Sunday, September 22, 2013

"Then We Take Berlin"

New from Atlantic Monthly Press: Then We Take Berlin by John Lawton.

About the book, from the publisher:

Joe Wilderness is a World War II orphan, a condition that he thinks excuses him from common morality. He’s a cat burglar, cardsharp, and Cockney “wide boy,” and the last thing he wants is to get drafted. But in 1946 he finds himself in the Royal Air Force, facing a stretch in military prison, when along comes Lt. Colonel Burne-Jones to tell him that MI6 has better use for his talents.

Posted to occupied Berlin, interrogating ex-Nazis, and burgling the odd apartment for MI6, Wilderness finds himself with time on his hands—and the devil making work for them. He falls in with Frank, a U.S. army captain; with Eddie, a British artilleryman; and with Yuri, a major in Russia’s NKVD. Together, they bring black-market scams to a new level. Coffee never tasted so sweet.

Soon Wilderness falls for Nell Breakheart, a German girl who has witnessed the worst that Germany could do and is driven by all the scruples that he lacks. Fifteen years later, in 1963, Wilderness is freelance and down on his luck. Frank is a big shot on Madison Avenue, cooking up one last Berlin scam, for which he needs Wilderness once more. Only now they’re not smuggling coffee, they’re smuggling people. And Nell? Nell is working for West Berlin’s mayor Willy Brandt, planning for the state visit of the most powerful man in the world: Ich bin ein Berliner!
Visit John Lawton's website.

--Marshal Zeringue