Having just finished Mr. Alan Furst’s Mission to Paris, I was impressed with his ability to tease you, the reader, forward. Slowly at first as the characters are introduced and then, as the story unfolds, it races to the end. I was also surprised how many characters were introduced then left in the damp alleys of Paris. Not everything or everyone has to be answered. Mr. Furst's story is the vehicle for one man, an American actor (with roots in Vienna), as he tries to shoot a movie in Paris and is dragged into the world of spies during the months before Germany declares total war on the world,.
This is a thin book by today’s standards, 255 pages – maybe 70,000 words. Just my size. Each early chapter pulls you along until you can’t get off. It is well crafted, interesting, historically accurate as far as the story goes, it doesn’t bog down as some historical fiction can. He places the reader into the paranoid and fearsome time of pre-war Paris and Europe. The utter sense of foreboding and acquiescence is palpable.
This is not meant to be a book review, all right maybe it is, but Mr. Furst has done a simple masterpiece of the John le Carre school. I can honestly see Hitchcock make this into a movie – staring Cary Grant. It has the texture of North by Northwest, but more scary. In this story there is a real monster and he lives in Berlin.
Momentum is one of many gears the writer can use, and as they shift into higher and higher gears, the story has to speed up. The reader has to be afraid of crashing, fearing for their very souls, and also hoping that the ride never ends.