Under Occupation

Alan Furst. Random House, $27 (224p) ISBN 978-0-399-59230-0
Furst (A Hero of France) sets his latest espionage thriller in occupied Paris during the early 1940s. Paul Ricard, a spy novelist, witnesses an altercation between the Gestapo and a mysterious man, who hands Ricard a hand-drawn detonator schematic before being shot dead. Recognizing the importance of the document, Ricard uses his contacts to ferry the drawing to the English, and in the process becomes an agent for the resistance. Working with his friend Kasia, and under the direction of the alluring Leila, Ricard takes on assignment after assignment, the danger for his life ever increasing as he travels throughout France and Germany. Ricard’s profession as a writer makes for a metafictional treat, as he pens a new spy novel while working for the Resistance, complete with story beats that echo his own journey. As always, Furst writes at breakneck speed, thrusting Ricard into adventure. This moves the action along, yet frequently sacrifices emotion, particularly when everyman Ricard is tasked with violent acts. While sure to please the author’s many fans, the novel, replete with curvy women for Ricard to romance, nevertheless misses opportunities to dig deep within its protagonist, making for an exciting, if shallow, romp. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 08/15/2019
Release date: 11/26/2019
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 468 pages - 978-1-984886-95-8
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