- Author David Downing
The story of a journalist working in Berlin in the fraught moments before world war breaks out for the second time, Zoo Station is captivating. Although much of it is logistical - travelling here, meeting this person, setting up arrangements - it’s never boring. There’s a tension throughout that keeps you second guessing and eager to know more. And there’s a sort of depressing foreboding to the piece, watching horrific events unfold without being able to stop them, knowing something terrible is about to happen at any moment.
John Russell, the main character, is a somewhat country-less hero. English, with a German son and girlfriend, but family in America and links with the Soviet Union as well, it’s easy to see how he gets away with things undetected, but also why so many parties are interested in his services. His conversations with his son were particularly interesting, the boy being brainwashed by the Hitler Youth whilst the father desperately trying to keep his mind open.
Russell spends his time writing articles, moving paperwork around, meeting with spies, attempting to help a Jewish family free the hideous ruling party. It’s a busy few weeks - and it’s a really good read following his progress. I am hugely looking forward to checking out the next book in the series.