Saturday, April 24, 2010

Review: Riddle of Berlin by Cym Lowell

Riddle of Berlin by Cym Lowell
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 296
Date Published: 2008
Publisher: IUniverse
Source: I won a signed copy from the author through a giveaway at his blog. Thank you Cym!
Rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book description:
In Paris, a voice in the water entices John C. Jaëgerman to leap from a parapet overlooking the Seine River at Notre Dame. A disfigured body without memory is lifted from the water days later by a gypsy nurse seeking her own path. She nurses him back to health and calls him Del, my deliverer. Meanwhile, a campaign of terror engulfs the world. Thousands perish in terrorist incidents in Europe and California. As popular American Vice President Lucius Alcorn struggles to figure out who is responsible, Orange Girl at the Louvre attracts attention to the declared death of John Jaëgerman, her father, on the streets of Paris. Jaëgerman is deemed the terrorist, but is he really? Despite the government's leads, Del suspects that a shadowy arms trader has been cleverly casting responsibility on others through an Internet site, insurance money laundering, and government customers. Who is responsible? Can the terrorist be stopped?
I do not read a lot of thrillers (my husband loves them), but I do enjoy reading them from time to time. Riddle of Berlin strikes me as a very intellectual thriller--there are a lot of threads to the story and at times it gives the reader a lot to think about at once. There are a lot of questions over who is pulling the strings and what role each of the main characters is really playing. And the story takes place in some very interesting locations, all locations I've never visited so it is kind of fun to travel through the world through the book. It left me wanting to find pictures of some of the locations so I could really see it in my mind as I was reading.

There were places in this book where it got too descriptive at times, especially early on. When it got too descriptive and too detailed, it was hard to stay focused on the mystery at hand. But once I got further into the book it went a lot more smoothly. I never really clicked with Carmen, who fell in love with an unconscious man and didn't care if he had a family already or not. She wasn't necessarily a terrible person (she did, after all, risk her life to fish a total stranger out of the river and nurse him back to health), but she just seemed a bit strange to me. She didn't know anything about him and yet she followed along with him as he got involved in some very dangerous situations. Del was a big a mystery to me. I guess he just seemed remote and unknowable, but that makes sense because he didn't really know himself. But he turned out to be an interesting character, even if I wasn't won over by some of his decisions in the book.

I really liked Moriah, John Jaëgerman's daughter, who refused to accept that her father was dead and went looking for him. Her dedication to her father was admirable. I also liked the character of Vice President Alcorn. He was intelligent (a characteristic I don't typically connect with politicians LOL!) and willing to sacrifice his political career to get to the truth of what was going on. He ended up being my favorite character in the book.

Even though there were some sticking points for me, Riddle of Berlin was still an enjoyable read with interesting situations, a healthy dose of suspense, and set in fascinating locations. If you like international thrillers, I think you will enjoy this book.

This is the author's first book, and from the synopses I've read of his works in progress, I'm looking forward to reading his future works. They sound very intriguing!

Do you want to learn more about author Cym Lowell? Click here for my interview!


Challenges: Thriller and Suspense Reading Challenge, Twenty Ten Challenge


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