From the blurb "The Bookworm" sounded like an exciting spy mystery with deep historical roots. That's why I took it on for review. I liked the historical aspect of a WWII British agent placing a book in front of Hitler and seeing the ramifications. In 1940 a British agent places a book at a monastery where he knows Hitler will find the book. That's exciting. Then in 2017 Dictaphone cylinders are found and put into the hands of Larissa Klimt to listen to. She's a historian. That's exciting. Where the book goes from there is not so exciting.
I feel that "The Bookworm" had so much promise and fell flat when it came to character development and believability. I felt that some characters were just caricatures and not fleshed out. Larissa's "friend" Pavel was a caricature of a Russian guy who did some hacking. The USA president and his wife were caricatures of Trump and Melania. Her almost ex was a caricature of a playboy military man. None of them had the depth that they could have had.
There were two main times and several main settings. Larissa has a twin brother who works in the oil fields in Alaska. His work there comes up with some oddities that he discusses with Larissa. His finding tie in with events happening in Larissa’s life. Each of the people in her life ends up being a piece of an overall chess board in her head. With bits of information here and there she’s able to predict how events will turn out and play them to her advantage. I did like Larissa and the way her mind worked. I would love to see her become a familiar character digging up historical clues and solving historic mysteries.
I did enjoy reading about the conversations in the Dictaphone cylinders. That was really exciting and mysterious. I just wish that same exciting vibe would have been kept in the current day book setting. Instead we got thinly veiled salacious gossip in a time when most of us are cleaning our Facebook pages of political hate on both sides. Let's get back to the exciting bits of mystery, suspense and the bad guys.
A stunning and surprising new thriller, Mitch Silver’s latest novel takes readers from a secret operation during World War II—with appearances by Noel Coward and Winston Churchill—to present day London and Moscow, where Lara Klimt, “the Bookworm,” must employ all her skills to prevent an international conspiracy.
Why did Hitler chose not to invade England when he had the chance?
Europe, 1940: It’s late summer and Belgium has been overrun by the German army. Posing as a friar, a British operative talks his way into the monastery at Villers-devant-Orval just before Nazi art thieves plan to sweep through the area and whisk everything of value back to Berlin. But the ersatz man of the cloth is no thief. Instead, that night he adds an old leather Bible to the monastery’s library and then escapes.
London, 2017: A construction worker operating a backhoe makes a grisly discovery—a skeletal arm-bone with a rusty handcuff attached to the wrist. Was this the site, as a BBC newsreader speculates, of “a long-forgotten prison, uncharted on any map?” One viewer knows better: it’s all that remains of a courier who died in a V-2 rocket attack. The woman who will put these two disparate events together—and understand the looming tragedy she must hurry to prevent—is Russian historian and former Soviet chess champion Larissa Mendelovg Klimt, “Lara the Bookworm,” to her friends. She’s also experiencing some woeful marital troubles.
In the course of this riveting thriller, Lara will learn the significance of six musty Dictaphone cylinders recorded after D-Day by Noel Coward—actor, playwright and, secretly, a British agent reporting directly to Winston Churchill. She will understand precisely why that leather Bible, scooped up by the Nazis and deposited on the desk of Adolf Hitler days before he planned to attack Britain, played such a pivotal role in turning his guns to the East. And she will discover the new secret pact negotiated by the nefarious Russian president and his newly elected American counterpart—maverick and dealmaker—and the evil it portends.
Oh, and she’ll reconcile with her husband.