by Techeditor (Romeo, Michigan): Every time I finish reading a Joseph Kanon book, I’m afraid he might retire and not write another. I feel that way now after reading his THE BERLIN EXCHANGE. Please, do it again, Joe!

From 1962 to 1989, West Germany traded (exchanged) goods or money for political prisoners in East Germany. That is the background of THE BERLIN EXCHANGE.

Martin, an American who was a KGB spy and has been in an English prison for the last 10 years, is swapped for three political prisoners in East Germany. He was not forced but has chosen to go there because his ex-wife, Sabine, and son live there, even though he has heard nothing from her during the entire 10 years and even though she has divorced him and married an East German. This is the trouble I had with Martin: he cares too much for that long-gone wife. I expected nothing good from her and was always suspicious of what she said and did.

Martin wants out of the spy business now, but that seems to be why the East Germans want him there. Then again, it’s hard to tell who wants him there and why. Martin doesn’t know if anyone in East Germany can be trusted.

After Sabine’s East German husband commits a crime and it looks like Martin may be implicated, he knows he needs to get out of that country. All his spy training comes in handy as he plans his escape into West Germany with his son and ex-wife.

This is a great historical thriller with that Kanon style. He tells much of the story through dialogue, and he spares no words.