DNA Magazine - - FEATURE -

By Ben Fer­gus­son

This is the third book in Fer­gus­son’s Ber­lin nov­els, which kicked off with the very pop­u­lar crime novel The Spring Of Kasper Meier.

The books are linked by their set­ting in the same Ber­lin apart­ment build­ing. Like the pre­vi­ous books, An Hon­est Man is set at a fas­ci­nat­ing time in Ber­lin’s his­tory: 1989 and the months lead­ing up to the col­lapse of com­mu­nism in East Ger­many and the breach­ing of the Wall.

Eigh­teen-year-old Ralf has just left school and plans to spend a fi­nal glo­ri­ous sum­mer with his girlfriend Maike and two best friends. But an en­counter with Turk­ish-Ger­man Oz, leads Ralf into a se­cre­tive sex­ual af­fair with him and un­leashes many un­cer­tain­ties, not only re­gard­ing his sex­u­al­ity.

Oz has se­crets, yet so does Ralf’s mother, a psy­chol­o­gist whose clients in­clude some prom­i­nent mil­i­tary men. Then there’s their mu­si­cian neigh­bour, To­bias, who Oz sus­pects is work­ing for the Stasi. In this hot­house at­mos­phere of para­noia and sub­terfuge, the novel slowly builds to a truly sur­pris­ing twist as East Ger­many crum­bles.

This is a first-class spy novel – in­trigu­ing and highly at­mo­spheric – yet it’s also a very mov­ing love story. Read­ers who en­joyed To­masz Jedrowski’s ac­claimed Swim­ming In The Dark will also en­joy this love story.

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