Rated Reads

Garden of Beasts

by Jeffery Deaver

Rated: High

Button man Paul Schumann is approached by Naval Intelligence in 1936 New York City. Well, actually, he is captured by them and offered a deal to escape prison: travel to Berlin with the U.S. Olympic Team and assassinate a high-ranking German officer.

No, it’s not Hitler, or any other well-known Nazi, but the basic premise of the choice of target is well reasoned, thus preventing the story from being completely absurd. Predictably, Paul accepts, and finds himself on an ocean liner with all the American athletes (including Jesse Owens) traveling to Germany. This is where the story takes off and becomes intensely unpredictable.

Surprises are everywhere, and in a short time, the hunter is being hunted. At times, the array of suspicious characters becomes pretty dizzying, and it is not hard to become confused if the reader is not paying attention. Fortunately for Paul, he observes everything very closely, proving himself extraordinarily capable and resourceful as an agent, much more so than his captors had anticipated.

It is no wonder that the author’s award resume reads like a list of The Most Prestigious Honors a Writer Can Earn: this is an intricate, well-crafted tale of suspense. It is one of those experiences that keeps your mind occupied well after the book is finished, and you wonder, “Whatever happened to those people?”

Rated: High. Pretty much every variation of taking the Lord’s name in vain is in abundance in this book, as well as a handful of strong terms, and dozens of instances of milder profanity. It is language only, however; no sexual descriptions or events.

— Reviewed by Craig Smith

Craig Smith is chief medical officer of Tacoma Cat Hospital. In addition to providing book reviews on Rated Reads, he podcasts about feline health issues through iTunes and www.tacomacat.com.

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  • Garden of Beasts
  • by Jeffery Deaver
  • Rated: High
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: