A young woman discovers a nefarious truth at the heart of the CIA's operations in postwar Berlin and goes on the run for her life; years later she's gruesomely murdered along with her husband, and her daughter begins to chase down these startling secrets from her past.
In [Safe Houses], author Dan Fesperman superbly melds a character-strong espionage thriller with a suspenseful mystery that also aligns with the #MeToo movement. As a spy thriller, [Safe Houses] eschews high-tech gadgets to concentrate on the emotional and physical peril of undercover work. As a mystery, it quickly becomes a family drama ... Fesperman supplies plenty of tense scenes, especially during Helen’s younger years, but his affinity for character studies is the novel’s driving force ... Fesperman never allows his characterization to go over the top ... [Safe Houses] is a superior thriller — both on the international and domestic front.
This novel stumbles at the outset ... But that bump in the road having been negotiated, what follows is a smooth ride, a novel belying its historical origins with a #MeToo slant ... The narrative choreography demanded by Fesperman’s split timelines is expertly handled, and... illustrates the kind of weight that the spy novel, in the right hands, is capable of bearing.