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Friday, March 14, 2014


A Review of Rebecca Cantrell's A GAME OF LIES

This is the last of Rebecca Cantrell's books to be reviewed here at Berlin Noir, the third of the Hannah Vogel series, and I'm hoping she spares me further reading by not returning to the time period. As I've stated in the previous reviews, I am not the target audience for this series. The Hannah Vogel books are chick lit with Nazis and not my cup of schnapps. So please take the following review with a grain of salt.

A GAME OF LIES starts out with Hannah back in Berlin, risking life and limb to cover the 1936 Olympics. Well, actually, she's been spying on the Nazis and reporting their evil doings from the safety of Switzerland. At the games, she runs into her former boss and watches him die after drinking from a flask. Not sure if there's any connection between him collapsing immediately after taking a drink and what was in the flask, she sets out to find the truth. The Nazis say it's a heart attack, but Hannah isn't buying it.

That's the basic set up for the novel and, frankly, not a lot happens but this is typical of the series. This is another walky-talky novel with little to no action outside of the bedroom. We're told Hannah is menaced at every turn but aside from a run-in with an automobile and capture by the Gestapo in the last 20 pages of the book, nothing else happens. She is re-united with her former SS lover. They are on again, off again, I hate you, I love you waltz takes up most of the book while Hannah contemplates her break up with the lover she left outside Germany, worries about and misses her adopted son and the Olympics provide a paper-thin backdrop to the proceedings. The Macguffin is revealed way too late in the narrative with little to no build up other than Hannah's wondering what it might be and A GAME OF LIES becomes a game of sighs, of boredom.

Rebecca Cantrell's prose is uninspired with a straightforward, and dull, this happened, that happened, moving on plod that failed to captivate this reader. The period details are present but fail to have that immersive effect that Kerr's world creating manages so effortlessly. Everyone's afraid of Hannah and she's not going to take any bunk off anyone - even if it means to save her life. She's clearly got a death wish when you consider that she leaves her fate in the hands of some many others anyway though she likes to boss everyone around.

A GAME OF LIES is typical of the other books in the series and better than A NIGHT OF LONG KNIVES though that isn't saying much. There are much better Berlin Noir novels out there and so I can't recommend this one. If you're a romance fan, you might get more out of this series than I did. For me, I hope I've seen the last of Hannah Vogel and Cantrell's Berlin.

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