Young FBI agent Jimmy Nessheim is assigned to go undercover in the German American Bund in 1936. The assignment ignores J. Edgar Hoover’s narrow focus on Communists, labor unions, and jazz musicians and violates Hoover’s edict that FBI agents do not work undercover. Harry Guttman, the Jewish FBI agent who makes the assignment, knows he’s risking his career and possibly Nessheim’s life. But Nessheim’s time in the Bund helps Guttman piece together a serious Nazi threat to the life of Franklin Roosevelt, which leads to another undercover assignment for Nessheim, this time in the White House. This is the first novel in a series projected to cover 1936 through World War II, and Rosenheim paints a disturbingly vivid portrait of the U.S. riven by the Great Depression, political conflicts, and concerns about looming war in Europe. The rumpled, intelligent Guttman is a compelling character who shrugs off the pervasive anti-Semitism he encounters in his fellow FBI agents. The Nazi plot is convoluted but effectively maintains tension, and Rosenheim’s picture of pre-WWII America is riveting. --Thomas Gaughan
"A stirring successor to Frederick Forsyth...a superlative thriller."
(- The Independent
"An elegant political thriller written with style and skill."
(- Daily Mail
"An intriguing story, well told."
(- Literary Review
"Fear Itself has very much the feel of a film noir, with plenty of post-Depression grit, intrigue, FBI politics, scheming socialites, eleventh-hour escapes, red herrings, dubious characters, and a general sense that nobody can be trusted. And if Nessheim is clueless at crucial times, if coincidences tend to happen, if a few threads are left hanging--still the vividly detailed setting, a tight pace, and well-researched glimpses of Hoover and William Stephenson provide an atmospheric and entertaining read."
(--Historical Novel Society)
"[A] top-notch historical thriller…this intelligent page-turner will only whet reader’s appetites for more."