Item Description
Five Past Midnight
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Item Specifics - Fiction & Nonfiction Books
Author: James Stewart Thayer Subject: --
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 068480025X Condition: Used
Format: Hardcover
Publication Year: 1997
Portions of this page Copyright 1995 - 2004 Muze Inc. All rights reserved.
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Additional Information about Five Past Midnight
Portions of this page Copyright 1995 - 2004 Muze Inc. All rights reserved.

Jack Cray is an American commando who escapes from a German prisoner-of-war camp and sets out for Berlin. His mission: assassinate Hitler. Otto Dietrich is a German detective laboring under a cloud of political suspicion. His superiors give him an ultimatum: stop Cray or be hanged for treason. Under the threat of death, both men race to shape history.

Length: 352 pages
Height: 9.8 in.
Width: 6.8 in.
Thickness: 1.2 in.
Weight: 20.8 oz.

Publisher's Note
April 4, 1945. President Roosevelt is briefed on the war in Europe: 28,000 men, women, and children are dying every day. A group of German staff officers is ready to assume leadership of the Third Reich and surrender instantly. The German SS is preparing a fortified retreat in the Bavarian Alps where Hitler may be able to carry on the war for years.... The president makes the obvious but difficult decision: assassinate Hitler. Immediately. Chosen by America's OSS for this critical and dangerous mission is Captain Jack Cray, an American Army commando with a terrifying combat reputation. He is known and feared across Germany for the stealth and success of his behind-the-lines attacks. Cray is currently a POW at Colditz Castle, a grim poison for hard-core escapees. A coded message orders him to break out of the castle. As Cray fights his solitary and deadly way to Berlin, he spreads a mass of terror and disinformation across Germany. Suspecting Cray's ultimate target, SS leader Heinrich Himmler assigns one man to track Cray down and kill him: Otto Dietrich, who was chief criminal Inspector with the Berlin Police until his arrest for treason. Dietrich is now facing death in a Gestapo prison. Himmler's offer: If Dietrich finds and kills Cray, Himmler will pardon Dietrich and spare him the executioner's blade. If Dietrich fails, the penalty is death. As Cray makes his way across the ravaged landscape of war-torn Germany, he meets a fascinating cast of characters, including Katrin von Tornitz, a beautiful widow who works for the Allies, and whose life is changed when she becomes Cray's reluctant partner in the attempt on the Fuhrer's life; Sergeant Ulrich Kahr, the one man who knows the Achilles' heel of hitler's underground bunker, and whose love for his family makes him vulnerable to Cray's demand; and Hitler himself, a desperate man who can still summon up ferocious willpower. As Cray moves closer and closer to his final confrontation in Hitler's Berlin bunker, and Dietrich tracks him as he would a master criminal, a strange sympathy and understanding develop between them. One wants to kill Hitler, the other to save him - but if the death of Hitler means the end of the war, motives and goals may become tangled.
Harry Barnett is the unlikely hero of Robert Goddard's atmospheric and sophisticated thriller, OUT OF THE SUN. Harry's mundane, gin soaked bachelorhood is interrupted by the news that an alleged son of his, the brilliant mathematician David Venning, has been hospitalized in a diabetic coma. Harry immediately resolves the question of his paternity, but other, darker mysteries quickly intervene. Venning's tragic condition appears to be either accidental or self inflicted. But precious notebooks are missing from the hotel room in which he was found. And two other scientists employed, like Venning, by Globescope Inc., an American forecasting institute, have died in suspicious circumstances. Harry suddenly a makeshift investigator but always a master of sardonic wit finds himself propelled into an international arena of conspiratorial intrigue, where he battles to help the son he's never met.

Industry reviews
Fans of Jack Higgins will devour this fast-paced thriller about Jack Cray, a lone American commando sent to assassinate Hitler in the waning days of WWII. The only man standing between him and the Fuhrer is Otto Dietrich, Berlin's finest detective, whose brother was implicated in the June 1944 attempt to kill Hitler. Freed from jail specifically for this assignment and kept on a short leash by the Gestapo, Dietrich tracks Cray from Colditz prison to the vividly realized chaos of bomb-ravaged Berlin and the bunker where Hitler has gone to ground. There's a love interest of course: Cray's Berlin contact is the beautiful Katrin von Tornitz, widow of yet another '44 conspirator. Even though Cray looks mean (and says things like "`Don't talk to me. Just sit there and bleed'"), he spares the innocent whenever possible and this Germany is full of innocents. Thayer (White Star) deliberately makes the Gestapo and the SS the only evil Germans; even Hitler eyes "milky blue, penetrating, yet at the same time warm and guileless" comes off as a regular guy; he even shares knowing glances with the men he catches ogling Eva Braun. It makes for a surprisingly sunny atmosphere, where nobility wins out over nationalism every time. Historical matters aside, the only real lapse in verisimilitude is Cray's super-human resistance to pain: it's hard to worry about someone who can shake off dog bites and bayonet thrusts with invariable sangfroid. And Thayer's handling of Cray's escape from Colditz setting it up, then showing him free before explaining how it was done is duplicated in the climax, where a crucial plot point occurs offstage and is filled in only after the fact. It feels like cheating, and seems unworthy of a novel that is otherwise as fast and straightforward as a punch to the jaw. (Aug.)

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