Neville, Stuart. Ratlines. Soho Crime. Jan. 2013. c.368p. ISBN 978-1-61695-204-4. $26.95. Fiction

At the end of World War II, several denazified Germans found sanctuary in Ireland, among them notorious SS officer Otto Skorzeny. Best known as the commando who rescued deposed dictator Mussolini from his mountain prison in Italy, Skorzeny set up some of the “ratlines” that served as escape routes for Nazis fleeing Allied justice. Drawing on these historical tidbits, Irish author Neville (Stolen Souls) crafts an engaging crime story set in 1963, just weeks before President Kennedy’s visit to Ireland. Several murders have upset the Minister of Justice in Dublin, a man known to be friendly with Skorzeny. The victims are all ex-Nazis formerly granted asylum by the government. Intelligence agent Albert Ryan is tasked with solving the crimes before they embarrass the country and sabotage Kennedy’s visit. VERDICT Neville, whose debut, The Ghosts of Belfast, won the 2010 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for best Mystery/Thriller, concocts a believable plot with an intriguing protagonist torn between duty to country and his distaste for Nazi criminals. Fans of Jack Higgins and Ken Follett will enjoy this novel, though some readers may find graphic scenes of torture difficult to bear.

Library Journal, 137, no. 14 (September 1, 2012), 94.


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