Top critical review
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starts off great, falls into formula. Over all an enjoyable time spinner
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.