Saturday, August 9, 2008

Garden of Beasts by Jeffrey Deaver

I LOVE a great Jeffrey Deaver book and over all these years, there was only one that I couldn't get into - but I really enjoyed Garden of Beasts. I decided to take some time for myself over the long July 4th weekend and that meant, I should read a Jeffery Deaver book :)

Garden of Beasts is set in the 1930's in Nazi German. Hitler is coming to power and some people were already beginning to see what a threat Hitler and Nazi Germany could become.

I love that the "hero" of the story is a button man. He kills people for money. But, he is very clear that he only kills bad people - people that deserve to die. Fixing nature's mistakes - that kind of thing. In the opening pages, he is waiting for his mark to come home, but something is wrong. Then he receives a call that the law is waiting for him downstairs. It seems that things are over for our hero before chapter 2, but this is a Deaver book - which means there will be plenty of twists and turns.

Our "hero" is offered a deal - if he will go to Germany to kill someone, he will be paid and can start a new life. He has a girlfriend and thinks this would be good. He can invest in the family printing business and live a respectable life. The only problem is that he has to go into Nazi Germany and kill one of Hitler's top men.

The mark is the man who is strategizing the rearmament of the Nazi party. He is finding loopholes for Hitler to build the army etc that it needs to be a world power - and still maintaining the appearance to the world that Hitler is within the limits set after World War I.

Our hero - Paul Schumann is off to Germany and his first day in town, there is a dead body and the Nazi's have been alerted that an assassin is in town. The olympics are about to start and Hitler wants the appearance of a peaceful city - the dead body and several skirmishes aren't helping his plans.

There are more twists and turns than I could layout for you here - but suffice it to say, every time you think the story is over - Deaver has another surprise waiting for you. There is great background and interesting perspectives on many of the big people in the Nazi party. I had to wonder how much of these comments and insights were true and how many were a fictional author taking some liberties :)

The array of characters in this book will give you insights into many aspects of Nazi Germany and the people who became collateral damage during Hitler's rise to power. There are many things in the book that you have to wonder if it could have been true. I can warn you that when you get to the last quarter of the book - don't even plan to put the book down. There is far too much happening and the twists and turns come at you at a lightning pace. Just settle into your chair and get a tall cold drink because you will be turning pages until you reach the end.

THe book is about 540 pages, but I easily finished it in part of 3 days. Its a very quick read and there is certainly enough to keep you interested. As in every Deaver book - don't think you know what will happen, because he has many tricks up his sleeves, that is one of the reasons I love his books. No one writes a thriller like Jeffrey Deaver.

PS - When I grow up I want to write like Jeffrey Deaver - in the mean time I'm going to keep searching for tricks of the trade in his books :)

Nikki Leigh

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