THE GARDEN OF THE BEASTS

By: Jeffrey Deaver

I stumbled upon this fictional work soon after finishing Larson (see my review). Deaver has a Mafia hitman, Paul Schumann, commissioned by agents in the U.S. government to “take out” a high ranking Nazi official at the time of the Olympics in 1936 in Berlin. Deaver’s 1936 Berlin is a lot like that of Larson’s 1933 Berlin, except that the Nazi’s are more completely in charge. Schumann is a very good assassin, and it appears that nothing can stop him. There is, however, a Berlin policeman who stalks Schumann from the day he first arrives in Berlin (Deaver’s stock of trade are police murder mysteries), a Berliner who is definitely not a Nazi. The reader becomes sympathetic of both men as the book progresses. This is a very worthwhile read.

-- Tim Merrill