Monday, January 21, 2008

Pavel & I by Dan Vyleta

Normally I hate being tricked when a book is repackaged with a new cover so that I don’t realize it’s been out for years. But if the publishers hadn't “tricked” me into reading Pavel & I, I would have missed a great read. It has just about everything I want in a mystery: fantastic atmosphere, intriguing characters, enough of a mystery that I’m surprised at times, and an ending that I didn't see coming.
The story takes place in Berlin during the winter of 1946-1947. With resources at a frightening low, this is the worst time for one of the coldest winters on record. Pavel Richter, a decommissioned American soldier, is just barely getting by when another former-soldier comes to him for help covering up the death of a Russian midget. When the friend later turns up dead, Pavel is drawn into an investigation of multiple murders. There’s also a monkey and a hooker with a heart of, well, maybe not quite gold. I loved this book. It’s especially great for readers of Alan Furst, Philip Kerr, and those who, like me, loved Winter in Madrid.

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