The Bells of Hell

Michael Kurland. Severn, $28.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8969-0
Set in 1938 New York City, this middling thriller from Edgar-finalist Kurland (The Infernal Device) opens promisingly enough. When Johann Steuber, posing as a German toy exporter, disembarks from his ship in Brooklyn, he’s met by two men who identify themselves as FBI agents and accuse him of being a member of the German Communist Party. Just minutes after they lead him away, the real FBI agents show up. The fake FBI agents, who are Nazi operatives, take Steuber to an abandoned building. By chance, Andrew Blake, an unemployed typesetter squatting in the building, witnesses Steuber’s torture and death. Though he was afraid to intervene, Blake does report the crime to the police and ends up being recruited by an Office of Special Intelligence agent to infiltrate a New York chapter of the Bund. After gaining the confidence of American Nazi sympathizers, Blake learns that Steuber’s abductors have a sinister plan that won’t surprise anyone who has read a lot of spy fiction set in this era. As Kurland’s Professor Moriarty series with its creative plotting and characterization shows, this author can do better. (Dec.)
Reviewed on : 09/24/2019
Release date: 08/01/2019
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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