The Berlin Conspiracy

Tom Gabbay, Author
Tom Gabbay, Author . Morrow $24.95 (294p) ISBN 978-0-06-078785-1
Reviewed on: 11/07/2005
Release date: 01/01/2006
Hardcover - 294 pages - 978-0-7278-6629-5
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-06-204149-4
Hardcover - 453 pages - 978-0-7862-8458-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 320 pages - 978-0-06-078788-2
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Wallowing in a post–Bay of Pigs funk, ex-CIA agent Jack Teller is called out of retirement in 1963 and sent to Berlin to meet an East German agent with a message for Jack's ears only in the debut of screenwriter and former TV producer Gabbay. Jack is floored by both his contact's identity—he's his long-lost brother—and his information about a plot to kill President Kennedy during an upcoming visit to West Berlin. His dormant idealism roused, Jack delves into the conspiracy while dodging the threats of corrupt CIA higherups and falling in with colorful residents of Berlin's Cold War demimonde. Mixing cynical world-weariness with dead-pan humor and a refreshing lack of Bond-style omnicompetence (random mishaps include a nasty dog bite and a disastrous attempt to shoot off a pair of handcuffs), Jack's story is part John le Carré and part Elmore Leonard. Gabbay constructs the thriller as a dress rehearsal and what-if scenario for the actual Dallas assassination. With rogue intelligence operatives, gangsters, Texas tycoons and a mob of snipers, coverup hit men, fall guys, fall guy impersonators, and miscellaneous functionaries all jostling each other, the plot's many moving parts make the climax a virtual parody of ponderous JFK conspiracy theories. But until this odd turn, Gabbay offers a stylish thriller with an appealing hero. (Jan. 3)

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