Curtain of Death is the riveting third installment in a new series in which NY Times best-selling author W.E.B. Griffin started few years ago with his co-author William E. Butterworth IV. A historical thriller featuring James Cronley which the readers first met in Honor Bound series, this is a novel dominated by cold war themes: Spies, espionage and secret assassins are some of the elements of the new story which will satisfy Griffin fans.
To give a little background, this novel which is part of the Clandestine Operations series started with Top Secret (2014). In this first book, James Cronley who is portrayed as squeaky-clean new second lieutenant from Texas is recruited after WWII to be part of a counterintelligence group in Europe. In the second book, The Assassination Option (2015), Cronley moves up to be in charge of a top secret spy operation and now in Curtain of Death, it’s January 1946 and he faces a new deadly threat.
Two WACs leave an officers’ club in Munich, and four Soviet NKGB agents kidnap them at knifepoint in the parking lot and shove them in the back of an ambulance. That is the agents’ first mistake, and their last. One of the WACs, a blond woman improbably named Claudette Colbert, works for the new Directorate of Central Intelligence, and three of the men end up dead and the fourth wounded.
The “incident,” however, will send shock waves rippling up and down the line and have major repercussions not only for her, but for her boss, James Cronley, Chief DCI-Europe, and for everybody involved in their still-evolving enterprise. For, though the Germans may have been defeated, Cronley and his company are on the front lines of an entirely different kind of war now. The enemy has changed, the rules have changed—and the stakes have never been higher.
While we liked this story and think the character of Cronley is somewhat entertaining for W.E.B Griffin fans, The portrayal of the main character is less believable as a historical spy figure. Few peer critics noted out to us that the activities portrayed in the plot don’t necessary mirror that of a real spy operation at the time and the counterintelligence officers do not run around blabbing secret information to everybody they meet, as Jim Cronley seems to do on a regular basis.
Having said that, this is book which is engaging, easy to read and intriguing although a bit predictable in terms of the plot. Overall, this book is an entertaining read for historical thriller fans and Griffin loyalists.
Our Rating: 3.4
Like other books in this series? Check the following titles