cover image Lehrter Station

Lehrter Station

David Downing. Soho Crime, $25 (304p) ISBN 978-1-61695-074-3

Set in late 1945, Downing’s outstanding fifth novel featuring Anglo-American journalist John Russell (after 2011’s Potsdam Station) centers on Russell’s efforts to fulfill his part of his deal with the devil that extricated his family from Berlin during WWII. NKVD agents approach Russell in London with two demands: first, that he return to Berlin to spy on some Germans to assess their political leanings and gauge the implications for the Soviet Union if Germany becomes socialist; second, that he volunteer to assist American intelligence, in essence becoming a double agent. Russell hopes that acceding to these terms will end his obligations. The stakes rise when his handlers arrange for his lover, actress Effi Koenen, to return to Berlin to appear in a German movie. A violent robbery by the Lehrter Station Gang, former Russian POWs who prefer crime to returning home, places the pair in jeopardy even before they arrive in Berlin. Philip Kerr and Alan Furst fans will be pleased. Agent: Charlie Viney, the Viney Agency. (May)