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german 2My new thriller, The German Agent, is now available in the United States.

A quick blurb:

A ruthless German spy is torn between love and duty in this powerful espionage thriller

February, 1917. A lone German agent is dispatched to Washington to prevent the British delivering a telegram to President Woodrow Wilson – by any means possible. For this is the Zimmermann telegram: it contains a devastating piece of news which is sure to bring the USA into the war on the side of Britain and her allies.

Having fought in the trenches himself, Max Volkman knows that America’s involvement will only prolong the slaughter of innocents and is implacable in his determination to kill the British envoy carrying the telegram. But when his pursuit of the Englishman leads him to the home of American heiress Catherine Fitzgerald, wife to one of Washington’s most powerful politicians, he is presented with a terrible choice: loyalty to his comrades in the trenches or the loss of the one woman he has ever truly loved.

His decision will determine the outcome of the First World War.

Also see my earlier post re the inspiration and historical background of the novel. Also see a lengthy interview at The Big Thrill.

Here’s what some of the critics are saying about The German Agent:

“Jones is generous with his action sequences, most of which find Volkman barely escaping capture. He’s also dexterous at re-creating the sights and sounds of Wilson-era D.C. You can almost smell the cigar smoke and hear the sighs of hand-rubbed leather as this story transports you inside retreats of the privileged. And its street scenes—filled with the rattle of automobiles as they claim increasing dominance over roadways—and episodes in the city’s less-tony quarters show Jones to be a writer who can strike that careful balance between demonstrating his historical research and maintaining his tale’s momentum.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Beautifully written and the details of the period hold great interest … the agent is initially determined to carry out his role and there are some good chase sequences and the way in which he stalks the British man carrying the relevant information is fascinating.”–Thinking about Books

“This book is centred around one of the most intriguing diplomatic incidents of World War I – the Zimmermann Telegram.”–Crime Fiction Lover

150thI  had the honor to contribute an essay to a Festschrift for the 150th anniversary of the opening of Vienna’s Ringstrasse, the grand boulevard that encircles the Inner City: Vienna’s Champs-Élysées.

Recently, I read this essay at a Vienna Salon organized by the Vienna Tourist Board at San Francisco’s Ritz Carlton. I include the essay below for those interested.

My connection to Vienna has always been a visceral one: I came of age in that city; it is my second home. Thus, my addition to the essays from thirteen writers around the world is much more of a personal anecdote than a historical reflection. Continue Reading »

w552873My newest mystery/thriller comes out this April, the first of a new series set in Europe in the 1990s.

Here’s a brief synopsis:

Expat American journalist Sam Kramer is burned out: too many dead bodies, too many wars covered, too little meaning in it all. He’s got a dead-end job at the Daily European as the correspondent for Vienna, where nothing happens now that the Cold War is over. And that is exactly how Kramer likes it.

But his private neutral zone is shattered with news of the suicide of Reni Müller, a German left-wing firebrand and Kramer’s long-estranged ex-girlfriend. To his surprise, Kramer suddenly finds himself the executor of Reni’s literary estate—but the damning memoir named in her will is nowhere to be found. Tracking down the manuscript will lead Kramer to the unsettling truth of Reni’s death, drawing him back into the days of the Cold War and showing him the dark side of the woman he loved.

n437239If you have not yet had the chance to read my WWII thriller, today would be a good day to pick up an e-book version. My publishers, Mysterious Press/Open Road, are offering it–and a couple hundred other titles–at 80% off.

Click on it here

 

REVIEWS:
“The story is solid and suspenseful …but it’s the relationship between Morgan and Beck, two men who don’t like or trust one another, that makes the book such a rich, powerful read. Fans of WWII mystery fiction should consider this one mandatory reading.” David Pitt, Booklist

“Capt. Nathan Morgan, an NYPD homicide detective, and Chief Insp. Werner Beck, a former German Kripo investigator … make a promising sleuthing pair.”   Publishers Weekly

Included in Kirkus Review’s Last Chance: 10 Criminoous Yarns to Get You Through 2013″

Ruin Value remains a bold piece of writing and a very pleasing serial killer investigation and thriller. It’s well worth reading.” Thinking about Books

” I could almost taste the fear and dust and decay as I read it. … Definitely a case of right book at the right time!” Col’s Criminal Library

“Perfect for  readers of  historical crime fiction who like mysteries set in immediate postwar Europe and for readers who might be looking for a new crime writer who can whip up a good plot and keep it going consistently throughout the book… it’s rich in setting and the crime is well plotted.”      Crime Segments

“The unlikely duo of Morgan and Beck get the job done despite some friction in their teamwork. The writing is terrific and brings post-war Nuremberg vividly to life. The main characters are interesting and likeable, and the author does a very good job of working with the post-war setting instead of disguising modern characters and attitudes in 1945 attire.”    At the Scene of the Crime

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERASam Hawken has made the Texas borderlands his own unique home in a number of well received and hard-hiting crime novels. His first novel, the 2011 work, The Dead Women of Juarez, was published in the UK and used the real-life tragedy of female homicides in the Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez as the stepping-off point for a story of corruption, despair and redemption. It was shortlisted by the Crime Writers Association for the John Creasy New Blood Dagger.

Tequila  Sunset followed in 2012, returning once again to Ciudad Juárez and its sister city, El Paso, Texas. This time Hawken drew upon the legacy of the infamous gang Barrio Azteca, at one time responsible for over 80% of the murders in Juárez, formerly the murder capital of the world. Once again, the Crime Writers Association recognized Hawken’s work, nominating the novel for the Gold Dagger (best crime novel of the year). Continue Reading »

german 2It’s been a hundred years since the beginning of the ‘war to end all wars’, and there have been a spate of books published this year looking at all aspects of World War One. I add a fictional element with The German Agent, a thriller set in Washington, DC, in 1917. Though the war had raged in Europe, the Middle East, and even parts of Africa for three years, the U.S. did not join in hostilities until 1917. The German Agent provides background to how we got involved in the international stage and is also a good, old-fashioned thriller in the style of Ken Follett.

The German Agent is available in England at the end of  September, and coming to the U.S. market in January, 2015. First a quick blurb, and please read on for a post on the inspiration for the book:

A ruthless German spy is torn between love and duty in this powerful espionage thriller

February, 1917. A lone German agent is dispatched to Washington to prevent the British delivering a telegram to President Woodrow Wilson – by any means possible. For this is the Zimmermann telegram: it contains a devastating piece of news which is sure to bring the USA into the war on the side of Britain and her allies.

Having fought in the trenches himself, Max Volkman knows that America’s involvement will only prolong the slaughter of innocents and is implacable in his determination to kill the British envoy carrying the telegram. But when his pursuit of the Englishman leads him to the home of American heiress Catherine Fitzgerald, wife to one of Washington’s most powerful politicians, he is presented with a terrible choice: loyalty to his comrades in the trenches or the loss of the one woman he has ever truly loved.

His decision will determine the outcome of the First World War.

Continue Reading »

barry-lancet-4-thumbBarry Lancet is the author of the Jim Brodie series of thrillers, featuring the Tokyo-based PI and antiques dealer. Lancet hit the ground running with the first novel in the series, Japantown, which was nominated for a Barry Award and selected as the Best Debut of the Year by Suspense Magazine in 2013. It was highly praised by critics. Booklist called it a “solid mystery with a memorable protagonist, the book captures our interest from the first page,” while the New York Times dubbed it a “sophisticated international thriller.” Japantown was also optioned for television by J. J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions, in association with Warner Bros. Continue Reading »

indexGerman has a word for someone who exhibits this sort of behavior: Arschloch.

Mea culpa, I plead guilty to the symptoms of this malaise more than once in my life, but the one instance that sticks out most in memory is in the spring of 1969 on a trip to Berlin.

As in East Germany. Yes, that East Germany: Checkpoint Charlie, spies in trench coats and fedoras, the Wall, building facades pockmarked with artillery damage a quarter century after the end of World War II. After the Abu Ghraib photos and the NSA disclosures, the Cold War seems an almost romantic place. Nothing romantic about it, however, if you were on ground zero at the time.

Berlin was ground zero for the Cold War.

It was not a smart time for me to display my Arschloch side. Continue Reading »

(LEHTIKUVA)

(LEHTIKUVA)

I just learned that author Jim Thompson died in Finland on August 2. It’s a shocker and my thoughts go out to his wife. Jim was a long-time resident of Finland and penned four books in the popular Inspector Vaara series. The fifth, Helsinki Dead, was left unfinished at the time of his very untimely death at the age of 49. According to one Finnish source, James was apparently killed in an accident.

Born in Kentucky, Jim packed a lot into his all too short life. In addition to being a successful author, Jim had variously turned his hand to being a bartender, bouncer, construction worker, photographer, rare coin dealer, soldier and wrestling announcer. He earned a Master’s degree in English Philology from the University of Helsinki and spoke six languages.

I have run posts on Jim and his work a couple of times. As I recall, I was introduced to Jim and his work by Leighton Gage, another writer no longer with us. I find myself reverting to useless euphemisms at times like this; at times like this words don’t seem very useful. For a brief obit/bio, see this piece in the Helsinki Times.

We never met in person, but Jim was just one of those special people it was an honor to have known. He cared so very much about his craft and was savvy about the book business, kind to friends, and not one to suffer fools gladly.

I’ll miss him–I am sure there are a lot of you out there who will too.

img_0005Jason Goodwin is a British historian and author of the popular historical mystery novels featuring the eunuch detective Yashim and set in Istanbul during the early nineteenth century. The world of the Ottoman Empire figures importantly in the series, and Cambridge-educated Goodwin brings that world vividly to life in his novels, having already dealt with it in has narrative history, Lords of the Horizons: A History of the Ottoman Empire. The Yashim series debut, The Janissary Tree, earned Goodwin an Edgar Award for the Best Novel in 2007.

Second in the series, The Snake Stone, won critical praise from many quarters. Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Marilyn Stasio noted: “When you read a historical mystery by Jason Goodwin, you take a magic carpet ride to the most exotic place on earth.” The Washington Post also commended that series addition, observing: “The real pleasure of The Snake Stone lies in its powerful evocation of the cultural melting pot that was nineteenth-century Istanbul. . . . Goodwin’s sharp eye combines with a poetic style to bring the city vividly to life.” Book three in the series, The Bellini Card, prompted laudatory words from Publishers Weekly: “Goodwin skillfully blends deduction, action sequences and period color.” The fourth series installment, An Evil Eye,was published in the spring of 2011, and Publishers Weekly dubbed it “masterful.” Continue Reading »