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4.4 out of 5 stars28
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 10 March 2015
Very enjoyable trip to pre-war Berlin. I look forward to further adventures with Hannah
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on 30 April 2013
having never read or even heard of Rebeccas' books until late last year when I heard she was writing a book with another of my favourite authors I was a little sceptical about adding another author to my list.
I am so glad I, this book immerses you in Berlin in the early 1930's. the intrigue and twists in the novel make this a great page turner and made me want to read it in one sitting.
so glad I stumbled across this author and am looking forward to picking up the rest of the series to see where Hannah and Rebecca will take me next.
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on 12 August 2012
Somewhat surprisingly I struggled through A Trace of Smoke. I've been thinking about why as it has many of the ingredients that I normally like - good historical context and sense of place, an interesting plot, and a good mix of distinctive characters. After a bit of reflection, I think there are four reasons. First, I found the writing a little flat and pedestrian. Second, the dialogue really didn't work for me - it's too formal and stilted. There are very little, if any, colloquialisms, slang, hesitations or stumblings, swearing or personal inflections, and the style of the dialogues doesn't vary across characters or situations. Third, the book seemed to try and blend romance/cosy with noir, two sub-genres that I think are always destined to make awkward bedfellows. Fourth, the story is told in a first person voice I had difficulty connecting to. That all said, the story is interesting and I think A Trace of Smoke will appeal to many readers and it's certainly been well reviewed by others. I enjoyed the story, I just struggled with how it was told, and despite all my reservations I would be curious to know what happens to Hannah and Anton next.
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on 30 May 2013
This book stunned me. I am not usually one to read mysteries,
I usually find them slow and predictable. However this book was neither. I
have A.D.H.D. so its hard for me to be able to start a book, get into it and
then continue it to the end if it doesn't hold my attention. I started to read
this book and was unable to stop till real life called me away. Even then a
week later I couldn't help but find the book still held my attention enough that
in my first free time I had again, I just had to finish. Now I cant wait to read
the next book in the series "A night of long knives". I found that I could see myself
alot in the main character Hannah. In fact I found her inspiring. Without giving any
spoilers to the book itself I will say I can relate to Hannah in so many ways like,
scraping by with very little food to survive but always trying to show a stronger
side of myself to others, while hiding my true emotions as to not draw attention.
I found her very determined and resourceful and strong willed even in her weaker
moments. The characters all had very different personalities which kept you on
your toes as to what each one will do in different situations as she hunts down
her brothers killer all while her life is turned upside down into a roller coaster
ride of mystery. I also have to admit I have never read a book even remotely like
A trace of smoke. But I loved it and even learned some things along the way. I suggest
this book to anyone who likes mystery books or is still looking for one that will
surprise them and catch their interest. And now I am going to start the next book in the series
because I cant wait to see what kind of adventure Hannah will have next :)
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on 20 April 2013
Even though I had read a hardcover version I wanted this book on my e-reader. I sat down as soon as it arrived and started reading. I did not stop until I had finished. I even read the glossary and author's statement at the end, detailing her research. I love a good mystery, but I do not think that is the whole reason I found this book so compelling.
Certainly the plot is strong - a solid, intriguing, "play-fair" puzzle with subtle clues, parceled out just so. The heroine, Hannah, is incredibly resourceful, and toughened by a hard life. As a crime reporter she has seen the worst of human behavior. She thinks she has hardened her tender heart, but the depths of her compassion gives her a kind of courage that we might all aspire to. The other characters are equally vivid. The small boy - an abandoned waif - who steals her heart stole mine, as well. Rich details of life in Berlin as the Nazis rise to power are both beautiful and terrifying.
A Trace of Smoke has the perfect blend of intrigue, suspense, romance, terror, relief and tenderness. A strong plot, vivid characters, sensory details of place and time, are all woven together with the light touch of a master story-teller.
But this is not just a great read. There's something more important, and more compelling, here. This heroine (and the author) has the courage to look at the darkest moments of human behavior (and in the case of the author - of human history ) and scrutinize it. To shine the light of curiosity and criticism on dark deeds and dark times.
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on 9 May 2013
Rebecca has written and crafted a wonderfully tight plotted story set in Berlin 1930's. Hannah will draw you in with her refined tough character and leave you clambering for the next book.

I will not go into story detail because I hate reading reviews with them. That's what the inside jacket cover is for, but I will tell you this: This story has a great ending that will not disappoint. So many times I've read books and have been left with that 'so what' feeling. Not the case with Rebecca!!! She never cheats her fans!!!

Also have a look at her collaboration with James Rollins in Blood Gospel. I have never read a more perfectly intertwined collaboration than this book. You can clearly see both of them at work here. James with his technical prose and Rebecca with her subtle romance and charm. Simply splendid!
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on 20 April 2013
Such an amazing read. Rebecca Cantrell takes us on a suspenseful ride of 1931 Berlin brimming with intrigue, suspicion and murder. This capable writer presents visuals and details so rich you can feel the atmosphere, and appreciate varied cultures fraught with trepidation as to what Germany and its people will become. Hannah Vogel, Anton, Boris and especially Ernst are captivating characters, memorable and lasting. I read every word of this debut novel as I didn't want to rush or miss a single detail. Kudos to Ms. Cantrell on the awards already bestowed. I look forward to more of Hannah, Anton and Boris in "A Night of Long Knives."
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on 8 March 2013
I found the whole way of writing much too slow and laborious for me, too much descriptive narrative and not enough action
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