It's May 1946. America is enjoying its victory over the Germans. The OSS has been disbanded and the CIA is still more than a year away from being formed.
Former OSS agent Hal Schroeder is offered a job as a trade rep in Berlin. When he flies to meet his new boss in New York, he's shocked to come face-to-face with former OSS Chief Bill Donovan. Schroeder has no interest in being a spy.
When rumors swirl about the Red Army massing tanks along the Elbe in East Germany, and Hal ends up meeting a man from his past in Berlin, Hal's interests take a backseat to discovering the truth.
My husband and I have this ongoing battle. I prefer to read fiction set during the American Revolution or the Civil War. The birth of our nation and the War that divided our country--in some places still does--fascinate me. I believe they hold a great influence, even today. My husband, however, believes that anything prior to World War II is unimportant. He prefers to read fiction set during that time period.
This helps to explain why I had no idea while I was reading A Despicable Profession that William Donovan was an actual person. The majority of my fiction entertainment dealing with Nazis and WII came in the form of Wonder Woman. But I enjoy mysteries and intrigue, so I figured I would give A Despicable Profession a chance.
It is an outstanding book!
Knoerle immerses the reader in Hal's world. Hal's a bit of a smart ass. Maybe that comes from being sent on repeated suicide missions in WWII. Speaking of that, did I mention that the guy Hal meets in Berlin is Victor Jacobson, the case officer who sent him on all those missions?
If you're getting the idea that Knoerle does an excellent job of pushing Hal to the limits, you would be right. Hal was more than happy to get out of the spy business. Now he's being drawn back in by his former cronies and forced to work with a guy he can't stand. Those naughty Russians, they are messing everything up. Why does the Central Intelligence Group have to be so darn ineffective?
I have to admit I fell in love with Hal. He's probably the only person more sarcastic than me. But the guy knows his stuff. He's a professional. There are so many twists and turns in this book I thought Hal would come out looking like a wrung out wet towel. And Ambrose, Sean, and Patrick Mooney provide some comic relief, but they are guys you won't forget soon.
Knoerle knows how to keep readers turning the pages. Never once did this book lag. I just kept flipping page after page, hoping to sneak in one more chapter before my eyes shut. Character development is certainly the author's strength, but the plot and the attention to detail are equally superb.
I loved A Despicable Profession so much that I am eager to read the first book in this trilogy, A Pure Double Cross. In addition, I hope Knoerle keeps me in mind when the last book comes out.
A Despicable Profession is a book you shouldn't miss!
Title: A Despicable Profession
Author: John Knoerle
Publisher: Blue Steel Press