Death at Nuremberg

Written by W.E.B. Griffin William E. Butterworth IV
Review by Cindy Vallar

“Diplomatic” is not the best word to describe Captain James Cronley, Jr., leader of a team of agents for the Directorate of Central Intelligence in Occupied Germany in 1946. He tends to speak before he thinks and often steps on superiors’ toes. But he gets the job done, and his present orders come from the highest levels in Washington, DC. His primary task is to protect the chief prosecutor for the upcoming trials of high-powered Nazis in Nuremburg, but he’s also tracking down the head of Odessa, a secret organization that helps high-powered Nazis escape to Argentina. When a friend is assassinated in his former lodgings and he is ambushed on a back road, Cronley wonders who wants him dead – the elusive Franz von Dietelburg of Odessa, or the Russian NKGB, or a mole familiar with his investigation.

While the premise of the book promises high adventure and intrigue, the complicated plot and flat characters fail to deliver in this Clandestine Operations novel. The gripping subplot involving Wewelsburg Castle (an “SS holy place”) and Operation Phoenix tantalizes readers, but fizzles out much like the novel’s climax. Aside from the ambush, there’s little action; much of the story involves sitting or standing around and talking. There are so many characters and acronyms it’s difficult to keep who’s who and what’s what straight, which results in frequent repetition of information already provided. For what is supposed to be a secret operation involving secret agents, too many people (friends and enemies alike) know who and what is going on. Readers who enjoy twisty stories and the convoluted politics and maneuverings following war may enjoy this novel, but those seeking tension and suspense may want to look elsewhere.