Robert Harris: Munich

Harris’ FATHERLAND, set in historical Nazi Germany, was a tour de force of Alternative History. Thank God, then, that Harris now returns to Germany-in-the-past, this time to offer a book of “faction” focusing on British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s calamitous journey to Munich to appease Hitler and hand over the Czech Sudetenland to the Nazis.

How else could we know the colour of the draperies in each of the rooms the ostensible “protagonist” carries two red boxes from room to room throughout the book, for nothing else new of historical significance nor literary merit is otherwise added.

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The Expats: Chris Pavone

Mm, mm, good! A spy thriller in the best tradition of Le Carre and Steinhauer. The tension and plot is almost entirely psychological, with multiple layers of deceit and lying among the characters. There is very little violence and weapons appear only rarely, but the pace and tension crackles.

No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short Stories/Lee Child

Lee Child’s Reacher novels are masterpieces of character, pace, plot and location. His short stories, other than the ones featuring an adolescent Reacher, are not, full of character inconsistencies and plot holes. I WOULD like to see a full-length Reacher adolescent novel, however.