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The Eighth Dwarf by Ross Thomas (1979)

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Germany immediately after WWII. Think The Third Man or A German Requiem, but told from the American perspective. A bit less of the wise-ass Ross Thomas in this one, though he's clearly still here. But that difference in tone makes this novel stand out a bit in Thomas ouvre. ( )
  ehines | Jun 16, 2012 |
Like any other Thomas novel, you can’t trust surface appearances. This goes double for Thomas’s espionage stories. The action moves quickly, but you can’t skim, you have to read everything. To skim means to miss something vital that will leave you confused and frantically paging backwards to find the part that will pull it all together for you. And as usual, there is a weird and unexpected ending to savor. Not so much a twist as a good dose of irony.

The most delicious part of reading this was the scenes where two people meet under certain circumstances and we all see what is presented, knowing that somehow it isn’t what it seems but not knowing how. Then in the next few paragraphs we see the real person and their motive and it is absolutely fascinating. Great stuff and I positively savored those passages. ( )
  Bookmarque | May 19, 2007 |
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During the war, Minor Jackson had served with the Office of Strategic Services, in Europe mostly, although some four months before the fighting there was done they had flown him out to Burma.
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Searching for a killer of Nazi war criminals, an ex-spy finds an unlikely ally Nicolae Polscaru, a three-and-a-half-foot-tall dwarf, is tossed into a Hollywood swimming pool by four drunken screenwriters, who take bets on how long he can tread water. Minor Jackson, his OSS training still fresh a year after World War II's end, beats the bullies senseless and pulls Nicolae from the water. A friendship is born. Jackson is broke, his spying days over, and Nicolae offers him a job. A former spy himself, the globetrotting Romanian has a commission to find Kurt Oppenheimer, an expert assassin of high-ranking Nazis. Kurt won't stop killing, no matter what the bloodshed will do to the fragile world peace, and the Soviets, the British, and the remains of the Nazi High Command all want his head. Jackson will beat them all to finding Kurt unless his new friend betrays him first.… (more)

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