From the creators of Smallville comes a unique debut thriller that takes readers back to the 1960s, offering up another theory about Hitler’s demise.
From Korean War veteran to director of preservation for the Library of Congress’s National Film Archive, David Toland wants nothing more than to leave behind the life of war and fighting. Instead, he’s pursuing his passion, doing his part to preserve the Golden Age of American cinema, a skill and expertise that lands him squarely on the radar of CIA Agent Lana Welles, who goes to him with a film canister that was smuggled over the Berlin Wall by a KGB agent who is now working with the West and is said to hold vital information.
Covered with bullet holes and worn nearly to the point of no return, a reluctant Toland begins to work his magic on the film, which, unbeknownst to him, contains a deep, dark secret that more than a few will kill to protect. Side-stepping would-be assassins and multiple attempts on his life, David completes his project and is floored when the footage rolls to show Hitler executing a body double whose corpse was then left in the Fuehrer’s bunker.
Stunned by the mind-bending revelation, David and Lana search out the truth, heading to Europe in pursuit of the real Hitler, all the while knowing what few else have realized . . . that World War II might not be over.
Gough and Millar obviously know how to tell a story, and they excel at sucking readers in with a great hook and promise of what’s the come. The setting is well-described, easily transporting readers to the 1960s, and there’s plenty of info about film preservation, etc. The problem is that while the story set up is deliciously creative, it’s not told in the realistic and traditional way that spy enthusiasts might expect from, say, Joseph Kanon or even Philip Kerr. And while it makes all the sense in the world that none of the characters can upstage Hitler on the page, other than his initial brief backstory, David Toland is a tad underdeveloped. Even so, as long as readers understand this isn’t a prolific work of fiction, but rather the equivalent of a popcorn action flick, they should settle in just fine for a fun, wild adventure.
Author: Miles Millar & Alfred Gough
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: March 26, 2019
Book Spy Rating: 7.5/10
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.