cover image The Hapsburg Variation: A Cold War Thriller

The Hapsburg Variation: A Cold War Thriller

Bill Rapp. Coffeetown, $15.95 trade paper (264p) ISBN 978-1-60381-643-4

Set in 1955, Rapp’s sturdy second thriller featuring Karl Baier (after 2015’s Tears of Innocence) finds the CIA officer stationed in Vienna as the deputy chief of station. An early morning summons from the Austrian Interior Ministry takes Baier to the banks of the Danube, where a shooting victim, an elderly man wearing an old Wehrmacht coat, has been found. Representatives of the three other occupying powers—French, British, and Russian—are already there. After examining the crime scene and concluding that the victim may be an Austrian POW recently repatriated from the Soviet Union, Baier returns home, where a mysterious Austrian visitor awaits him. The man, who won’t give his name, tells Baier that the murder could have international repercussions if it turns out to be connected to the upcoming signing of a peace settlement and state treaty that will restore Austria’s independence. The stranger also warns Baier that his wife, who’s visiting her family near Leipzig, may be in danger. Rapp, a 35-year veteran of the CIA, fills his tale of Cold War intrigue with authentic historical detail. (Dec.)