Rip the Angels from Heaven

Written by David Krugler
Review by G. J. Berger

By age 25, Ellis Voigt has achieved a lot. He has risen to Lieutenant in the US Navy and works for the Office of Naval Intelligence. He has wormed his way into a Communist spy cell in Washington, DC. But he’s also under suspicion of having murdered a Soviet mole and is hounded by both the FBI and Soviet spy managers operating in the US. Then he’s assigned to track down a Soviet spy suddenly missing and a US scientist who passed A-bomb secrets to that missing spy.

During a frantic eleven days in July 1945, Voigt must convince his Soviet spy-masters, his superiors in the Office of Naval Intelligence, his other spy contacts, and an FBI agent hounding him that his loyalties are only to each of them. A frenetic journey takes him from his ordinary government office desk to the slums and empty warehouses of DC and to the first A-bomb test in the New Mexico desert.

Through Voigt’s first-person narrative, Krugler nicely manages the many complexities of the story and Voigt’s often teetering balancing act. One wrong word, one misstep will land him in jail charged with treason by US authorities or get him tortured and shot by Soviet thugs. An intense romance and interactions with the geniuses who developed nuclear bombs liven up the story even more. The details and dialogue fit the characters and the times. For readers who want a fast-paced, complex spy thriller (and are willing to accept improbable twists and overlook some plot holes), this is a satisfying read.