Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Book Review & Win a Copy: Collision of Evil by John J. LeBeau

AuthorJohn J. LeBeau
TitleCollision of Evil
Date of PublicationSeptember 21, 2009
Page Count323

The American backpacker Charles Hirter is out hiking in the Bavarian Alps when he is brutally murdered. His brother Robert, a CIA operative flies to Germany to bring his body home and to find out more about the murder. The German detective in charge of the case, Kommissar Franz Waldbaer, faces a hopeless investigation as there are neither clues nor motives nor suspects. Being used to working alone - and also perfectly happy with this - Waldbaer at first seems rather annoyed at Robert Hirter's insistence on joining the investigation, but soon they uncover a truth born in a dark time in history, the Third Reich, that weaves together with a very present threat of radical Islamist terror.

While some may say the general plot idea is nowadays overused, I can only say if it is, I certainly didn't notice that while reading John J. LeBeau's debut novel, Collision of Evil. It is obvious he knows the trade, having worked in CIA operations for numerous years himself, most of them outside the US and in part even in locations that experienced actie terrorism. With this knowledge, LeBeau created a plot that is believeable, maybe even too believeable for those who like to think they're safe right where they are. Throughout the book, I was on the edge of my seat, wondering whether the main characters would find the important clues on time to prevent the looming act of terror from happening.

All in all, there were two minor aspects I didn't like too much. One was the lack of depth in characters, which I am very willing to attribute to this being LeBeau's debut, and the other is the title. In fact, I don't think there was a collision of two evils, rather, I would say it was two evils working together and combined their forces. My experience is that authors don't have much say in titles, which is not always the best of choices.

Adding everything up, I can only say I want to read more of John J. LeBeau's thrillers and I would love to take one of his classes (he is a Professor of Strategy and Security in the College for International and Security Studies at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch, Germany).

As a German, I also really have to add this one: His depicting of breakfast in smaller German hotels is great! Here's a short quote to illustrate this a bit. Charles Hirter is still at the hotel, having breakfast at the hotel breakfast room:

He lingered over a cup of strong Tchibo coffee, toyed with the remains of a sunflower seed roll, and leafed idly through the sports section of the International Herald Tribune.

Everyone here knows Tchibo coffee, everyone drank it at one point. And sunflower seed rolls? Whenever I get some rolls, it's got to be sunflower seed rolls, they're the real deal ;-)

And this is how you can win your own, autographed copy:
John J. Le Beau is giving away a signed copy of his book, Collision of Evil, to one lucky tour visitor. Go to his book tour page, enter your name, e-mail address, and this PIN, 4893, for your chance to win. Entries from Secret Dreamworld of a Bookaholic will be accepted until 12:00 Noon (PT) tomorrow. No purchase is required to enter or to win. The winner (first name only) will be announced on his book tour page next week.


  1. Sounds intriguing - Not necessarily my type of book, but a definite find for my German father & father-in-law! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Interesting review. I know the book had a good plot. It was great hearing from "somebody" in Germany and their take on the book. Looking forward to more by the author myself.

  3. It definitely was a good book :-)

  4. Hi! I just finished this book and thought it was a good read. Oh but I thought the title was smart though your point of view is interesting. Thanks for the info on German breakfast! :)

    Here is my review of the book. Thanks.