boring. Too much telling. Felt removed from the action and the characters. I enjoyed his other books but not this one
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since leaving his position as a consultant for Evanston Electronics, a front for a murky CIA group S8, after an operation in Yemen had gone disastrously wrong, Freddie Makin has been freelancing for a Munich-based surveillance company headed by Leo Behnke.

Plagued by vicious nightmares and migraines after Yemen, for five years, Freddie has been keeping a low profile, basically watching, Jiang Cheng, a professor in Applied Computer Science at TU Wien, an operation that had been live for one year.
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To Die in Vienna is the fourth novel by Kevin Wignall that I’ve read. The others are A Death in Sweden, The Traitor's Story, and A Fragile Thing. Of the four novels, To Die in Vienna is the best. The others are good, but To Die in Vienna captured my interest from page one to the end.

To Die in Vienna is an espionage thriller with enough twists and turns to keep the reader’s attention. As with his other novels, the story takes place in Europe (in this novel - Vienna) so the setting was new and un
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
An intriguing, engaging, espionage story…

Five years ago Freddie Malkin worked for a covert section of the CIA, when an assignment in Yemen went horribly wrong he turned in his resignation. Now he works as a freelance high-tech surveillance expert for a private company and most of the time for persons unknown to him. He’s currently watching a Chinese academic in Vienna and he finds the days rather routine. After a year he’s gotten to know the subject well and wonders why this man, who leads such
Sandra Ruttan
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are books that have intricate plots. There are stories intended to be profound, with nuggets of truth the reader can take away and apply to their own life. And there are narratives with memorable characters that you genuinely care about and want to see succeed.

Occasionally, all of these components combine, as they do in To Die in Vienna. This could be called a spy thriller but it’s really the story of Freddie Makin. Freddie has been putting in time, punching a clock and living like a ghost
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dying in Vienna is not included on the Freddie Makin plans after spending a year watching a Chinese scientist, but his boss thinks otherwise, he had seen too much and his life is worthless...
In this thriller full of action and secret spies, Freddie will play the cat and the mouse with the mysterious man/woman that wants him dead, while he is trying to decipher what he had seen that had put his life in danger...
Let me say that Kevin Wignall has done an incredible job with this book; it is addicti
I started with reservations, since this book surfaced via one of Amazon's mysterious recommendation engines at the start of my Kindle Unlimited free subscription that came along with a new device. I also noticed that the publisher was, of course, owned by Amazon itself. (Resistance is futile). But Wignall's relentlessly propulsive plotting and interesting take on the spy thriller kept me engaged long enough to discover a choice character study buried beneath the mad dash in and out of Vienna. Fr ...more
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strong writing, fluent, engaging, developing characters with first person intimacy while writing in a third person voice. Interesting original plot is engaging, but not just for thrills. Audible’s strong narrator handles voices and German terms with aplomb.

After suffering tragic personal losses and survivor’s guilt, Freddie Makin has as been safely hiding from life’s dangers through his surveillance specialist work. When tragedy strikes again, he sheds his passivity and methodically pursues woul
Becky Motew
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An engaging page turner.

I don't repeat plots in my reviews, because I don't think anyone wants to read them. If you've already read the book, you already know the plot and if you haven't read the book, beyond a very few guiding phrases, you want to find out for yourself. Is the book a romance or literary heavy-ocity or a baseball book or whatever. Those things are fine to say, but any more is unnecessary.

So Freddie Makin has been watching Jiang Cheng for a year and now someone wants them both d
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Army Child till age nine.

Settled back in a small town in the west of England.

Lancaster University - degree in Politics &
International Relations.


Also writes as K.J. Wignall