by Douglas Kennedy
Cornerstone Digital (e-book)
Douglas Kennedy writes enjoyable, old-fashioned potboilers, that are strong on narrative, character and romance, though not elegant enough to qualify as top-drawer literature. The Moment is set in Cold War Berlin. Kennedy's hero is an American writer called Thomas Nesbitt. As the story opens he is middle-aged, broken-hearted and living in Maine. Nesbitt has just received a letter from a former lover, Petra Dussman, with whom he had a passionate affair 25 years before in the early 1980s. The pair met when Nesbitt was working for a radio station in Berlin. Always something of a drifter, he is not prepared for the enigmatic Petra, whose work as a translator covers a secret life back in Eastern Germany. Soon, the couple are being followed by the Stasi, and spied upon by the Americans. Kennedy tells the story in clever fashion, mixing middle-aged Nesbitt's conversations with his daughter and constantly shifting accounts of his time in Berlin. Occasionally solemn and even pompous, it nevertheless works well as an ambitious page-turner.