cover image Last Train from Berlin

Last Train from Berlin

W. T. Tyler, Author Henry Holt & Company $22.5 (369p) ISBN 978-0-8050-2338-1

A somber Cold War espionage story set during the Reagan administration, Tyler's ( Rogue's March ) sixth novel lacks the energy and excitement needed to make it a real page-turner. Young CIA agent Kevin Corkery is assigned to investigate the sudden disappearance of Frank Dudley, a career agent on the threshold of retirement. As Corkery discovers, Dudley was investigating Alexei Andreyev, a Soviet defector who was presumed dead, but is in fact alive behind the Iron Curtain. Corkery can't figure out what is so important about Andreyev, and his superiors at the CIA aren't about to tell him. Tyler is adept at exploring a world in which peeling away one layer of deception simply reveals two more. Everybody is hiding something, or lying about something, if for no other reason than because that's what they do for a living. Though well written and tightly plotted, the book's tone is earnest rather than exciting, and some of the lies and deceptions are likely to confuse the reader as well as Corkery. Obviously meant to be a serious thriller, it doesn't quite succeed because, in truth, there is very little thrill. (Jan.)