cover image The Second Son

The Second Son

Jonathan Rabb, FSG/Sarah Crichton, $26 (336p) ISBN 978-0-374-29913-2

Set in 1936, Rabb's gripping conclusion to his Berlin noir trilogy featuring Chief Insp. Nikolai Hoffner (after Rosa and Shadow and Light) finds the 62-year-old Hoffner forced into retirement because the Nazis have discovered that his late mother was Jewish. Meanwhile, Hoffner's filmmaker second son, Georg, has left his wife and son in Berlin to travel to Barcelona, where the People's Olympics, games intended to protest the spectacle of Hitler's Olympics, are scheduled to take place. But the outbreak of civil war in Spain ensures that these alternative games never happen. Letters that Georg pens to his wife describing the conflicting factions—well-organized Fascists on the right, a motley array of socialists and anarchists on the left—will resonate with admirers of George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia. After Georg goes missing, Hoffner embarks on a dangerous and perhaps quixotic search to bring his son safely home. Fans of Alan Furst and Philip Kerr will be rewarded. (Feb.)