Obvious comparisons to Charles Todd’s Bess Crawford and Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs are warranted, but this novel also hearkens back to Helen MacInnes’s classic spy thrillers and Mary Stewart’s romantic suspense novels. At turns heartbreaking and action-packed, this gripping and superbly written story proves Perry still has what it takes.
With evocative flair Ms. Perry conjures the mixed emotions and misplaced optimism of a period when many Establishment figures were desperate to avoid another world war ... is reminiscent of works by Eric Ambler and Graham Greene. Cameo appearances by historical figures including Winston Churchill and Joseph Goebbels enhance this thrilling work whose heroine proves fully up to the sort of hair-raising challenges formerly met by her illustrious grandparent.
... there are many brilliant twists scattered throughout the book like land mines ... Without leaking any spoilers, I can attest that nothing goes as planned for any of the central characters, and this may be the best plotted novel Anne Perry has written in years --- which is really saying something. Death is Focus is a masterpiece of tension and suspense, and Elena Standish is so effective because she can be any one of us. Bravo!
Elena’s many narrow escapes and Perry’s immersive re-creation of Nazi-era Europe will keep readers enthralled by this series debut. The numerous characters working behind the scenes both for and against Elena are well drawn, but it is the smart, gritty heroine herself who will ensure that readers eagerly anticipate the next in the series.
Although her adventures, which improbably continue after she’s placed under arrest, come fast enough to cause whiplash, most readers will figure out long before Elena who’s most directly responsible for her peril ... Sturdy woman-on-the-run period intrigue with a strong rooting interest and a weak ending.