Darkness at Noon peeks into Soviet Russia

“The cell door slammed behind Rubashov.” With those words, Arthur Koestler hurls readers into the life — and impending death — of ex-Commissar of the People Rubashov, a man so powerful and so invisible that his full name is needed for identification only on his cell door. Rubashov had been expecting, dreading arrest. He knows […]

Love on the Dole: Doleful view of past and future

Walter Greenwood’s Love on the Dole is a bleak novel set in in industrial England in the years between the First and Second World Wars. The technological expertise that had made wholesale slaughter possible in 1914 is being directed toward making wholesale poverty possible in 1934. Harry Hardman, 14, is through with school. Scorning his […]

Vanished resurrects Cold War era anxieties

Vanished is a Cold War era political thriller that will sound familiar to readers who grew up in that era. White House Press Secretary Eugene Culligan relates the events. One election year, a good, personal friend of President Roudebush vanishes from Burning Tree Golf Club. Investigators learn Steve Greer left the country by a circuitous […]

Preserve and Protect taut political thriller

Preserve and Protect is a logical development  of the political landscapes Allen Drury envisioned in Advise and Consent (1959),  A Shade of Difference (1962),  and Capable of Honor (1966). Allen Drury plunges readers into American politics as it might be played if violence becomes a political tool. Sometime in the post-LBJ era, Air Force One […]

Salzburg Connection is high voltage spy story

In The Salzburg Connection, Helen MacInnes returns to a theme she explored in her earlier bestseller The Double Image: Nazi activity in the Cold War era. This time, Nazis are protecting records that they can use for blackmail purposes when the time is right. Like her earlier book, Connection has an unlikely hero. Lawyer Bill […]

The Plot: A novel great in its day

The Plot is a novel about a handful of characters trying to recreate their picture of themselves at their best. It’s set against the background of a Paris conference aimed at keeping China from acquiring a nuclear bomb. The Plot: A Novel by Irving Wallace Simon and Schuster, 1967. 828 p. 1967 bestseller #8. My […]

Topaz digs the dirt on Russian disinformation campaign

Topaz is a political thriller on a hot topic of the sixties: Russia’s attempt to put missiles in Cuba. As a dictator threatens the US with nuclear attack and the US investigates the Russians’ disinformation tactics in the 2016 election, Topaz seems timely again. Topaz by Leon Uris McGraw-Hill, [1967] 341 p. 1964 bestseller #4. […]