Collision of Evil
Review: John J. Le Beau's debut novel, Collision of Evil, is a multi-national, multi-generational thriller that blends historical fact with present day reality.
CIA operative Robert Hirter travels to Germany following the murder of his brother Charles, found dead after a hike through the Bavarian mountains. What troubles the local police is how inconceivable the crime is. "There are no witnesses, none," Kommissar Franz Waldbaer tells Robert. "The place where the murder took place is entirely unpopulated. No weapon has been recovered. We have no motive." Piece by piece, however, the two men begin to construct the puzzle surrounding Charles Hirter's murder, and in the process uncover a plot to inflict widespread carnage during the soon to be held Oktoberfest in Munich.
Collision of Evil is written in third person omniscient, which can be tricky for a suspense novel. After all, the "dunits" — who, how, and why — are known to the reader, leaving little to the imagination. Yet the author handles the narrative exceptionally well, unfolding key plot points in a measured, controlled manner while maintaining a brisk pace (helped, in part, by rather short chapters that frequently alternate points of view).
Political thrillers often have a complex matrix of interpersonal relationships, but the improbable connection between the men of Nazi Germany in the 1940s and Islamic fundamentalists of today, a central plot point, is handled in a deceptively simple, clever manner here. The number of principal characters is also kept to a minimum, a welcome development. Not only do these factors make reading the book more engaging and enjoyable, it opens it up to potential readers who may shy away from the genre. Finally, the crisply written conclusion is quite suspenseful, a thrilling, as it were, way to end a most satisfying novel.
Acknowledgment: Oceanview Publishing provided a copy of Collision of Evil for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Collision of Evil: Munich, Bavaria, Germany
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Collision of Evil by John J. Le Beau
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: September 2009
List Price: $25.95