Happy Monday! Time to kick off the week with a blog tour 🙂
Thanks so much to Knopf Publishing for the free advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
SAFE HOUSES – Dan Fesperman (Releasing tomorrow!)
In this gripping new work of suspense from the author of The Double Game, a young woman discovers a nefarious truth at the heart of the CIA’s operations in postwar Berlin and goes on the run for her life; years later she’s gruesomely murdered along with her husband, and her daughter begins to chase down these startling secrets from her past.
West Berlin, 1979. Helen Abell oversees the CIA’s network of safe houses, rare havens for field agents and case officers amidst the dangerous milieu of a city in the grips of the Cold War. Helen’s world is upended when, during her routine inspection of an agency property, she overhears a meeting between two people unfamiliar to her speaking a coded language that hints at shadowy realities far beyond her comprehension. Before the day is out, she witnesses a second unauthorized encounter, one that will place her in the sightlines of the most ruthless and powerful man at the agency. Her attempts to expose the dark truths about what she has witnessed will bring about repercussions that reach across decades and continents into the present day, when, in a farm town in Maryland, a young man is arrested for the double murder of his parents, and his sister takes it upon herself to find out why he did it.
My Thoughts: 4/5 stars!
For those of you that have followed my reviews before, you’ll know that I love a good espionage or spy thriller. When I saw the synopsis for SAFE HOUSES by Dan Fesperman, i was immediately intrigued.
In this spy thriller we follow some strong female protagonists and jump between two different timelines. Helen is a CIA agent that is stationed in Berlin during the Cold War, the year is 1979 and the Wall is still intact. Helen stumbles upon some information that was recorded in one of her safe houses. When she goes to erase the recording, she is a witness to another unspeakable act, and she doesn’t realize how much this interaction could put her in danger and have far reaching repercussions.
The second story is set in Maryland and the year is 2014. Anna has hired an investigator to look into the murder of her parents. Despite her brother Willard already being convicted of the brutal murder, she doesn’t believe that he could have possibly done such a horrible thing. With the help of her PI, she begins to uncover deep secrets from her mother’s past that could put her life in jeopardy.
I don’t want to give away much more because it would be so easy to accidentally spoil this one. What I loved about this was how well the author set the scene for both stories. Berlin on the tail end of the Cold War, the way life was with the Wall still standing, and how dangerous it was for an American spy. It was refreshing seeing two female leads in this novel – typically the spies are males in this genre.
This was my first novel by Fesperman, but it definitely won’t be my last! I enjoyed his writing style and the pacing of the story. There were bursts of action throughout and it kept my interest piqued even if there was a slower moment in the story. If you’re not normally a fan of spy thrillers, I would recommend giving this one a chance! I would say this is more thriller and mystery, so don’t let the spy and espionage element deter you.
About the Author:
Dan Fesperman’s travels as a writer have taken him to thirty countries and three war zones. Lie in the Dark won the Crime Writers’ Association of Britain’s John Creasey Memorial Dagger Award for best first crime novel, The Small Boat of Great Sorrows won their Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for best thriller, and The Prisoner of Guantánamo won the Dashiell Hammett Award from the International Association of Crime Writers. He lives in Baltimore.
Make sure to check out all of the other amazing blogs in the tour to see their thoughts on this new espionage thriller 🙂