Customer Reviews: The Second Objective
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VINE VOICEon May 12, 2007
Frost had written one of my favorite books (The List of Seven) - when he came back to fiction, I was elated. The Second Objective deals with events at WWII around the Battle of the Bulge, and the last ditch effort of the Germans to sabotage the Allies and gain the upper hand by infiltrating German soldiers disguised as American GI's. This German effort apparently was based on fact. It did not work, but is scary because it really could have been pulled off, with devastating results. The Germans had a second objective, zeroing in on an American that could have really made a dent in the war, and our history.
I found it was a great read and told a story that kept you guessing, and you cared about the characters, and what happened to them.
Frost hasn't lost his touch. His writing remains exact, clear and spins a great and satisfying story.
Think you will like his style too.
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on November 4, 2007
The first half of this book was five star WWII material all the way. Frost has a knack for writing easy-breezy prose and in building up sympathetic characters. The story starts off just prior to the outbreak of the battle of the bulge where Hitler makes a winter-time counter offensive. We follow Bernie, a kid from Brooklyn who's parents moved back to Germany during the Great Depression. Now Bernie is in the German army and because he can speak English fluently, he is drafted into a top-secret mission.

The story follows Bernie's training and how he becomes partnered with Erich Von Reinsdorf, the son of a former diplomat and a psycho killer. The odd thing is that Erich starts off as a decent character, gets squished into a very two-dimensional parody of a serial killer and then is weakly fleshed out again towards the end, but by then it is too late to make us care about him again. Frost adds a third character, an American MP chasing the two across Europe.

I just want to put out there that the crescendo of this book for myself, and where I found a definitive high water mark, was just about half way through. Bernie sneaks back to an early rendezvous point and an altercation occurs in the basement there. If Frost had had the balls to either end it here or continue on with a series of disjointed observations, his writing could have stood up as classic. Instead from this point onwards, it is pretty much Frost wrapping up all the loose ends.
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VINE VOICEon November 28, 2007
This book has an excellent plot summarized above by other reviewers so I won't go into detail here. There is one character who is too much of a stereotype of a new York City detective and his lines can be irritating because of this. Also, the main bad guy's systematic killing of virtually everyone he runs into is almost comical. If someone once said "I never met a man I didn't like", this guy could have said "I never met a person I didn't kill" Also, although I know there is a lot of action going on, it's hard to follow how Mr. Bad Guy comes up with every tool he needs at the exact moment: wire cutters, syringes, attache cases. For a guy who's on the run and traveling lightly, he seems to have an amzing ability to accomplish this. Perhaps Mary Poppins was a Nazi sympathizer.

It still an interesting read, and it does motivate me to investigate further the Battle of the Bulge and other historical events included in the novel. However, I suspect there are more solid WWII suspense tales out there.
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on March 4, 2012
I bought this book because I love the way Mark Frost writes. I like the language he uses and the way he develops a story. I also truly enjoy historical novels and this one did not disappoint. I was a history major in college and WWII was a period I enjoyed learning about. It was fun to see this spin on what was the most decisive moment in the war. Mark develops characters and stories with great detail and yet it does't interrupt the flow of the story. I love his style and this story was just another example of a person who is excellent at his craft. Well worth the read!!
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on December 17, 2012
A fast paced historical piece set in Europe after the Normandy invasion. Well told, well researched and well developed. Frost makes historical characters come alive and really puts you in the hedgerows in this WWII thriller.
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on December 3, 2013
Based on historical facts of World War II in 1944, and the plot to assassinate Gen.Eisenhower in Paris, this stunning novel keeps you riveted to the action throughout the book. The story depicts tragedy and later victory, but exemplifies the horrors of war.
Lt. Colonel Otto Skorzeny of the 150th Panzer Brigade is said to have designed the plan. Infiltrate the American army with English speaking German soldiers, using U.S. Army equipment and supplies, accompanying the simultaneous invasion of superior German Forces in the weakly defended Ardennes, as a cover. The madman, A.Hitler, cannot see that Germany's War is over, defeat is certain, and approves the operation permitting the horror of the subversive to move forward. A young private, conscripted into the German Army, though born in Brooklyn, & fluent in American, does his best to defeat the assassination attempt despite the odds. The stunning plot will keep you awake; this is an all-nighter book that you won't be able to put down.
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The WWII thriller is my favorite genre and the plot of The Second Objective seemed like it would be right up my alley; i.e., a special group of twenty German commandos who face almost certain death to achieve a "second objective" during a last ditch effort to defeat the western allies in late 1944. However, Mark Frost's unbelievable, one-dimensional main characters, coupled with the unrealistic, flawless American-style English dialogue they speak and their ability to have at their fingertips minute details of specific aspects of American life, took away the pleasure I was hoping to get from reading this book. Further, while the book has its share of murders, Frost describes them in a pretty actionless and unexciting manner. Obviously, I was highly disappointed in The Second Objective and do not recommend it to you.
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on January 14, 2011
An enjoyable and worthwhile adventure set in the heart of WWII in France. The real gem in this book is the main German officer, Erich Von Leinsdorf. Von Leinsdorf is amorally kin to Col. Hans Landa - the character played so chillingly by Christoph Waltz in "Inglorious Basterds." The corps of "patriots" operating behind enemy lines is also reminiscent of that recent movie. The plot, however, is completely distinct and original.

The story focuses on a cast of German military characters who have been asked to infiltrate the Allied ranks to carry out a secret mission. Apparently based upon real-life events called "Operation Grief," the well-staged plot reads like an old-fashioned adventure movie, with danger and tension created by the ever-present risk of discovery and the interplay between the main characters. Frost ably weaves his narrative through numerous scrapes, near-misses, and allusions to historical fact which all serve to make this a good read that would probably translate well to the silver or small screen.
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on June 18, 2007
Bernie Oster was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York City. His parents were German immigrants and decided to return to the homeland when Bernie was a teenager. Bernie is an American through and through, but when he's inducted into the German army, he has no choice but to serve. When he is forced to teach German soldiers to speak and think like Americans so they can pretend to be Americans, so they can kill Americans, Bernie tries to find a way to BE an American, and hopefully to come out of the war alive.

Earl Grannit is with the newly formed CID (Criminal Investigation Division) of the American army. He discovers GI's killed at a checkpoint, he soon finds that the blood letting has just begun. When a German dressed as an American reveals the Second Objective the chase is on.

Ever wonder what made the Nazis tick? What would you do in Bernie's place? Find out.

Mark Frost keeps the history factual, embellishing the historic possibilities to make the reader realize that even if the second objective isn't actual, it could have been. Scary thought, good book.

Reviewed by Wanda C. Keesey
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on May 31, 2007
Interesting premise and a good historical story. I bought Frost's book after the Los Angeles Times (May 22, 2007)gushed all over a local film industry figure. The Times review said, Frost's first objective was to write a "page turner". Frost has a prominent Hollywood resume. And unfortunately it is the screenwriter in him that we are treated to. Not a literary thinker.

This is not a book for those who read World War II fiction to smell cordite or feel the terrifying ground shake of advancing artillery. Nor is it for those who read fiction to observe and vicariously experience interesting character portraits.

Rather this is a Hollywood screen play. And even if (when?) this script is made into a film, it will not be an epic. It's been so long since a writer like Herman Woulk or a Joseph Heller or even a Tom Clancy has entertained us with rich engaging military fiction that almost anything on the subject is gobbled up by the public. I did.

Frost has had much success writing for the screen. But the Second Objective is mediocre in my opinion.

mike whatley

altadena, ca
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