Book Title: The Company Files: 1. The Good Man by Gabriel Valjan
Category: Adult Fiction, 251 pages
Genre: Thriller, Historical Fiction, Crime Fiction, Espionage
Publisher: Winter Goose Publishing
Release date: December 2017
Tour dates: Feb 12 to March 2, 2018
Content Rating: PG + M (No bad language but there is a rape scene with a minor and then another attempted rape scene, and some violence.)
In 1948, Vienna was divided among four powers: France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Jack Marshall had served with Walker during the war, and now, working together for The Company, they are tasked to do the inconceivable. Could former Nazis really be recruited to assist the U.S. in the atomic race? As their team moves forward, they quickly discover they are not the only ones looking for these men. And the others in the search may just have the objective of murder.
In this tale of historical noir, of corruption and deceit, no one is who they say they are. Who is The Good Man in a world where an enemy may be a friend, an ally may be the enemy, and governments deny everything?
The Company Files is a multi-book series about the early days of the intelligence community. This series draws from real history and individuals. The writing style is very different from that of the Roma Series. I would describe it as le Carré meets Chandler.Oh, there is something about noir fiction that is so compelling, drawing us in with its cynical characters and fatalistic mood punctured with witty repartee. The Good Man set in 1948 Vienna has that but with a good ending. We have Jack Marshall and Walker, former soldiers who are now working for The Company, in search of former Nazis to recruit them to work for the U.S. government. Leslie is the Company analyst, mysterious and alluring. And then we have Sheldon, who comes across as calm and collected but is a Jew who survived the horrors of Auschwitz. Valjan peels back the many layers of each character slowly, as the plot thickens and unlikely alliances form between former enemies as the winds of change sweep through post-war Europe.
The story has classic elements of noir fiction with hardboiled main characters, a post-war setting, espionage and crime with an unexpected femme fatale that surprised me. I'm also happy to say that unlike the norm in this genre, there is no profanity or excessive violence in this novel. It's true that the writing style is different from Valjan's previous books, but then again, this is a different genre. It is a testament to Valjan's writing talent that he can switch from his thriller series laced with humour and camaraderie to a darker thematic novel.
While the hardened male characters bedecked in dark suits and fedoras could quicken a woman's heartbeat when that vulnerable side slipped through their tough veneer, I was more ambivalent about the female characters. Tania, the Russian refugee is still an enigma to me and several things about her remained unanswered for me, (perhaps this was the intention all along) making me think she will make another appearance in future books?
If you like noir fiction, espionage historical fiction that is atmospheric and leaves one pondering moral dilemmas then this one's for you. An absorbing read to be sure, one that immerses the reader into a world filled with political intrigue, shady characters, and the need to find one's place in a world struggling to regain its footing in the aftermath of WWII.
To read reviews, please visit Gabriel Valjan's Page on iRead Book Tours.
Gabriel Valjan is the author of The Roma Series from Winter Goose Publishing. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where he enjoys the local restaurants, and his two cats, Squeak and Squawk, keep him honest to the story on the screen.