Dark star (2002, Random House Trade Paperbacks) 3 stars

Paris, Moscow, Berlin, and Prague, 1937. In the back alleys of nighttime Europe, war is …

Review of 'Dark star' on Goodreads

3 stars

A Polish Jew, who is a reporter for Pravda, is asked by competing members of the Soviet secret police to carry out a few espionage-related operations in the lead-up to World War II.

Alan Furst is a master of atmosphere. Few authors, regardless of genre, have his sense of time and place. From the buildings to the clothes to the attitudes, he nails it all. It is the single greatest aspect of his writing that everyone comments on, and with good reason. Reading one of his earlier works is a master class in setting and certainly worth the cover price alone.

The plot of this novel, however, is rather ho-hum. It can mostly be summed up this way: a guy does some things. That is a bit harsh, because we do learn a lot about espionage during that time period, but it's not far off the truth. Furst, in his …