Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Review for The Glass Beacon by John Day


A book for men & women. 
Under the direct orders of the Fuhrer, Karl Strom is tasked to design and plant secret devices in Britain.
He trains his team of misfits in Alderney, the Channel Island nearest England. Karl’s worst fear is confirmed during a lustful encounter under the stars. 
Deeply in love with Helga, the Oberst’s girlfriend, he says goodbye to her as he sets off with his team on the suicide mission, only to discover her heart-wrenching secret. 
The members of his team, each have their own personal agenda and the bonds they develop between them are tested as they experience love and face death as the story unfolds. 
Betrayed at every turn, Karl plans to find those who betrayed him and wreak terrible revenge on them. 
The obsessive and ruthless Karl Strom completes his official mission and now he must commit the perfect murder to right a terrible wrong and in so doing, reveal his true self. 
Finally, he must return to Helga and end the Raven, whoever it turns out to be. 
Will the final piece of his plan fall into place, or fall apart as a shattered dream?


To warn you up front, this book is not the happily ever after type.  No, things are messy when you are an undercover spy and there is a war going on.  Set in the 1940's during WWII, The Glass Beacon is a story about one man in particular, Karl Strom, who is a spy and a good one at that.  He has developed some new technology that could be pivotal in this war for Germany.  I'll be honest, I wasn't particularly fond of this guy in the book, but the further along you get in the book, the more you begin to see that he really is only human and there are other factors to take into account for his behavior and such.  Things do seem so cold and calculating for many of the characters, big or small.  But I suppose when there is a huge war going on such as this one, people will do what they must.  I was quite taken with the story of The Raven though, and this one just kept popping up throughout the story.  I won't divulge much about this one, but The Raven is an undercover spy for the British and has some amazing talent.  Or so it seems that's what this person is anyway.  There was much speculation on that point though while I was reading the book.  I really did love the spies The Raven and Sundown.  They were really interesting and served to give the book even more intrigue!

A solid 4 out of 5 stars!

Chapter – Prologue

He heard the echo of footsteps approaching along the narrow passage. The depressing light green brick walls and worn, dark red concrete floor reflected the sound. The hollow rattle and clink of keys at the steel door as the two men opened it sent a tremor of fear through the waiting man who sat with his back to the door, on the other side.
The large tot of whisky served to him in a white enamelled mug fifteen minutes earlier, the only thing that had passed his dry lips for the last two days, was gone, leaving him light headed. Although he had no appetite, he had savoured every drop.
The heavy door swung open, the worn hinges screeched like fingernails on a chalkboard. He was thankful that he would never hear that chilling sound ever again. The poorly ventilated room stank of recent defecation and sweat. The cold sweat of fear.
Two burley men grabbed the man’s arms firmly and lifted him to a standing position, as a third secured his wrists with a worn leather strap. The burley men briskly propelled him out of the room and down the passage. It was all happening too quickly, he thought, as another door ahead of him swung open. He had no time to take in his surroundings. Through the door they went, into a harshly lit, large whitewashed room. The restrained man paused a moment and looked around. The floor was cut timber, like a stage, but flush with the main concrete floor. Beyond that, a small audience sat on hard wooden chairs, facing him. None of them looked like they would enjoy the coming performance.
The floorboards sounded hollow under the men’s feet as the three men walked towards the middle where Albert Pierrepoint stood waiting. With practiced speed and dexterity, Pierrepoint came from behind and placed a thick black hood, reeking of vomit, over the prisoner’s head. Now a hangman’s noose slipped over the hood and a brass ring, through which the loop of rope passed, was positioned expertly under the hinge of the prisoner’s jaw.
The clink of a metal buckle sounded loud to the prisoner’s heightened senses as his ankles were strapped together. The two burley men still supported the condemned man as he swayed unsteadily, but at arms’ length. Death was close now, he thought as the realisation actually hit him, and a massive surge of adrenalin pumped through his body. His legs were trembling and about to fold, his almost empty bowels and bladder surged violently, and bile was in his throat. He was freely standing now and suddenly weightless. A microsecond of unbelievable pain hit him as the carefully placed brass ring at his jaw yanked around under his chin, at the bottom of the drop. It forced his head back and snapped his neck.
Although his body was quite dead, his brain continued to function for a few seconds. After the initial explosion of firing synapses, he was in a state of total peace as a permanent blackness engulfed him. Apart from a brief twitch of the legs, the show was over.
Another German spy ceased to exist, in Pentonville Prison.

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