It is November 1941. Anglo-American John Russell is living in Berlin, tied to the increasingly alien city by his love for two Berliners: his fourteen-year-old son, Paul, and his actress girlfriend, Effi. One of a small and dwindling handful of permitted and much-censored American journalists, Russell has found himself pushed into serving as a point of contact between the anti-Nazi Abwehr and American intelligence. But his real work, as he now sees it, revolves around one crucial question what fate awaits those Berliner Jews who are now being shipped to the east? His investigation has already brought him into perilous proximity with the local communist underground, and will soon involve him in a celebrity murder with global ramifications. As Russell and Effi edge closer to some very dangerous truths, feuding German intelligence services and America's imminent entry into the war further complicate their struggle to outfox and outlive Hitler's Reich.
Fans of the intelligent WWII thrillers of Alan Furst and Philip Kerr should enjoy Downing's atmospheric and tension-filled third novel featuring Anglo-American journalist John Russell (after Silesian Station\n). By November 1941, Russell has decided that he and his German actress girlfriend, Effi Koenen, need to leave Berlin while they still can, but given Koenen's high public profile, he must find an illegal way to do so. His planning coincides with the escalation of tensions between the U.S. and Japan as well as growing evidence that the Nazis have begun carrying out the Final Solution with the forced transport of Berlin's Jewish community. Russell's complicated life, which includes serving as a courier for the Wehrmacht intelligence service, makes him an obvious candidate for extra scrutiny by the Gestapo, a further obstacle to escaping Germany. With strong, vivid prose, the author maintains a high level of suspense throughout, and makes the reader care about his leads. \n