Death in Focus

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 18 Nov 2019

Member Reviews

Death In Focus by Anne Perry  4.5 stars

This is new series by Anne Perry featuring a new character, Elena Standish.  The time period is the 1930's in Europe.  Elena Standish is on the Amalfi Coast on assignment to photograph an economic conference.  A talented photographer, she is traveling with her sister Margot who is a war widow.  There are parties and people who seem to be desperately trying to forget - grief, the Depression, or the pall that hangs over Europe because of Mussolini and Hitler.  Elena meets Ian and there is some attraction there.  When he has to leave unexpectedly, she agrees to go with him to Berlin.  On the train trip, Ian is murdered by not before he tells Elena that he works for British Intelligence and that she must complete his mission.  This act will put her in danger in Hitler's Germany.  She is in the crowd when somebody is killed and she is accused of being an assassin  On the run, she receives help from an American journalist who hides her among the Jewish population in Berlin.  She gets captured and escapes with the help of another man she met in Italy.  The ending was unexpected, so I won't spoil it.

The action was non-stop and it showed that a lot of leaders hoped that there wouldn't be another war.  That people hoped that Hitler would confine his actions to Germany.  The portrayal of the actions in Germany were chilling.  One of the Jewish characters, Zillah said things that probably a lot of Jews said at the time.  But we as readers know that for most of them there are no happy endings.

I enjoyed this book and look forward to the next Elena Standish.  But before that there will be a new Christmas book "A Christmas Gathering" and a new Daniel Pitt to look forward to.

Thank you Netgalley and Random House/ Ballantine for this ARC.
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I’m excited to read the first book in a new series by Anne Perry.  I really liked the characters and the setting. There was a lot going on and it kept getting more involved and complicated as the story went on. I will look forward to the next one in this series!
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Oh how terrific to have a new character from Perry!  Elena Standish is a young and privileged British woman who finds herself in the middle of a nest of mess in the lead up to WWII.  Perry uses her, and her family, to explore the conflicts among the British, among others, about the German National Socialist Party and Adolf Hitler in the days before it became vividly apparent what was going to happen.  This also wraps in the fascination some felt for the Fascists.  The time between WWI and WWII was fraught with conflict in big and small ways- and a lot of unease.  Perry has captured that.  Of course there's also a mystery- the murder of Ian, who Elena met on the train and his request to her that she warn the British Ambassador to Germany- and then there's how Elena is pulled into the conflict.  I actually found her parents and grandparents just as interesting.  This is a good set up for future installments and I'm very much looking forward to them.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  For Perry fans and those who enjoy historical mysteries.
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Anne Perry’s new series is going to be a winner!  In the buildup to WWII, as Hitler consolidates his power in Germany and England tries to turn its head away from the rising conflagration, Ellen Standish takes a trip to Europe to enjoy the peace of the Amalfi Coast.  Standish, the daughter of diplomats and granddaughter of spies, finds herself enmeshed in the intrigues of the times.  This is going to be a great series, and I look forward to more.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Set around 1933 Elena Standish is accused of espionage and is in trouble with the Nazis.This story centers around her and through her family and you get to see the different aspects of roles people played in the war(diplomats,spies)
If you are a fan of books set around World War II you will love this book.A good mix of history and fiction and mystery make it a very interesting read.
#netgalley#deathinfocus #anneperry
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Death in Focus is the start of a brand-new series from the popular and prolific historical mystery novelist, Anne Perry. Getting in on the ground floor of a new series as it's being released is always fun, so I seized upon this chance to read my first (gasp) Anne Perry.

When the curtain opens on Elena Standish, it's 1933 and she is on the paradisiacal Amalfi Coast in the south of Italy. Elena is a photographer on assignment to cover an economic conference. Her older sister Margot has come along, and the sisters are able to have a bit of fun in spite of their own personal pain. (Margot was married and quickly widowed in World War I, and Elena was shamed by her traitorous ex.) Perry beautifully establishes both the setting and the tone, then adroitly shifts when Elena and her new male companion, Ian Newton, discover a murder. Before you know it, Elena's in Berlin caught in the midst of a whole heap of political intrigue and danger.

Perry is at her strongest evoking time and place, and establishing the emotional atmosphere. Death in Focus is informed by undercurrents of grief. The world scene is tumultuous, with Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party increasing in popularity and power. Everyone still carries pain from the Great War and many also harbor long-kept secrets from even their wives and children. Perry gives focus to the inner lives of characters, and we see how secrets and grief have shaped relational dynamics within Elena's family, including her grandfather Lucas, a retired former head of MI6, her grandmother who also played a sensitive role in the war, and her diplomat father. We also meet a colleague of her grandfather's who is still an active member of MI6 and to whom Lucas is closer than to his own son.

Although it can be frustrating to witness Elena's naivety, and though some of the situations are improbable and the ending a touch abrupt and unsatisfying, Death in Focus is immersive and immensely enjoyable. Perry's writing is emotive and evocative, and her lush and moody prose sustains interest as much as her plot. By the story's end, we see an Elena greatly changed by her experience, just as her family before her was changed by their efforts in the war. We're sure to see more of Elena and the compelling Lucas in future installments, and the Elena we'll meet there will be more savvy and believably heroic in her own right. With Elena's inevitable growth, further promised espionage, and the build-up to WWII still to come in the timeline, Death in Focus is the leading frame in what should be a strong collective whole of a series.      

Verdict: 4.5 of 5 Hearts. An immensely enjoyable start to a new historical mystery series!

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I would like to thank Ballantine Books and Netgalley for allowing me access to a digital ARC of Death in Focus in exchange for my honest review.
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As a fan of Anne Perry’s other series, I found this book hard to access. The period of time between the wars in England is one I usually love reading about, but I just felt there was something missing in Elena. 

I’m sure this will be the start of a new series and I hope that I will feel more engaged as it moves forward.
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I hope this is the start of a new series, an interesting main character with a host of other characters just as interesting.
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I really enjoyed the start of a new series. She does her research and there are a lot of historical facts in the book which dear you in to pre-WW2 Europe. The author did a wonderful job showing the divisions that are rising in Europe, especially among the British themselves. The lead character, Elena, comes from a family of diplomats and secret agent.

I look forward to seeing the growth in Elena's character. To see her advance from being a naive somewhat weak character into a more confident, resourceful individual. My favorite characters in the book were her grandfather and grandmother, Lucas and Josephine. I honestly hope they take a big part in the series. Would also love to see more of her sister, who I think would help Elena with the growing up.

I was intrigued by the fact that the author uses the main character to show the changes in the German people. To explain how you don't need to believe an evil only to use it for your own personal gain. You'll get accustomed to them until you're not there not your last choice, but you're first. That you can justify them to get the results you're looking for. The more that you win, the more you can justify it to yourself, which begins to blur the line between right and wrong and thinking that only winning matters. Such scary time those were and I enjoyed the way the author immersed us into that world. Most of the characters were well-defined and likable, you cheered for the good guys and didn't know some of the bad guys until the end.

I definitely recommend this new series and I look forward to the next book already.

Thank you to the author/publisher/Netgalley for the opportunity to read this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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In this new book by Ann Perry  merges family secrets and how we got a new hero who realizes that she has to solve the mystery all on her own.  Ann perry is one of the best authors out there. Every time I read one I can’t wait for the next book. And you won’t be disappointed with this one..
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This new book by Anne Perry takes place during a fascinating and frightening time and place - Germany in the early 1930s during the rise of Hitler. There is all of Perry's usual sense of setting. The reader can feel what it is to be there. But I was disappointed that there wasn't more depth to the characters. Depth and individuality, even of  secondary characters is usually a strength of hers. I found it a bit slow going in the beginning as I couldn't get involved with any of them.. Some seemed thinly drawn or just dull as well as interchangeable with other characters.. In this story, the emphasis is almost entirely on the plot. It is a good one. A young Englishwoman visiting in Italy is drawn into a plot to assassinate a Nazi official and blame the British. She doesn't know whom to trust, there are people around her being killed and she has to find some way of both doing the right thing while not getting herself killed. It did keep my attention to the end and offer some surprises.
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This is a great first book in a new series by Anne Perry.   Elena Standish is the daughter of a diplomat and the granddaughter of the head of MI6 during the First WW.  This book takes place before the start of WWII.   Elena, a photographer, and her sister Margot have gone to the Amalfi coast for an Economics Conference.  Elena had previously worked in the Foreign office, fell in love with her boss, and he had betrayed them all.  However, she meets Ian, who she easily connects with.  After they find a dead man in the hotel, Emma agrees to ride the train to Paris with Ian.  When she finds Ian dying, he asks her to go to Berlin to warn the British embassy that a high up Nazi, Scharnhorst, is going to be shot at a rally.  

Emma tells the Embassy, and then goes to the rally and shoots pictures, including one of Scharnhorst being shot.  When she returns to the hotel she finds a rifle in her closet and realizes they are going to pin the shooting on her.  She escapes from the hotel, is befriended by some Jews, and while still on the run, watches the burning of books where she takes more moving photos.  

This is a very exciting mystery, with graphic descriptions of what is happening in Berlin in the days before war begins.  There is a very surprising event at the end of the book.
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Reading an Anne Perry book is the gift that keeps on giving. Each page is filled with twists and turns and a story line that keeps you wanting more. I was thrilled to read this book as it is a first in a new series. This was an amazing book that introduces us to Elena Standish in the time just before the start of World War II. We first meet Elena in Amalfi. Her vacation turns into a nightmare when she unwittingly becomes involved in secrets that she should not have heard.
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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC copy of this exciting new series by Anne Perry. I absolutely loved it, did not see the ending coming, can not wait until the next book and I think this series may be my new favorite of all of the authors works!!
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Normally, I devour the books by Anne Perry and have enjoyed her characters and writing immensely over the years, however, after 18 chapters and trying diligently to absorb the story being told, I was forced to abandon this promising new series.  There was entirely too much gore for me to accept.  In 18 chapters there were 2 murders, an assassination, and a person who apparently had their skin removed.  I couldn't go on.

I was very much interested in a character such as Elena Standish, seeing the second World War through the eyes of a photographer.  I guess I just didn't expect the gory descriptions that came with it.  As usual the writing was superb, the story appalling.
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This is another new series from Anne Perry and is set in the 1930s. Initially, Perry focuses on the toll people paid as a result of WWI, particularly women. As this book opens, there is an increasing fear that war is once again on the horizon – a war that no one wants.

Then the book really begins as we join Elena Standish and her sister, Margot, who are vacationing in Amalfi on the Italian coast. After meeting a young man, Ian, she is smitten. She impetuously agrees to travel to Paris with him. When Ian is attacked on the train, he convinces Elena to agree to go to Berlin to deliver a message to the British ambassador. When Ian dies, Elena fells compelled to change her plans once again and goes to Berlin.

Once again, Perry has created compelling, complex characters who act according to the social mores of the time. This book is so well-written that Perry evokes the era and the cities so the reader feels like she can see the beauty of Amalfi as well the frenzied pace of Berlin and the sense that some people are frozen and unable to act because their fear of another war is so deep. The ending was satisfactory and not easily predictable.

If you like historical mysteries and are intrigued with history just before WWII, this new series is for you. While it is always exciting to read the first book in a series, reading a new-series book by an author you’ve been reading for years is even more exciting. This book belongs at, or near, the top of every historical mystery fan’s to-be-read list.

My thanks to Ballantine and NetGalley for a free eARC.
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You know how at the end of a relationship, the cliche is "it isn't you, it's me"?  Well, in this case, it was you, Anne Perry.  I had great difficulty getting into the story, found Elena overly naive and other characters boring and not well developed, and the plot was uneven.  I can't tell you how many times I "hurrumphed" over Elena's poor choices and found myself nearly shouting at her.  It may be that I have over-mined the period in my reading of late, but this was not the best of the novels I've read of the period.

It isn't the end of my relationship with Anne Perry, but it is with Elena.  I just can't invest the energy in her.

My thanks to NetGallery, Random House and the author for an advance copy to review.
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This title was requested from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review and thank you to the publisher for the opportunity to read it.  I found “Death in Focus” to be a fast-paced, engaging read.  The time period, between WWI and WWII, was well depicted and felt authentic.  I felt easily connected to the main characters throughout the book and the writing was suspenseful.  I can definitely imagine a new series emerging  from this initial installment.   That being said, I must comment on the character, Elena, and her incredible naivety.  Honestly, the choices the author had this character making repeatedly throughout the novel almost ruined the book for me.  At almost every turn, I kept thinking no one could be so dumb as to trust as many shady characters as Elena fell in with.  I will look for the next installment in this series when the author puts it out with the hope that Ms. Perry gives her protagonist some better judgement and street smarts.  As a reader, I am not attracted to main characters who are just plain stupid.
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Anne Perry has been one of my favorite authors for several years, and so I was happy to have the opportunity to read this first in a new series which I was provided by Netgalley, the author, and Penguin Random House.  
The central character here is Elena Standish, a young British woman who, while on holiday in Amalfi becomes unwillingly involved in espionage that is ongoing during the build-up to WWII.  In a few short but traumatic days she finds herself in Berlin, running for her life, a scapegoat for the Nazis.  While there she observes people who are also living in terror and hiding out as much as possible, but also among many she sees a frenzied admiration of Hitler, a kind of desperate hope pinned on him.  

The author uses Elena and her family to explore and illustrate the divisions among the British people during the 1930’s in the lead up to WWII.  Elena comes from a family where several have been involved in the War, and peace, efforts during and since WWI.  Her father, Charles, has been in the Diplomatic Service for some time, and her grandparents, Lucas and Josephine, have both been engaged in clandestine activities.  Of course, no one else in the family has been aware of that involvement, and Lucas and Josephine are only vaguely aware of each others’ role.   There is conflict currently between Charles and his father, Lucas, about how England should be proceeding in the face of Germany’s increasing power.  Charles is in the camp that favors concessions to Hitler, and that another war is to be avoided at any cost.  Lucas, alarmed at the rhetoric and aggression he sees from Germany, believes that a second war is inevitable.  But soon all that is put aside, as everyone in the family is seeking to do all they can to ensure Elena’s safety.  

The author also uses Elena to give us a piece of cautionary advice.  While in Berlin, as she observes the German people, Elena begins to consider what she would do if these same things were happening in England.  She thinks “you do not need to believe evil, only to use it’s methods.  You will get accustomed to them, until eventually they are not your last choice, but your first.  For a while, you can justify it to yourself, and then eventually you will not bother.  You have forgotten what you were fighting for;  now winning is the only objective.  And the more you win, the more you justify it, until the whole idea of right and wrong disappears, and only winning matters”.  

I will be looking forward to the next installment in this series.
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Over the years, I've loved the Anne Perry Christmas books, as well as the Pitt books and so I expected to love this one. Though it had a bit of a slow start, I ended up loving it, despite the fact that I was surprised at how different it is from her usual books.  This is much more of a spy/thriller-type book.

Despite my early misgivings, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Loved the characters and the 1930's pre-war Germany setting.

Ultimately, I would highly recommend this one to people who enjoy historical mysteries and/or to those who are willing to give a try to a completely different kind of book from an author who they thought they knew. Great possibilities here!!
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