The Divided City


Title:                     The Divided City

Author:                Luke McCallin

McCallin, Luke (2016). The Divided City. New York: Berkley

LCCN:    2016037707

PR6113.C3585 D59 2016

Summary

  • “Luke McCallin, author of The Pale House and The Man from Berlin, delivers a dark, compelling thriller set in post-World War II Germany featuring ex-intelligence officer Captain Gregor Reinhardt. A year after Germany’s defeat, Reinhardt has been hired back onto Berlin’s civilian police force. The city is divided among the victorious allied powers, but tensions are growing, and the police are riven by internal rivalries as factions within it jockey for power and influence with Berlin’s new masters. When a man is found slain in a broken-down tenement, Reinhardt embarks on a gruesome investigation. It seems a serial killer is on the loose, and matters only escalate when it’s discovered that one of the victims was the brother of a Nazi scientist. Reinhardt’s search for the truth takes him across the divided city and soon embroils him in a plot involving the Western Allies and the Soviets. And as he comes under the scrutiny of a group of Germans who want to continue the war–and faces an unwanted reminder from his own past–Reinhardt realizes that this investigation could cost him everything as he pursues a killer who believes that all wrongs must be avenged”– Provided by publisher.

LC Subjects

Date Posted:      June 10, 2017

Post-World War II Berlin has attracted the attention of noted thriller authors Joseph Kanon, John Lawton, and Philip Kerr. In The Divided City, Luke McCallin brings his protagonist, ex-intelligence officer Captain Gregor Reinhardt, back to Berlin in 1947. Like Kerr’s Bernie Gunther, Reinhardt served on the Weimar-era city police force and has a checkered wartime past (in Reinhardt’s case, involving his actions in the Balkans).

The Divided City captures the Hobbesian-environment of Berlin in the early years of the Allied occupation. With much of the city in ruins, residents do what they have to in order to survive. Reinhardt, back on the police force, is tasked with solving a series of gruesome murders of former Luftwaffe personnel. In doing so, he attracts the interest of British, American, and Soviet intelligence—to say nothing of a band of embittered German veterans.

McCallin’s considerable strengths as a novelist lie in his evocative prose and memorable characterizations. His plotting, is, in a word Byzantine; I’ll confess to having gotten lost at times in following the complex twists and turns of the story. Yet The Divided City is still an intriguing read, filled with suspense and a compelling cast of characters.

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The Spy


Title:                      The Spy

Author:                Clive Cussler

Cussler, Clive (2010) and Justin Scott. The Spy. New York : G.P. Putnam’s Sons

LCCN:    2010009053

Summary

  • In 1908, a brilliant American battleship gun designer dies in a sensational apparent suicide. The man’s grief-stricken daughter turns to the legendary Van Dorn Detective Agency to clear her father’s name. Van Dorn puts his chief investigator on the case, and Isaac Bell soon realizes that the clues point not to suicide but to murder.

Subjects

Date Posted:      June 7, 2017

Love him or hate him, so the reviews go. The original Clive Cussler books were far more interesting (focusing on Dirk Pitt and the NUMA crew). He had to introduce new characters (Dirk’s kids) and promote people (Admiral Sandecker to Vice President.)

With the Isaac Bell series he had a brand new set of characters and plots to deal with. I have enjoyed all of the series. I don’t post reviews on most of them here since they, for the most part, are really more crime than espionage. This book however has interesting plot lines. To be sure, Isaac Bell is cast as a super hero who always comes out on top, reminding me of the Perils of Pauline. However attacks on US ships and efforts to undermine American naval power in the years preceding WWI are plausible, if perhaps overdone. It is, after all, a novel. It is not supposed to be great literature, it is to be fun to read, and to be a page turner.

I recommend it, both the paperback version as well as the very well done audio verson.

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Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist Aftermath


Title:            Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist Aftermath

Author:        Peter Telep

Telep, Peter (2013). Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist Aftermath. New York: Berkley Books

LCCN:    2014656199

PS 3570 .E447 T665 2013

Subjects

Notes

  • “Based on Ubisoft’s bestselling game, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell”–Back cover.

Date Posted:      June 7, 2017

Review from Amazon[1]

Peter Telep has presented a series of edge of the chair excitement and intrigue that are real page turners. There are a few similarities between the Splinter Cell series and the Endwar series. I have read both series and thoroughly enjoyed each one. Aftermath is the latest and it keeps you involved from the first page to the last. The only confusion that I have is the involvement of the Snow Maiden here and in The Missing (Endwar). I had just finished Missing before reading Aftermath. The final disposition of the Snow Maiden is different in each story. Keeping them separated was a challenge, but did not detract from either story. If you like lots of action on the international stage, then these two series are great reads. Even though Tom Clancy is no longer with us, his legacy is being carried on ably by Mr. Telep. Keep them coming.

[1] By Bob Oursleron (August 17, 2014) on Amazon.

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CIA Humor


Title:                      CIA Humor

Author:                  Thomas Sileo

Sileo, Thomas (2004). CIA Humor: A Few True Stories From A 31-Year Career. Alexandria, VA: Washington House

OCLC:

JK468.I6 S55 2004

Table of Contents: . Introduction . The Director of Central Intelligence 3. Working in the United States for the CIA 4. Operations don’t always go smoothly 5. The CIA and the U.S. military 6. Funny odds and ends 7. Conclusion 8. List of abbreviations and terms.

Date Posted:      May 11, 2017

Customer Review by clark_aon[1]

The first of Sileo’s five chapters of anecdotes relate humorous stories about four Directors of Central Intelligence—William Casey, Robert Gates, James Woolsey, and George Tenet—though others are mentioned elsewhere. The other chapters cover working for the CIA in America, operations gone awry, the CIA and the military, and, finally, some odds and ends. In the latter category, Sileo tells a tale of advice to an analyst in the Directorate of Intelligence on how to pass the polygraph . . . from Rick Ames![3] (p. 89) Not all of the stories are funny, but they are all instructive—the attention-getting behavior of the KGB surveillance teams in Moscow, for example. In a different vein is the story of the security officer and Queen Noor of Jordan. The CIA wives are not forgotten, although Mrs. Sileo may wish her husband had omitted her encounter with the “six star general” (p. 70).

This little book will bring pleasure to many and probably invoke similar memories in other officers. So Sileo hints at the end he is considering another edition—a good idea!

[1] See clark_aon (December 24, 2007) at Amazon.com, (4.0 out of 5 stars), “A lighter look at the CIA

Posted in CIA | Tagged | 1 Comment

Knight’s Black Agent


Title:                      Knight’s Black Agent

Author:                 John Bingham

Bingham, John (1975). Knight’s Black Agent. London: Gollancz

LCCN:    76366178

PZ4.C588 Ni10

Date Posted:      May 10, 2017

A veteran MI5 officer (actually Le Carrè’s mentor and model for George Smiley) reveals a case history. Bingham is a prolific author of books on agents.

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The Black Widow


Title:                      The Black Widow

Author:                 Daniel Silva

Silva, Daniel (2016). The Black Widow. New York, NY: Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

OCLC:    973883288

PS3619.I5443 B35 2016

Subjects

Summary:

Gabriel Allon, the art restorer, spy, and assassin, is poised to become the chief of Israel’s secret intelligence service. But on the eve of his promotion, events conspire to lure him into the field for one final operation. ISIS has detonated a massive bomb in the Marais district of Paris, and a desperate French government wants Gabriel to eliminate the man responsible before he can strike again. They call him Saladin, a terrorist mastermind whose ambition is as grandiose as his nom de guerre, a man so elusive that even his nationality is not known. Shielded by sophisticated encryption software, his network communicates in total secrecy, leaving the West blind to his planning — and leaving Gabriel no choice but to insert an agent into the most dangerous terror group the world has ever known. She is an extraordinary young doctor, as brave as she is beautiful. At Gabriel’s behest, she will pose as an ISIS recruit in waiting, a ticking time bomb — a black widow out for blood.

Date Posted:      May 9, 2017

Reviewed in The Intelligencer[1]

Another international thriller that finds Gabriel Allon, an art restorer, spy, and assassin, poised to become the chief of Israel’s secret intelligence service, suddenly grappling with an ISIS mastermind. On the eve of his promotion, events conspire to lure him into the field for one final operation. ISIS has detonated a massive bomb in the Marais district of Paris, and a desperate French government wants Gabriel to eliminate the man responsible before he can strike again.

[1] The Intelligencer (22, 2, Fall 2016, p. 142 ).

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The English Teacher


Title:                      The English Teacher

Author:                 Yiftach Reicher Atir;

Reicher Atir, Yiftach (2016). The English Teacher: A Novel. New York: Penguin Books

LCCN:    2015049266

PJ5055.39.E42 M6713 2016

Summary

  • “For readers of John Le Carre and viewers of Homeland, a slow-burning psychological spy-thriller by a former brigadier general of intelligence in the Israeli army. After attending her father’s funeral, former Mossad agent Rachel Goldschmitt empties her bank account and disappears. But when she makes a cryptic phone call to her former handler, Ehud, the Mossad sends him to track her down. Finding no leads, he must retrace her career as a spy to figure out why she abandoned Mossad before she can do any damage to Israel. But he soon discovers that after living under cover for so long, an agent’s assumed identity and her real one can blur, catching loyalty, love, and truth between them. In the midst of a high-risk, high-stakes investigation, Ehud begins to question whether he ever knew his agent at all. In The English Teacher, Yiftach R. Atir drew on his own experience in intelligence to weave a psychologically nuanced thriller that explores the pressures of living under an assumed identity for months at a time”.– Provided by publisher.

Subjects

Date Posted:      May 8, 2017

Reviewed in The Intelligencer[1]

After attending her father’s funeral, former Mossad agent Rachel Goldschmitt empties her bank account and disappears. But when she makes a cryptic phone call to her former handler, Ehud, the Mossad sends him to track her down. Finding no leads, he must retrace her career as a spy to figure out why she abandoned Mossad before she can do any damage to Israel. But he soon discovers that after living under cover for so long, an agent’s assumed identity and her real one can blur, catching loyalty, love, and truth between them. In the midst of the investigation, Ehud begins to question whether he ever knew his agent at all.

[1] The Intelligencer (22, 2, Fall 2016, p. 142 ).

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