Two of my favorite writers have published new novels this summer. Alan Furst and Joseph Kanon are somewhat similar in their subject matter and style. Both write historical novels set in the dangerous and fearful middle years of the 20th century, usually just before, during or just after WWII. Their novels are very evocative of this dark period, placing the reader in the time and place with description and telling details. Their characters are compelling and well developed; “real-life” characters are also included.
Furst’s latest is Mission to Paris, about a famous Hollywood star who travels to Paris in the late 30’s, where he becomes an object of interest to the Nazis who want to use him for propaganda purposes. He soon finds himself using this position to gain intelligence in Berlin and elsewhere for the Allies.
Kanon’s novel is Istanbul Passage, in which American business man Leon Bauer was swept up in WWII intrigue when he became an operative helping to transport refugees from Istanbul to safety in western Europe. After the war, he takes on one more assignment that turns into a disaster.