“Flowers From Berlin” by Noel Hynd was first published in hardback 1985. Kindle released the “25th Anniversary Edition” last year, and while I don’t quite understand Amazon math, like “Day Of the Jackal,” in 1971, “The Eagle Has Landed,” in 1975, and “Eye of the Needle,” in 1978,” it remains one of the standards of suspense/ espionage fiction. Unlike so many ‘series’ novels, Flowers from Berlin is a very good, self-contained,
standalone story. It has stood the test of time, and deserves to be reread. The story takes place in 1939, on the eve of World War II. Nazi Germany is brash and self-confident. The West, including the US, is confused and indecisive. Isolationist sentiment is on the rise, and Roosevelt’s popularity is at a low. Seeing an opportunity, Hitler dispatches his top agent to the US on a mission of sabotage and espionage, which evolves into an attempt to kill the president. In Flowers From Berlin, determined to stop him is a maverick FBI agent, William Cochrane. Like its three predecessors listed above, the chase is on. Is Flowers from Berlin as good as them? Close, but not quite. Those books did have the advantage of excellent movies which succeeded the books, helping to create vivid images, but in “The Eagle Has Landed,” Jack Higgins’ actually has us rooting for a German assassin trying to kill Winston Churchill. That is impossible to top. “Day of the Jackal” features a tedious French detective, a ticking clock, and a heart stopping ending. “Eye of the Needle” is most similar to “Flowers from Berlin,” but within even creepier bad guy, played so brilliantly by Donald Sutherland in the movie. All in all though, “Flowers From Berlin” remains a genre classic that deserves to be reread. Best of all, unlike so many of today’s suspense novels, it is not, “A William Cochrane Novel Book #6.” Too many writers think that readers just won’t go for a good standalone story with its own unique, memorable characters. Take one look at my “Favorite 4” above, and you’ll see how long that is. It is also worth noting that all four authors have written many other stories, all set in different times and places, and all equally entertaining.
William F. Brown is the author of 5 suspense novels with over 300 Five-Star Reviews: The Undertaker, Amongst My Enemies, Thursday at Noon, Winner Take All, and now Aim True, My Brothers. They are all available on Kindle and now on Audible Audio Books. You read about them at billbrownwritesnovels.wordpress.com