The Lisbon Crossing
In the summer of 1940, as the Nazi war machine spreads its death and destruction throughout Europe, Hollywood stuntman and reputed gangster Jack Teller accompanies international film star Lili Sterne to neutral Portugal. Lili enlists Jack's help to locate Eva Lange, a childhood friend whose life may be in jeopardy --- or who might be a Nazi sympathizer. In his quest to locate Eva, Teller leaves behind the Hollywood glamour, excitement and starlets, as well as Charlie Wexler, a powerful movie mogul and jealous husband who is seeking revenge against Jack for bedding down with his wife.
In Portugal, Jack is trailed, and his life is threatened while he searches for Eva and for more information about Eddie Grimes, the private investigator Lili originally hired to track down her childhood friend. According to Eddie's last report, he had tracked Eva to Lisbon and found out she was trying to gain passage to London. That was shortly before Lili received a telegram from a Portuguese official claiming Eddie had died in a car accident.
While trying to discover what Eddie had found out about the whereabouts of Eva and how to outwit a hit man sent to Portugal by Charlie Wexler, Jack quickly learns how to play the game of exchanging money for information, and exchanging information for even more information. And Jack soon discovers he is not alone in his search for the elusive Eva Lange. Nazi SS Major Heinrich Ritter is also looking for Fraulein Lange in connection with the disappearance of Dr. Hans Kleinmann, an influential German diplomat who was last seen in Eva's company.
After Kleinmann and Eddie Grimes's bodies are recovered from Grimes's car at the bottom of Boco do Inferno, the Mouth of Hell, the stakes are raised, the danger escalates and the pursuit for Eva intensifies.
In Jack's quest to locate Eva, he meets Edward VIII, the Duke of Windsor, who has relinquished his British throne to marry his American wife, Wallis Simpson. Jack quickly learns that the Duke and his wife are not the loving couple the news reports have led him, and the rest of the world, to believe. Jack also questions the couple's loyalty to England after he uncovers a plot that could endanger the free world and alter the outcome of the war against the Nazi regime.
During his exploits, Jack encounters characters straight out of central casting: sadistic Nazi storm troopers, self-indulgent royalty, fumbling and power-hungry bureaucrats, an alcoholic foreign news correspondent, greedy war profiteers, spies, counterspies, revolutionaries, freedom fighters, traitors, a blind musician and even a war orphan.
THE LISBON CROSSING is well written, with all the elements of an engaging and suspenseful story --- murder, greed, lust, betrayal --- yet what I found missing were depth and conviction. It's a good novel, but I was hoping for great.
Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt on December 30, 2010