Friday, May 02, 2008

Garden of Beasts

by Jeffery Deaver

Oh, WOW! I loved this suspense/mystery. I think I've discovered a new favorite author. It may be premature to say that after one book, so I'm starting on a second Deaver to make sure. I loved this book. The plot, the characters, the setting of Nazi Germany in 1936 were all topnotch.

The book's hero is a mob "button man," or hit man, Paul Schumann, who is caught in the act in New York City. His captures offer him an alternative to the electric chair - to go to Berlin undercover as a journalist writing about the upcoming Olympics, in order to assassinate Col. Reinhard Ernst, the chief architect of Hitler's militarization, seen as a threat to American interests. A German spy onboard Paul's transatlantic liner grows suspicious and sends a warning to Germany before Paul discovers and kills him. Then in Berlin, Paul, en route to meet his contact, kills a second suspicious man who may be a storm trooper, setting Insp. Willi Kohl of the Berlin police on his trail.

Deaver weaves the three manhunts—Paul after his target, Kohl after Paul and the Nazi hierarchy after Paul—with a deft hand,.

One of my favorite parts of the book was the look at the frightening life of 1936 Berlin, a city on the brink of madness. Top Nazis, including Hitler, Himmler and Göring, make colorful cameos, but it's the smart, shaded-gray characterizations of the principals that anchor the exciting plot.

An affecting love affair between Paul and his German landlady goes in surprising directions, as do the main plot lines, which move outside Berlin as heroes become villains and vice versa.

How have I missed reading anything by Deaver before now?! Garden of Beasts is a stand alone novel; not part of Deaver's Lincoln Rymes series, which I've added to my list of new series.


Les said...

I think I've found a new thriller/mystery author myself! I grabbed a copy of Jonathan Kellerman's latest book (Compulsion) for my husband the other day and after he finished, he asked if I was going to read it. I was tempted to pass simply because I really want to get caught up on John Sandford's series, but I had just finished my current read and Compulsion was on the table, so I grabbed it and read a few pages. That did it! I'm hooked and look forward to reading all evening.

If you enjoy the whole Hitler-Himmler-Nazi thing, you might enjoy Allan Folsom's The Day After Tomorrow. I read it several years ago and LOVED it!!

Nicola said...

Wow, your enthusiasm is catching! This sounds great. I've been meaning to read the Lincoln Rhyme books forever. I must try something by him soon.

Booklogged said...

Les, Jonathan Kellerman is another author I've been meaning to try. I've never heard of John Sanford, but if you like him I'm quite sure I will. So I've added Kellerman, Sanford and Compulsion to my list. Thanks for the suggestions.

Nicola, I don't usually sit still longer than an hour to read even when I'm engaged with a thriller or an otherwise excellent book, but I devoted all of yesterday afternoon to finishing this book.

Stephanie said...

I haven't ever read a Jeffrey Deaver book. But this one does sound good. I think it's about time to pick up a little thriller. It's been awhile!

jenclair said...

I've enjoyed the Lincoln Rymes series and will certainly keep an eye out for this one!

Framed said...

I've only read one Lincoln Rhymes book and really liked it. Lincoln is a wonderful name, isn't it? But I've read a lot of Kellerman's. They are very gripping and quite violent, definitely not a cozy mystery; but I enjoyed them very much.

Joy said...

I've read a few of Deaver and really liked them all! What fun to find a new author that you like!

I just started Kellerman's series and I began Sandford's series last year. Sandford wrote the "Prey" series. I'm sure you've seen those - there's a million of them. :)

Lezlie said...

The Lincoln Rhyme books are fabulous! Amelia, his partner, is my hero!


Susan said...

I really enjoy Jeffrey Deaver, too, especially the Lincoln Rhyme books. They're so grisly, but I just love the characters.

Bellezza said...

The last Deaver book I read gave me serious shivers, but it WAS good! I love thrillers and mysteries too, having especially enjoyed Patricia Cornwall. I'll pick this up as I consider him not only a good author, but Lincoln Rymes a formidable character.

Katherine said...

I read the Bone Collector a few years ago and really enjoyed it. I don't normally go in for thrillers, but that book had me hooked. I just might try this one!

SuziQoregon said...

Darn you! (she says with tongue firmly planted in cheek)

I haven't read any Deaver.

Off to add to my TBR list and it's all your fault!!