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Union Station (A John Russell WWII Spy Thriller #8) (Hardcover)
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In this fascinating historical thriller, a British journalist (and former spy) is adrift in McCarthy-era Los Angeles—until his research into a wartime conspiracy brings him face-to-face with the perilous instability of a post-Stalin Berlin.
John Russell, an English journalist who specializes in human-interest pieces, had always been a reluctant spy. It’s a dangerous life—especially when you are tasked with being a double agent for Soviet and American intelligence, in a city as fraught with hazard as Nazi-occupied Berlin. But it’s been years, now, since Russell was finally able to extricate himself from his life of espionage—through a shady deal with a high-ranking Soviet official.
Now it’s 1953, and Russell and his family—his long-time partner, Effi Koenen, a burgeoning star on an American sitcom, and their daughter, Rosa, a young artist on the cusp of adulthood—live a life of relative comfort in Los Angeles. Feeling somewhat adrift, Russell has just begun work on a book investigating American firms that continued doing business with Germany during Nazi occupation. Then he notices someone is tailing him around Los Angeles. Has someone not taken kindly to his research? Or could it be that the deal Russell struck all those years ago has left him with unfinished business?
The answer may lie in Berlin, where John and Effi decide to return for the Third Annual Berlin International Film Festival. Braving the political disorder of a city that was once their home, the two are thrust into a perilous mission to protect the life—and safety—they worked so hard to build.
About the Author
David Downing grew up in suburban London. He is the author of seven other books in the John Russell station series, set in WWII Berlin, as well as four WWI espionage novels in the Jack McColl series and the thrillers Diary of a Dead Man on Leave and The Red Eagles. He lives with his wife, an American acupuncturist, in rural France.
Praise for Union Station
Deadly Pleasures' Most Anticipated Mysteries and Thrillers of 2024
“[The John Russel Novels] convey the fear of living in a society where the rule of law has been abandoned. While navigating the war and the demands of separate intelligence agencies, John survives by following his own moral compass through a minefield of evil . . . The new threats he encounters are as real as those of earlier years, and again John must risk his life to help friends old and new flee totalitarian rule. Mr. Downing proves as skillful as ever in depicting this treacherous milieu.”
—Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal
“[Union Station] brims with Russell’s complicated history and David Downing’s meticulous research, including trips down memory lane to South L.A. record store Dolphin’s of Hollywood, Venice Beach’s original amusement park and, more somberly, the displacement of Mexican families from Chavez Ravine and McCarthyism’s impact on Hollywood. Read Union Station for the local spin but explore this impressive series for a full picture of an era with eerie similarities to our own.”
—Paula Woods, The Los Angeles Times
“Union Station is a first-rate espionage novel. Taut, intelligent, enthralling. A superb addition to Downing’s celebrated Station series.”
—William Boyd, author of Solo, a James Bond novel
“Ambitious, layered, and expertly crafted, Union Station is a compelling dive into the world of McCarthy-era Los Angeles, illuminating themes that powerfully resonate with today.”
—Sarah James, internationally bestselling author of The Woman with Two Shadows
“The prolific Downing’s World War II spy thriller series continues with a complex portrait of 1953 America and Germany . . . While grounded in deep research, the story is told through the journeys of a handful of fully fleshed-out characters. A gripping depiction of America at a turning point.”
Praise for the John Russell Thrillers
“A beautifully crafted and compelling thriller with a heart-stopping ending as John Russell learns the personal faces of good and evil. An unforgettable read.”
—Charles Todd, author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge Series
"Epic in scope, Mr. Downing's 'Station' cycle creates a fictional universe rich with a historian's expertise, but rendered with literary style and heart."
—The Wall Street Journal
“Downing adroitly elucidates the morass that was post-World War II geopolitics without dumbing it down . . . One can only marvel at his talent for infusing such a rangy cast of characters with nuance and soul.”
—The New York Times Book Review
—Booklist, Starred Review