As Simpson peels away layers of secrets at the heart of her marriage, including her husband’s connection to the shadowy and dangerous titular character, the suspense ratchets up—slowly, slowly, then all at once ... There is a casual elegance to Vidich’s spy fiction (now numbering five books), a seeming effortlessness that belies his superior craftsmanship. Every plot point, character motivation and turn of phrase veers toward the understated, but they are never underwritten. The Matchmaker is an ideal entrance into Vidich’s work, one that should compel new readers to plumb his backlist.
Paul Vidich...masterfully details how Simpson was duped in the months before the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall ...The strength of the book is the recounting of historical events, many now forgotten or having occurred in another generation. Vidich vividly describes protests in the street and the suspenseful hours as East Berliners learn the order had been given to open the border. But the novel also raises questions such as what happened to the Stasi officials after the Wall came down in 1989. As noted in the book, practically nothing. And why not? History, it appears, is worth studying, for the lessons it delivers.
Vidich is keen on recreating the atmosphere of a classic Cold War thriller which he does very well. Anne Simpson is a unique creation, providing a different perspective on the times from the usual. The feel of the novel is bolstered by iconic locations and events, evoking the use of the Cold War checkpoints for instance. This is a spy thriller that pays homage to the best of the genre, it’s full of
the tropes and twists of a conventional spy thriller, but has an originality and modern sensibilities. One aspect of The Matchmaker is the way Vidich intertwines the fiction with the political change and historical events of a pivotal moment in history. Ambitious and satisfying, this novel handles complexity with clarity and style.
The absorbing drama/mystery takes hold of your attention as Anne’s plight unfolds. The looming fall of the Berlin Wall intertwined with the fate of Anne and the spy she’s tasked with finding make for a riveting read.
Vidich does a great job of stirring up emotions and political intrigue with this piece. Perfect for those whose love spy thrillers with political flavoring ... A chilling tale that pulls the reader into the middle of a web of lies, while showing just how masterful Paul Vidich is within the genre ... Vidich not only paints an intense picture with this words, but he places the reader in the heart of the East-West divide in the waning days of the Cold War. With a great narrative and powerful plot twists, the story comes to life and all is slowly revealed by the final chapter. This surely lives up to the standards of Graham Greene and John le Carré, as denoted in the dust jacket blurb ... While I have never read Paul Vidich’s work, I can see he that he’s a master of his craft. A strong narrative that keeps pace with the ever-evolving plot helps the reader become lost in the story. There are so many layers that must be revealed, it is not for the reader who seeks a quick and simple read, but rewards those who want something that adds tension and confusion. Well-developed characters bring much to the story and there is substance to each, adding depth to the political side of things at a time when tensions ran high between the East and West. Vidich does well to remind the reader of how things were in the closing months of the Cold War and uses some effective ideas to keep the tension alive. I am eager to look for more of Vidich’s work soon to see how it compares.
The fateful night of November 9, as the crowds surge towards the border, is vividly drawn. Vidich skilfully weaves Anne’s story — and her growing strength — into the wider political backdrop, ramping up the tension in a complex, engrossing tale.
... a stone cold, stone brilliant, Cold War spy thriller of the old school ... Scenes of Berlin street-life at the end of the punk era, the actual crumbling of the wall and the subsequent ransacking of personal files in the hastily-abandoned Stasi headquarters, are vividly painted in Vidich’s spare prose. He even gives us a grieving woman at a graveside and a musician who played the zither in a nod to The Third Man, making The Matchmaker a book crying out to be filmed in black-and-white.