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Garden of Beasts: A Novel of Berlin 1936by Jeffery Deaver
Synopses & Reviews
In the most ingenious and provocative thriller yet from the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Jeffery Deaver, a conscience-plagued mobster turned government hitman struggles to find his moral compass amid rampant treachery and betrayal in 1936 Berlin. Paul Schumann, a German American living in New York City in 1936, is a mobster hitman known as much for his brilliant tactics as for taking only "righteous" assignments. But then Paul gets caught. And the arresting officer offers him a stark choice: prison or covert government service. Paul is asked to pose as a journalist covering the summer Olympics taking place in Berlin. He's to hunt down and kill Reinhard Ernst — the ruthless architect of Hitler's clandestine rearmament. If successful, Paul will be pardoned and given the financial means to go legit; if he refuses the job, his fate will be Sing Sing and the electric chair. Paul travels to Germany, takes a room in a boardinghouse near the Tiergarten — the huge park in central Berlin but also, literally, the "Garden of Beasts" — and begins his hunt. In classic Deaver fashion, the next forty-eight hours are a feverish cat-and-mouse chase, as Paul stalks Ernst through Berlin while a dogged Berlin police officer and the entire Third Reich apparatus search frantically for the American. Garden of Beasts is packed with fascinating period detail and features a cast of perfectly realized locals, Olympic athletes and senior Nazi officials — some real, some fictional. With hairpin plot twists, the reigning "master of ticking-bomb suspense" (People) plumbs the nerve-jangling paranoia of prewar Berlin and steers the story to a breathtaking and wholly unpredictable ending.
"Deaver fans expect the unexpected from this prodigiously talented thriller writer, and the creator of the Lincoln Rhyme series and other memorable yarns (The Blue Nowhere, etc.) doesn't disappoint with his 19th novel, this time offering a deliciously twisty tale set in Nazi Berlin. The book's hero is a mob 'button man,' or hit man, Paul Schumann, who's nabbed in the act in New York City but given an alternative to the electric chair: to go to Berlin undercover as a journalist writing about the upcoming Olympics, in order to assassinate Col. Reinhard Ernst, the chief architect of Hitler's militarization, seen as a threat to American interests. A German spy onboard Paul's transatlantic liner grows suspicious and sends a warning to Germany before Paul discovers and kills him. Then in Berlin, Paul, en route to meet his contact, kills a second suspicious man who may be a storm trooper, setting Insp. Willi Kohl of the Berlin police, or Kripo, on his trail. Deaver weaves the three manhunts — Paul after his target, Kohl after Paul and the Nazi hierarchy after Paul — with a deft hand, bringing to frightening life the Berlin of 1936, a city on the brink of madness. Top Nazis, including Hitler, Himmler and Göring, make colorful cameos, but it's the smart, shaded-gray characterizations of the principals that anchor the exciting plot. An affecting love affair between Paul and his German landlady goes in surprising directions, as do the main plot lines, which move outside Berlin as heroes become villains and vice versa. This is prime Deaver, which means prime entertainment." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Although not known for historical fiction, Deaver takes the new genre in stride, subtly and plausibly working real people into the tale while delivering his signature sense of story, depth of characterization, and sharply rendered dialogue." Booklist
"Following Schumann through a multitude of twists, turns, and betrayals is exciting and helps illuminate the early days of the Third Reich. Highly recommended." Library Journal
"Just the thing for readers who'd like to channel their frustration over the current geopoliticalmess into the traditional American values of cleverness, adaptability, and vigilante violence in the best of all possible causes." Kirkus Reviews
The reigning "master of ticking-bomb suspense" (People), Jeffery Deaver writes exquisite page turners fueled by lightning-paced narratives, unexpected plot twists, and true-to-Iife characters. Such qualities are employed to brilliant effect in Garden of Beasts, a gripping international thriller that introduces Deaver's most psychologically complex hero to date.
Called the reigning "master of ticking-bomb suspense" (People), Deaver has written a gripping international thriller — with a range of real political figures and Olympic athletes — that introduces his most psychologically complex hero to date.
About the Author
Jeffery Deaver is the author of twenty-one suspense novels, including the New York Times bestsellers The Vanished Man, The Stone Monkey, The Blue Nowhere, The Empty Chair, The Devil's Teardrop, and The Coffin Dancer, as well as The Bone Collector and Speaking in Tongues. As William Jefferies, he is the author of Shallow Graves, Bloody River Blues, and Hell's Kitchen. He is a five-time Edgar Award nominee, an Anthony Award nominee, and a three-time recipient of the Ellery Queen Reader's Award for Best Short Story of the Year. Deaver was born in Chicago, attended the University of Missouri, and received a law degree from Fordham University in New York. Readers can visit his website at www.jefferydeaver.com.
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