Leaving Berlin by Joseph Kanon
Leaving Berlin is a gripping historical thriller, set in Berlin four years after the end of World War II. Through an action-packed plot, readers gain a glimpse of what life was like there at the start of the Cold War, when the Stalinists replaced the Nazis. In many ways, the book is so realistic readers might forget it is a thriller.
The storyline is based on the adventures of Alex Meier, a German writer whose father was Jewish and who sees himself as a socialist. With his family’s help, Alex escaped to America before the Holocaust. Although he did not have his heart with the Communists, he still was swept up by the McCarthy era after refusing to name names to a Congressional committee. To avoid jail and continue being a celebrity novelist, he makes a desperate deal with the CIA. He must return to Berlin, pose as a disenchanted exile, and gather actionable intelligence by spying on a former lover.