Tag Archives: spy tale

A Book I Want to Read

Jack 1939: A Novel by Francine Mathews is a book that will be released in just a few weeks by Riverhead Hardcover Books.   Here are a couple of blurbs about this tale of a young John Kennedy, and a synopsis.

“Jack 1939 is a marvel – a brilliantly conceived, riveting tightrope race across Europe in the predawn war of World War II.”   Stephen White

“Jack 1939 is a triumph: an exciting thriller, an intriguing exploration of a troubled time, and an absorbing take on the early history of one of America’s most iconic figures.   Highly recommended.”   Iain Pears

Charming.   Reckless.   Brilliant.   Deadly.

It’s the spring of 1939, and the prospect of war in Europe looms large.   The United States has no intelligence service.   In Washington, D.C., President Franklin Delano Roosevelt may run for an unprecedented third term and needs someone he can trust to find out what the Nazis are up to.   His choice:  John F. Kennedy.

It’s a surprising selection.   At twenty-two, Jack Kennedy is the attractive but somewhat unpromising second son of Joseph P. Kennedy, FDR’s ambassador to Britain (and occasional political adversary).   But when Jack decides to travel through Europe to gather research for his Harvard senior thesis, Roosevelt takes the opportunity to use him as his personal spy.   The president’s goal: to stop the flow of German money that’s been flooding the U.S.; money directed by Adolf Hitler for the purpose of preventing FDR’s re-election.

In a deft mosaic of fact and fiction, Francine Mathews has written a gripping espionage story that explores what might have happened when a young JFK is let loose in Europe as the world spins rapidly toward war.   Jack 1939 is both a potent combination of history and storytelling, and a unique, entertaining read.

Jack 1939: A Novel will be released on July 5, 2012.   It will also be available as a Kindle Edition and Nook Book download.   (Information provided by The Penguin Group, USA.)

Joseph Arellano

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Cloak and Dagger

Dark Deceptions by Dee Davis (Forever Romance)

This book is an attention-grabber with cloak and dagger action!   The general tone, energy and tension between the main characters are very much reminiscent of the television show Remington Steele from the 1980s.   Added to this basic concept is a bit of the spy and good-guys type of team play currently popular on shows like Criminal Minds and the CSI franchise (Las Vegas, Miami and New York).

The premise is a compelling mix of personal betrayal, motherly love and loyalty to the team.   The main characters, Annie and Nash, are thrown together after years of painful silence between them.   What had been a well-tuned action duo suited for espionage of the highest caliber devolved into the worst sort of estrangement.   Annie and Nash each felt that the other had deserted the love and loyalty they shared.

Enter the villains who scoop up Annie’s son from his snug bedroom and whisk him away.   Annie is the target of a kidnapping/murder/extortion plot with a twist.   She has to muster her best spy skills that are somewhat rusty after years away from the espionage game in order to comply with the kidnappers’ demands – kill their target or suffer the loss of her precious son at the hands of the kidnappers who are also terrorists.

There’s nothing like a common goal to create cooperation that supersedes personal loathing.   Annie and Nash are once again on the same team, sort of that is.   As each of them works toward their goal, the action shifts from ultra high-tech surveillance and miniaturized equipment to a softly whistled signal whistled to a former partner from the old days when things were good between them.

The themes explored in this well-written, though graphically specific novel are family, loyalty, head versus heart, and love in many forms that makes the world a better place for everyone.   This book is a summer reading winner.

Recommended.

This review was written by Ruta Arellano.   A review copy was provided by Hachette Book Group USA.

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