Thursday, July 04, 2013

Zoo Station (2007)

Zoo Station. David Downing. 2007. Soho Press. 304 pages. [Source: Bought]

John Russell is a British journalist living in Nazi Germany in 1939. While he doesn't like the Nazi regime, he loves his (German) son very much. (He's divorced from his wife.) He's also been in a good and steady relationship with his German girlfriend, Effi, an actress, for many years. One day he's presented with an opportunity, the Russians want him to write articles; he'll be well paid, but Russell fears that if he begins working for another country he'll soon be asked to do more than write--perhaps spying or smuggling or something much more dangerous. But after some doubts, he talks himself into it. He gets the permission of the Nazis--who want the articles in advance so they can be approved--and his work begins. The British take notice and also want to see the articles in advance. They want to be very friendly with Russell just in case he proves useful. (Russell suspects they want him to be a spy as well.) Most of Zoo Station seems to be setting the stage for the 'real story' that may be revealed in later novels.

John Russell has some decisions to make. He has to decide how much he's willing to do to risk his comfortable life in order to stand up for what he knows is right. Is he willing to ask his Nazi acquaintances about the fate of his Jewish friends? How much is he willing to do to let the world know the truth about the Nazis? Is he willing to risk his own life? Should he keep silent with the truth? Can he manage to put his conscience on hold and wait for the right moment?

Zoo Station was an interesting read. It definitely held my interest! I'm not sure I loved it, but I definitely want to know what happens next!

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


hopeinbrazil said...

This book has been on my radar, but your review makes me think I won't love it.

Falaise said...

I quite enjoyed this one but found that there wasn't as much tension in it as I would have liked - it all seemed a little too easy for Russell. Maybe that's just me though!