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Passport to Peril (Hard Case Crime (Mass Market Paperback)) Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 2009

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Product Details

  • Series: Hard Case Crime (Mass Market Paperback) (Book 57)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Hard Case Crime; Original edition (July 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0843961198
  • ISBN-13: 978-0843961195
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 4.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,195,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A lifelong newspaper man, Robert B. Parker reported from behind enemy lines during World War II, bringing home news from Germany, Poland, Russia, Turkey, and Japan. He was also an agent for the OSS,precursor to the CIA, and had a hand in freeing Jewish prisoners in Europe. He wrote three books decades before his namesake (no relation) began writing the best-selling Spenser novels.  --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

He's not the Robert B. Parker of the more well-known Spenser novels.)
Anthony R. Cardno
Frankly, I LOVE this imprint and wish Charles Ardai a long and successful treasure hunt!
John W. Dacey
The plotting is rather fanciful with too many unrealistic coincidences.
Michael G.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By William Merrill TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 1, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
(3 & 1/2 stars) The first (and important) thing to note is that the author of this book is NOT the Robert B. Parker of the Spenser series. This author has the same middle initial but a different middle name. The cover refers to him as "The ORIGINAL Robert B. Parker" because his work predated the Spenser Parker's. At the end of Passport to Peril, there's an interesting afterword by this Parker's daughter where she talks about his life and work.

Anyhow, this tale was a fast-paced and exciting spy story involving Cold War intrigue, being caught behind enemy lines, romance, gunplay, etc. The plot has some holes in it that surface periodically, but I didn't find them too annoying. There's a mysterious manila folder that everyone seems to be looking for that's a bit of a McGuffin, but really, it's the situations and scenes that come along one after the other that kept me going. Despite any minor flaws, I found this book to be entertaining. While not quite a "page-turner," I remained interested until the end.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By mrliteral VINE VOICE on July 9, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
For those who see Passport to Peril by Robert B. Parker, the first impression would be it was by the author of the popular Spenser series. Both front and back covers, therefore, make it clear that this is a different author by the same name, a minor pulp fiction writer who came out with just a couple novels in the early 1950s before dying at the relatively early age of 49. Fortunately, the publisher Hard Case Crime specializes in re-releasing these long out-of-print novels, giving Parker a new, if posthumous, audience.

The narrator of Passport to Peril is John Stodder who is on his way to post WWII Budapest on the Orient Express. He is traveling on a false passport, intent on sneaking into the city to track down his missing brother. Into his train car bursts Maria Torres, in fear for her life after her boss has been killed. As Stodder quickly realizes, the murdered man has the name on his fake passport, putting him at risk from both the law and the killers. He jumps off the train with Maria, but his effort to avoid capture is only briefly successful; soon, they are the captives of the evil Dr. Schmidt, a former Nazi who is after a list that Maria's boss had and which Stodder hid before his capture.

The two are separated, and Stodder soon is able to escape with the assistance of a husband-and-wife team of American Intelligence agents. They are interested in the list, while Stodder is interested in saving Maria and finding out what happened to his brother. Fortunately, their interests coincide, and the three will team up to try and stop Schmidt and his cohorts.

Published originally in 1951, Passport to Peril is one of the earliest Cold War thrillers. It is a decent enough book, though the plot can sometimes be a little muddled. Overall, however, Parker's book is a nice lightweight thriller: not necessarily a book worth waiting almost six decades to be reprinted, but at least a pleasant diversion.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jason A. Miller VINE VOICE on July 3, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This month's Hard Case reprint is a 1950s' espionage thriller set in post-war Hungary. The author's name is Robert B. Parker, but not THAT Robert P. Parker. This Parker, as we learn from the book's afterword (penned by the author's daughter), was a wartime correspondent and quite possibly an OSS operative. He lived fast and died relatively young. We therefore see that "Passport to Peril" is somewhat autobiographical in nature.

The plot is rather heavily dependent on coincidence. The narrator, John Stodder, is a reporter and World War II veteran trying to smuggle himself behind the Iron Curtain -- not on any official American business, but rather to find out his brother, MIA since the war. That's the back story, anyway. Stodder's ill-gotten passport turns out to belong to a murdered Swiss businessman who had connections to A) Russian authorities, B) conspiring ex-Nazis, and C) Stodder's missing brother. That's a lot of balls in the air for Parker to juggle, and perhaps the three plot threads turn out to be a little too closely connected.

Still, the characters we meet are colorful, and Hungary in the 1950s is not a locale on which we've already burned out from too many Ian Fleming novels. The book reads fast and the ending is appropriately bloody for a novel steeped in this much intrigue.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert Tucker VINE VOICE on June 13, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This exciting, fast-paced thriller is set in the time after World War II during the Cold War. John Stodder goes to the Russian border to determine what happens to his brother. After an unfortunate accident, he acquires the passport of a dead man and a manila envelope. Without preamble, he suddenly rescues a young lady named Maria, is later captured, tortured, escapes, and seeks to find the stolen manila envelope. Learning what happened to his brother, Stodder realizes that getting the envelope back is secondary to saving Maria from the clutches of Dr. Schmidt. Helped by a couple and another spy, Stodder causes mayhem and destruction, recovers the envelope, saves Maria, and gets vengeance.

All very fun stuff in a kind of serious old school drama. The writing is smooth, quick, without extraneous description but pointed enough to share in the excitement. While additional characterizations would make the people come alive, there is enough to know who to trust and who to disdain along the way. This causes a real connection with the story and synchronization of the emotions and action by the reader. Confusing details of the cities and the politics are overcome by the quick action and the constant energy of the story.

An enjoyable book in the tradition of Graham Greene or Alfred Hitchcock, Passport to Peril deserves its place among the exciting thrillers written about the Cold War. Owning a first edition hardback, I was not deceived by the confusing picture on Amazon of the wrong Robert B. Parker; yet it is hoped that this detail can be fixed at some point. Easy to read and exciting, this book is recommended for thriller enthusiasts wanting to trace an earlier form of the genre.
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