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REVIEW

"Suspense laden historical thriller"

In 1936, contract freelance hit man Paul Schumann enters the Hell's Kitchen apartment to bump off Malone, but the mark is not here. Paul realizes he has been set up and the subsequent phone call tells him that twelve armed men wait for him to throw out the window his two guns, to remove his jacket, and wait for their entry with his hands up if he wants to survive.

Navy Intelligence Officer Bull Gordon gives Paul a choice. If he refuses, they have evidence to prove he murdered people, which would lead to at least life in Sing Sing that is if they do not turn him into cement. Paul accepts their kind offer to go to Berlin to kill Colonel Ernst, Hitler's brilliant militarization expert.

Disguised as a reporter covering the Olympics, Paul sails across the Atlantic, but a Nazi undercover agent believes he might be a paid assassin. Paul kills the spy, but not before word reaches Berlin. When he kills a second person in the German capital, Police Inspector Kohl is on his crowded trail loaded with Nazis wanting to kill Paul before he completes his mission.

Jeffrey Deaver is at his best with this suspense laden historical thriller that brings 1936 Berlin vividly alive in a contrasting manner. On the one hand, there is the Olympics while on the other there is the Nazi movement. The three subplots (Paul's mission, Inspector Kohl's investigation, and the Nazi efforts to kill the American) all tie together in a fantastic tale that will bring deserved accolades to Mr. Deaver as he proves once again that he drives more than just a Lincoln.

Harriet Klausner

Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted June 6, 2004

SUMMARY

In the most ingenious and provocative thriller yet from the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Jeffery Deaver, a conscience-plagued mobster turned government hitman struggles to find his moral compass amid rampant treachery and betrayal in 1936 Berlin. Paul Schumann, a German American living in New York City in 1936, is a mobster hitman known as much for his brilliant tactics as for taking only "righteous" assignments. But then Paul gets caught. And the arresting officer offers him a stark choice: prison or covert government service. Paul is asked to pose as a journalist covering the summer Olympics taking place in Berlin. He's to hunt down and kill Reinhard Ernst -- the ruthless architect of Hitler's clandestine rearmament. If successful, Paul will be pardoned and given the financial means to go legit; if he refuses the job, his fate will be Sing Sing and the electric chair.

Paul travels to Germany, takes a room in a boardinghouse near the Tiergarten -- the huge park in central Berlin but also, literally, the Garden of Beasts -- and begins his hunt. In classic Deaver fashion, the next forty-eight hours are a feverish cat-and-mouse chase, as Paul stalks Ernst through Berlin while a dogged Berlin police officer and the entire Third Reich apparatus search frantically for the American.

Garden of Beasts is packed with fascinating period detail and features a cast of perfectly realized locals, Olympic athletes and senior Nazi officials -- some real, some fictional. With hairpin plot twists, the reigning "master of ticking-bomb suspense" (People) plumbs the nerve-jangling paranoia of prewar Berlin and steers the story to a breathtaking and wholly unpredictable ending.

 

Garden of Beasts
by Jeffrey Deaver

Pocket Books (Star)
February 1, 2005
Available: January 25, 2005
ISBN #0743437829
EAN #9780743437820
576 pages
Paperback
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Other Books by
Jeffrey Deaver

Twisted
The Vanished Man
The Stone Monkey


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