Istanbul Passage

This was one of my penny books. If you buy from Amazon, you may know that they let book distributors list their options to buy listed books, in competition with Amazon. Many are used books listed as low as a penny, the only catch being that they charge shipping, usually $3.99, but I still call them penny books.

I was drawn in by the first line of the back cover: Istanbul survived the Second World War as a magnet for refugees and spies. I am not disappointed. The story follows Leon Bauer as he smuggles a man into the city, only to end up shooting his boss. Bauer is an American civilian working under the table for Tommy at the American Consulate, mostly, in 1945, helping bring Jews in so they could transit on to Palestine.

But the story is not as simple as that. Kanon explores a wide range of emotions as he has Bauer try to uncover the reason why his friend Tommy turned against him and why someone else at the consulate is later murdered. Even as Bauer dances a quick two-step with the consulate staff, he has to protect himself from the Russians, the Turkish police, and the Turkish secret police, all while visiting his wife in a hospital. She is his one true love, but she has checked out, as in reality. She responds to no one, least of all Bauer.

Did I mention plot twists? Several.

This is a five-star if you like historical, mystery, thrillers.

Mike Lawrence

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