A Sunday Times Crime Club Pick
Shortlisted for the Ian Fleming (Steel) Dagger 2019
West Berlin, October 1979. Helen Abell is a young American, employed by the CIA to oversee a number of safe houses. She arrives in Berlin, expecting excitement and intrigue, and is disappointed to find the city a Cold War backwater.
But one night, during a routine house inspection, she stumbles upon two dark but very different secrets. If made public, they could damage the careers of high-ranking people with powerful ambitions. But Helen decides that the price of silence might be costlier still, so she covertly works to reveal the truth even as she risks her career.
Maryland, August 2014. In a small farming town, a young man called Willard Shoat gets up one night and shoots his parents while they are sleeping. His sister Anna hires a private investigator to help her understand her brother’s motives. As they delve into the events leading up to her parents’ deaths, Anna uncovers some startling secrets from her mother’s past…
Praise for Safe Houses
‘The narrative choreography demanded by Fesperman’s split timelines is expertly handled, and the dilemma faced by Helen, in particular – whether to be a good employee or a good citizen – illustrates the kind of weight that the spy novel, in the right hands, is capable of bearing.’
– Mick Herron, The New York Times Book Review
“Filled with intriguing twists and hairsbreadth escapes . . . Exhilarating.”
– Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal
“Wonderful. Fesperman raises the bar sky-high with this one. Smart, sophisticated, suspenseful, and intensely human. One of the great espionage novels of our time.”
– Lee Child