by Colleen McClintock
Coming out of the Soho Crime imprint, Masaryk Station is the last of a series of six crime novels written by author David Downing. It is set inside a post-WWII political context; a setting that lends itself aptly to suspense and drama. Likewise, it is a world that can seem impossibly complex to anyone examining it, but as Jan Stuart says in her review in the New York Times Book Review, Downing does an incredible job of “elucidating… post-World War II geopolitics without dumbing down.”
Like most crime series, the books follow the secret, often tumultuous life of a man undercover. In this case, we see John Russell; a journalist-turned-spy who – by the sixth installment of the series – has got himself mixed up in the proverbial snake pit of post-WWI/pre-Cold War Germany. He is working for both the CIA and Stalin’s NKVD , and no longer sees the benefit in either. As Russell scrambles for a way to come out clean, Masaryrk Station quickly starts to show the reader that it will in no way be letting the Russell series go out quietly.