5 days ago

A suspenseful World War II espionage thriller set in Paris

England shuddered in terror in the summer of 1940. Following the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk in May, Nazi Germany’s U-boat campaign threatened to starve the British people, and an invasion was imminent. Preparations for Operation Sea Lion were underway, revealed by a growing chorus of chatter in German radio communications. In […]

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last week

A strange murder mystery set in Poland

The title of this strange murder mystery set in Poland comes from “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” by the prophetic British poet William Blake (1757-1827), whose work figures throughout the book. Olga Tokarczuk, the Nobel Prize-winning author, tells the tale through the addled and unreliable account of a dotty older woman in a tiny […]

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a couple of weeks ago

A spellbinding WWII thriller set in neutral Sweden

What most of us in the English-speaking world know about Scandinavia’s role in World War II is largely limited to tales of the Nazi invasions of Norway and Denmark. Less well remembered are the events that unfolded in neutral Sweden, the region’s most populous country. And award-winning Swedish author Cecilia Ekbäck uses those events and […]

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3 weeks ago

The truth lies undercover in this Ghana murder mystery

Ghana’s most celebrated women’s fashion designer has been murdered in her bed, and the police investigation has, as is so often the case, gone awry. Lacking even a shred of evidence, they’ve arrested and imprisoned without trial Lady Araba’s driver and prevented the police lab from analyzing DNA gathered at the scene. Months later, Lady […]

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last month

Mick Herron’s latest spy thriller will keep you guessing

Joe Country is Mick Herron’s latest spy thriller, but why should you care? That’s easy. Think of today’s leading spy novelists, and the usual suspects will come up. John le Carré leads the list, of course (although sadly he recently died). Of those who are still living and writing, Joseph Kanon and Alan Furst surely […]

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last month

From Aya de León, a brilliant thriller that exposes the FBI’s illegal tactics

From the 1950s through the 1970s, the American intelligence establishment ran amok. Until brought up short in 1975 by the Church Committee hearings, the CIA roamed the planet, eliminating “Communist” leaders through assassination and economic sabotage from Iran to Guatemala to the Congo. Domestically, the FBI undermined activist movements both Black-led and white with undercover […]

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last month

A deeply affecting tale of child trafficking in India today

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line is one of the most highly praised novels of the past year. It’s the fiction debut of Deepa Anappara, an Indian journalist transposed to London. It seems likely that in other hands, the story she tells in this novel might well have wandered off into sensationalism, pathos, or worse. […]

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last month

They’re trying to assassinate the queen!

What is it with superheroes? Why have so many of us become obsessed with characters who transcend the boundaries of human ability? And why would an author of what might otherwise be a perfectly good spy thriller set in the Elizabethan era spoil it by endowing his protagonist with superhuman abilities? After all, people are […]

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a couple of months ago

Political opposition research dominates this edgy thriller

Lies, conspiracy theories, dirty tricks, and attack ads represent the ugly side of politics to the public at large. But the down-and-dirtiest aspects of election campaigns today emerge from political opposition research, or “oppo” in the jargon of the trade. In hopes of uncovering some hidden scandal in the life of an opposing candidate, a […]

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