The midnight swimmer by Edward Wilson
Source review copy
Edward Wilson own life reads rather like a novel when you read his bio ,he has served in Vietnam with special forces got a bronze star and ,when he left the army he decide not to return to the us but settled here in the UK and since has been a teacher in Suffolk .He has written a number of other novels .
Catesby hated his office in the bowels of the Olympic Stadium ,Berlin .There were no windows and no – gemutlichkeit .It was the German word for “cosines “,but the full sense of glowing warmth conveyed by the expression was untranslatable .It was funny ,though Catesby ,that the germans ,who valued Gemutlichkeit so highly , constructed buildings that completely destroyed it .
I choose this passage as it mention words and translation !
Well I was a bit nervous as this is the third in the series of novels ,but it did work as a novel in itself .The book features Catesby ,he is a spy but not in the Bond mode ,no for me he fell between Smiley and Harry Palmer a rough diamond a working class lad that has grafted his way to the top ,but is no man’s fool ,Any way this is the start of the sixties, a world where lady chatterlys lover trial is happening ,Profumo is unmasked here in the UK .In america JFK and his beautiful wife have come to the white house ,Vietnam is brewing in the background and of course the is Fidel Castro in the background .Anyway Catesby is set on a mission that could stop the cold war falling further down the rabbit-hole into total chaos .This sees him go from Washington to Cuba .He has to meet a Russian who may have something to tell him ,along the way he meets the Russian’s beautiful wife .He has a message to go from east to west .All this is happening in October 63 just before the events that shock the world in November 1963 .
Dallas . 22 November 1963
They wanted to blame it on Havana .That’s why the fall guy .Lee Harvey Oswald , was told to become a member of the fair play for Cuba committee and to make a big show of handing out Pro-Castro leaflets .The truth was otherwise .The gang still wanted Cuba back and that was one of the reasons Kennedy had to die .
An interesting after word near the end of the book .
Now I don’t read many thrillers so being offered this book was a chance to go back to my past growing up we had a lot of thrillers in the house my father is a huge thriller read and I did read a lot in my late teens ,the ones I tend to remember had like this an enigmatic outsider at the heart of the story .Catesby is an outsider a man who has outgrown his working class roots ,but has it seems never felt totally comfortable in the world that surrounds him .I always felt he was a bit more sympathetic to the Russians than other character I have read like Smiley or Harry palmer .In fact at times I was reminded of the admiration Jack Ryan had in the hunt for reed October for the Russian he was trying to find . The world Catesby lives in is one that as history has shown if one wrong move had happened at this time the world we live in would be very different . So if you like fast paced intelligent thriller this is one for you .
Have you a favourite character from thrillers ?