REVIEW of Death in Focus (Elena Standish #1) by Anne Perry

Death in FocusIn the days of Adolf Hitler’s rise to power, a young photographer named Elena Standish travels to Italy to photograph a convention. After meeting a personable young man named Ian, they travel together towards France, only to be thrown into a frightening world of espionage, assassination, and events that seem to hurtle headlong toward the start of another World War. Undertaking an emergency commission from the English secret service, Elena travels to Berlin, camera in hand, determined to stop an international incident that will split Europe in two.

Meanwhile, back in England, Elena’s grandfather Lucas Standish ponders the imminent future and impending doom that faces Europe. Unbeknownst to his family, Lucas was the chief of MI6, the British secret service, during the last war. Too old to play that game anymore, he can only hope that the weak-kneed politicians will stop conciliating that menace Hitler. But when he receives word that his favorite granddaughter Elena is in trouble in Berlin, he discovers that one is never too old to work behind the scenes….

In this first book of a new series, Anne Perry rides the popular wave of World War II fiction to create her own memorable offering. The cast of characters contain echoes of Anne Perry’s ensembles from other series, but this gives the book a sense of comfortability rather than a tediousness. One thing I enjoy is Perry’s unique gift for delivering historical detail in dialogue that unfolds the character at the same time as explaining the situation. As usual, Perry’s pacing keeps the reader turning pages, and while Elena is not quite as standout a protagonist as some of Perry’s other leading ladies, Lucas makes up for any deficiencies with his own septuagenarian charm. Readers who enjoy World War II fiction will enjoy this international thriller.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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