Book Review Catalyst

April 6, 2013 at 12:31 am Leave a comment

catalyst-front-300Title: Catalyst

Author: Paul Byers

Genre: World War II Spy Thriller, Historical Fiction

Author Website, Amazon, B&N and Smashwords

In the waning months of World War II, the allied armies advance upon the crumbling German war machine like a juggernaut. In a final desperate bid to save the Fatherland, a plan is conceived that could turn the tide of the war-the completion of an advanced jet-propelled bomber capable of delivering a deadly payload to the shores of America.

Captain Griff Avery of the OSS has just botched the defection of a prominent German physicist, a man crucial to the Nazi end game, letting him fall into the hands of the rogue SS General masterminding the plot. But Avery’s troubles have only just begun: overwhelming evidence points to the woman he loves as the German spy who foiled the defection.

Now under suspicion himself, Avery sifts through the lies and deceit, uncovering the treacherous German operation. Against orders and on the run, Avery is forced to wage a secret war of his own, recruiting the crew of a B-17 Flying Fortress and a reckless group of flyboys and their P-51 Mustangs to help him hunt down the secret SS cell and prevent the slaughter-no matter what the cost.

Suspenseful and thrilling, this world war two thriller has made me interested in the genre, whereas before I didn’t really care for neither spy thrillers nor historical fiction set in the world war two era. The tone is serious from the get-go, the pacing fast, the suspense spine-tingling. I loved this book from start to end, from the conflicted characters to the secretive subplot and the spy storyline, to the sometimes hilarious undercurrent – a stark contrast to the overall seriousness of the book – and the clear-cut writing style.

Main character Avery is stuck in the middle of a plan that can change the outcome of war, and stop an attack on the USA that could prove to be disastrous. It starts with Strovinski, a German physicist, who they were supposed to bring to a safe spot, but who is now in the hands of the SS. When he’s under suspicion for being a spy himself, and he uncovers the plans, Avery recruits other flighters to help him prevent the upcoming attack. He’s a strong and fierce leader, even though he too has weaknesses, which we see every now and then. He has charisma, which is needed if one wants to be a leader – or needs to be one – but too often relies on luck whereas an intelligent plan would’ve been more helpful.

I read this book in about four hours, and I had a blast getting to know the characters, watching the plot unfold, and rushing through the pages to find out what would happen next. A strong, skillfully-written book about world war two that can be enjoyed even by those who aren’t generally a big fan of the genre (like me).

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