First Lines Friday – August 2, 2019

First Lines Friday

This is a weekly meme hosted by Wandering Words, where you give the first few lines of a book to hook your readers before introducing the book.

Here are my first lines:

November 1968

In the US presidential election Republican challenger Richard Nixon defeated the Democratic candidate Vice President Hubert Humphrey, and American Independent Party candidate George C. Wallace. The Beatles released their self-titled album, popularly known as the White Album. In the third series of Star Trek, the first ever interracial kiss was aired on US national television between Captain James T. Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura, and I embarked on my planned trip to The Netherlands.

Don’t you love historical facts?

And the book is… Weekend in Amsterdam by Roy A. Higgins.

Weekend in Amsterdam

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GOODREADS SYNOPSIS:

A stranger walks up to you in a bar and asks you to spy for a foreign government, Unbelievable? Ray Evans would have thought so too until it happened to him.

Based on actual events Ray Evans is on business in The Netherlands. Being young and single he decides to spent the weekend in Amsterdam and sample the delights of the city.

While drinking alone, a middle aged man with dyed auburn hair and a face like an unmade bed strikes up a conversation, he tells Ray that he is head of security at a Russian radio station in Amsterdam.

Ray envisages a music station playing Russian folk songs to a Dutch audience, perhaps with a little Soviet propaganda thrown in for good measure, as it is currently the height of the Cold War.

Ray envisages Vladimir dressed as a uniformed security guard stopping undesirables and people without appointments from entering the radio station, or more likely supervising other uniformed security guards with a similar function.

As it turned out this analogy couldn’t have been further from the truth. The discussion quickly turns to politics at Vladimirs instigation, and he apotheosizes Russia’s intention to annex Europe with the Soviet Union during the next decade. Vladimir is wearing a rather old fashioned double breasted suit, but when he leans forward to pick up his cigarette lighter Ray catches a glimpse of a handgun in a shoulder holster which unnerves him.

After the chance meeting Ray has an overwhelming feeling that he is being followed, if Vladimir is carrying a gun in public, he reasons, he must have diplomatic immunity, which means that he must work for the Soviet Embassy, in which case the radio station will not be transmitting music, as he had at first thought, but coded radio signals, which he knew from watching a recent television program came under the jurisdiction of the GRU, or Soviet Military Intelligence, who’s other functions, he remembered, included procuring Scientific, technological, and Industrial secrets.

When he accidentally bumps into Vladimir for a second time in a week, he has a feeling of dread, and when Vladimir asks him to work for the Soviet Union in an intelligence gathering capacity he is afraid to answer.

How do you think you would you respond if a refusal to cooperate could potentially put a target on your back?

The book cover alone is very tempting. I’ve really been enjoying spy espionage thrillers lately and this one sounds really good!!  It is the second book in the Raymond Evans series, but I’ve been told it can be read as a standalone.  Happy reading!

The Eclectic Review

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