BOOK TITLE: The Berlin Package
AUTHOR: Peter Riva
GENRE: Fiction / Thriller Crime
NUMBER OF PAGES: 320 pages
FORMAT: Digital / PDF
SERIES / STANDALONE: Book Two in the Pero Baltazar Series
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank Laura Fabiani of iRead Book Tours for this review copy
Film producer Pero Baltazar thought he was taking a Berlin filming assignment. He needed the work, needed to get back in the saddle after fighting off a life-threatening experience in East Africa—alShabaab had attacked his crew, intent on a much larger terrorist attack. Suddenly he finds himself under orders from his part-time employers at the State Department and the CIA when he is handed a mysterious package. It’s an assignment he doesn't want. The problem is, it’s a job contracted by mysterious patrons who are prepared to kill him if he doesn't deliver. Pero—now in far too deep—turns to friends, old and new, to help him unravel the mystery of the package, uncover connections to Nazi concentration camp gold recently sold by the US Treasury, and thwart the ex–Stasi chief, now head of a powerful banking group. In this fast-paced sequel to Murder on Safari, Pero calls on Mbuno, his friend and East African safari guide, to anticipate the moves of his enemies as if they were animals—dangerous vermin—who have kidnapped both the film star and director. Mbuno’s tracking skills may keep them from getting killed—provided Pero can rope in more help and keep the CIA at bay. Exhilarating and expertly crafted, The Berlin Package (Yucca Publishing; April 2016) is a gripping, page-turning thriller set in post–German reunification Europe.
Only a few books draw me in so completely. They might not necessarily be bestsellers, nor do they need to be real page turners in the commercial sense. But sometimes, certain words, phrasing or character description, even visualisation of scenes, or a few random words like a quote, they attract my attention and manage to hold it until something else comes to occupy my time, and then I reluctantly leave the book. This book had one line about first class seats in airplanes that caught and held my undivided attention, and I am not even sure why. First to arrive, first to perish. And from then on, there was no looking back until I was about halfway through. The book begins with a high adrenaline plane engine failure. And from then on, it is only a race against time. Pero as the protagonist has actually started to attract the reader in me. Being a person who focuses more on supporting characters and their roles and appearances in the book instead of rooting for the protagonist, this was a bit rare for me. Starting with the mysterious package that causes so much of carnage, the story reveals only as much as is essential to keep the reader glued. The pace is even, steady and sometimes racy, but thankfully it never slackens.
Some things hold a longstanding mystery value associated with them. Nazi as a word evokes certain preconceived notions and emotions from a variety of people for various reasons. But it is good fodder for a suspense thriller and it actually works in the case of Peter Riva. He brings the resourceful, striking Pero, puts a package of Nazi gold in his hands, and makes him run to deliver it to one group while another chases him. Is it just the gold or is it something more? The mystery keeps developing and readers are left with little option but to keep reading.
I liked the writing. Except for dialogues at certain places, the flow was awesome, smooth and amazing overall. The plot itself was tight, clear and without many other sidetracks. And the little facts thrown in and woven seamlessly through the story are the highlights. While it was East Africa last time, this time the honors go to post world war 2 Germany, and it is equally interesting, if not more. Peter Riva has made me look for his other works, and has, in some way, attracted the reader in me.
WHAT I LIKED:
- The plot is tight. It does not have many fillers.
- Book seems well researched, with the right amount of interesting detail added to get the story along without being too descriptive or distracting.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:
- Characters aren't as expressive as in the last book.
- The dialogues could have been bit more coherent.
A great standalone sequel
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Peter Riva has spent many months over 30 years travelling throughout Africa and Europe. Much of this time was spent with the legendary guides for East African hunters and adventurers. He created a TV series in 1995 called Wild Things for Paramount. Passing on the fables, true tales, and insider knowledge of these last reserves of true wildlife is his passion. Nonetheless, his job for over forty years has been working as a literary agent. In his spare time, Riva writes science fiction and African adventure books. He lives in Gila, New Mexico.
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Kindle, Paperback
PRICE $10.17 for Kindle, $11.69 for Paperback
BOOK LINKS: Amazon