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This review is from: Stettin Station (Paperback)
This is the third in the Joihn Russell series from Downing. Like te previous 2 (Zoo & Silesian Stations) this is set in Berlin, here in the run up to Pearl Harbour.
Russell is an English journalist, with an American passport, working in Nazi Berlin in order stay with his actress girlfriend and close to his half German son. He is an ex-communist who hates the Nazi party for what they have done to the Berlin that he loves.
This book os set in the few weeks leading up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour and follows Russell as he tries to find out what is happening to the city's disappearing Jewish population. This leads him and his girlfriend into danger.
At the same time he is being used as a pawn by the US intelligence services and the Abwehr and SD. He has to stay one step ahead of everyone while trying to find a way to protect his loved ones from the Nazis and a way to stay close to them if America comes into the war.
This is full of atmosphere. You can feel wartime Berlin asyou read every page. The conflict between Nazi propaganda and the experience of everyday Germans. There is the way that the news is massaged to hide what is starting to happen in Russia as the army surrounds Moscow. You feel that victory is a short step away, even though you already know the result.
The story flows quickly and there is danger at almost every turn. Russell is hunted after a mission to Prague for the Abwehr is found to be a ruse by the SD to find a conspiracy in the Abwehr's ranks.
The end is a little contrived and makes you wonder how the series can continue, maybe it'll move onto the war's end and Germany's demise next but you never feel let down or cheated.
This is a well written and engaging book that captures the author's knowledge of Nazi history and conditions in Nazi Berlin. You can feel his love of the era in every page and detail. If you haven't read a Downing book then start at Zoo Station and work your way through.