Kate Rees, a young American in Scapa Flow, Scotland, decides to stop teaching marksmanship and signs up to be dropped into occupied Paris on a dangerous assignment: assassinate Adolph Hitler. After rushed and rudimentary training-- and absolutely no formal spy training-- she finds herself in Paris with a rifle and a fierce resolve to succeed in her mission. When she misses her mark and the plan unravels, Kate is on the run for her life-- and the more she runs, the more she begins to think that the entire mission was a set-up.
In June of 1940, when Paris fell to the Nazis, Hitler spent a total of three hours in the city-- abruptly leaving, never to return. To this day, no one knows why. When a fascinating little nugget of information like this falls into the lap of a talented writer like Cara Black, it immediately becomes the catalyst for a high-octane historical thriller.
Kate Rees is a fascinating character, and I loved following her through the streets of Paris as she tried to get out alive. With no formal training in spycraft, she only had her quick wits, her instincts, and the bits and pieces of information she gleaned from the man who recruited her for the mission to aid in her survival. She is in a situation where she can trust absolutely no one, and this adds to the fast pace and suspense of Three Hours in Paris-- especially as she's being followed by a straight-arrow Munich cop named Gunter Hoffman. Kate may have her own obstacles to overcome, but so does Hoffman in the form of layer upon layer of Hitler's flunkies. The point of view switches from Kate to Hoffman in a riveting game of cat and mouse.
As I read, I also found myself becoming angrier and angrier. Why? Because this book reminded me of all the nameless, faceless, utterly dedicated and brave men and women who have been deliberately sacrificed by governments around the world in the name of Victory. I have always had a difficult time believing that any human being is a "throwaway." So, yes, Three Hours in Paris did rouse some ire in me, but first and foremost, it is a thrilling tale of survival.
From the map of Paris on the endpieces of the book to the very last page, I found myself rooting for Kate Rees. I think you will, too. I certainly hope Cara Black has more thrillers like Three Hours in Paris up her sleeve!
Three Hours in Paris by Cara Black
Soho Crime © 2020
Hardcover, 360 pages
Historical Thriller, Standalone
Source: the publisher