Death in Focus

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 18 Nov 2019

Member Reviews

I did not finish this book and thus will not be posting a full review on my blog.  I could not follow this book - it was immediately intricate as if it were not the first in a series.  It was trying to tell a lot without actually saying anything.  I think the premise is good and this author is splendid but this was not the book for me. Thank you for your consideration.
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This is going to be such an enjoyable series! It was very light on character development and a bit jumpy in plot, but thoroughly enjoyable and a great start.
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Anne Perry is a well-known, bestselling author of historical fiction. She is known for her ceaseless historical research and her ability to catch the time-period so that readers feel they are living in the time. Twenty-eight year old Elena Standish is the new heroine in a series of the same name, and the novels take place in pre-World War II Europe when Hitler was rising to power. In the first installment of the series, Elena and her sister Margot are on holiday on the coast of Italy where Elena meets the love of her life, Ian, and suddenly decides to go home to London with him. Elena’s father is a foreign diplomat, and her Grandfather was once head of M16, so she has ties to the political goings-on of the day. Ian is also an agent, which she learns about later. On her train ride home, Ian is murdered, and Elena, with the help of a friend who seems to be there to keep her out of trouble, goes to Berlin to finish Ian’s mission. Elena is arrested and is accused of a murder that she didn’t commit; she escapes, but may not survive, since the Nazis are still after her.

Anne Perry’s writing is always good, and she is expert in telling a believable story. She is a master of developing her characters, and readers will feel they know them personally. While reading, and experiencing the suspense that builds throughout, readers will feel they are living in the time period and will feel what people actually felt during Hitler’s rise to power. Even readers who aren’t particularly interested in that time period will find themselves on the edges of their seats.

This first Elena Standish novel is excellent and will have readers anticipating the next installment. It includes some of the history that isn’t being taught in modern colleges, and, even though Elena is fictional, the background and historical information is factual and everyone can learn from this book, as well as be entertained with good writing, a good story, and good characters.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book.
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This is the start of a new series during pre World War II in Europe. It took awhile to sort out all the different characters. Elena travels to Italy with her sister,Margot to attend a convention and meets Ian. The mystery begins when a man is murdered at Elena's hotel. Other murders will happen, one in which Elena is said to have done. The culprit behind the murders is quite easy to figure out just not the motive. There are parts that are confusing and others that are unrealistic. Elena's past relationship is mentioned several times with no explanation which is annoying. Hopefully the next book will expand on some background of Elena's grandparents.
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When I read the description of "Death in Focus", I was very optimistic.  It sounded like just the type of series I've been drawn to in the past.  Set in the time between the 1st and 2nd World Wars was also intriguing, as so many books lately have focused on World War 2.  I finished, but won't be recommending or reading future books in the series.  There were just too many plot points that relied on coincidence and characters spilling all kinds of details.  I"m willing to suspend disbelief, but this is to the genre for that.
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The first book in a new series and I hope it will continue.
Anne Perry  in her easy readable style managed to bring to life some of the events taking place in the aftermath of World War I around 1933.  For many people who have lost a loved one the hurt is still very much present and everybody has their own way of dealing with it.  We see the increase of popularity of Hitler in Germany and how easy it is  to become caught up in the situation.  Not only in Germany but in England, France and the Nederland's Hitler had his believers.  They saw him improving the economy and making the train system punctual.  What can be easier then to blame Jews and Gypsies for your bad luck and poverty.  The ending was a bit of a surprise but it was a good ending.
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I received this book as an advance reading copy through Netgalley. 

I've been a big fan of Anne Perry for years and this book does not disappoint. It's different--somewhat more of an thriller than a mystery and set in the 1930s, but no less amazing. I can see how people who just want a straight up mystery or a brainless escape might not enjoy it, but I loved it. It's quite fast paced and several scenes were very creepy without resorting to just graphic violence. While the character of Elena was not one that resonated with me right away, she started the grow on me, especially in conjunction with several of the other main characters. 

The detail in the history and the way we get to see each characters mind go through the process of absorbing what was going on in the 1930s in Germany was very engaging. Ms. Perry, as usual, delves into the human psyche and shows us the dark and the light. She holds nothing back when depicting the mindsets that led (and lead) people to support authoritarians. At points I was not sure where the mystery ended and the roman à clef began. I look forward to further developments in this series.
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A new mystery series by Anne Perry could not wait to read.My expectations were met this was an edge of your seat thriller characters that come alive.Already looking forward to next in the series.#netgalley#randomhouse
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I had trouble getting into this book and sticking with it until the end. I skipped parts of it and didn't feel I missed much. This book had a lot of potential; I liked the premise and the characters. However, it felt disjointed and seemed to need another draft.
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Elena Standish - an aspiring photographer – and her sister are ion vacation in Italy when she falls in love with a young man named Ian. After Ian is murdered on the train trip to Paris, Elena takes over his mission to Berlin to stop the assassination one of the leaders in the Nazi Party. When the British Embassy fails to prevent the assassination, Elena finds herself as the German’s top suspect. Knowing that the assassination will be pinned on her, Elena is forced to trust strangers as she goes underground in Berlin. Back in England, her grandfather and his contacts at MI6 are trying to find a way to extract Elena from Germany, but, much like Elena, they don’t know who they can trust. 

DEATH IN FOCUS was very well written, though a bit far-fetched at times. I liked Elena’s characters, but she was too trusting and naïve. With her German police and the Nazis party after her, Elena relies a little too heavily on complete strangers to help her. Yes, she is in a tough spot and she needs help. But it was obvious that at least one of these strangers was going to betray her. I had one of the antagonists – and the biggest threat to Elena – figured out from his first appearance in the novel. 

The chapters switch back and forth between Elena and four or five other characters. Elena is the main focus of the novel, but her grandfather and his friend at MI6 also play a significant role. Figuring out the timeline as the story moved between different characters was a bit confusing – I would have appreciated either chapter headings that told the date to better establish the timeline. I also felt that there was a lack of character development, and necessary backstory was not included. Parts of the novel dragged, and then the ending was too rushed. The time period was richly brought to life, as well as the political strife that was amping up in Germany. 

Thanks to the NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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Fans of Anne Perry's historical mysteries will find much to like in the first volume of a new series. Set just prior to World War II, the novel features  a young and energetic female protagonist, Elena Standish. Elena comes from a family with high-level ties to the British diplomatic and intelligence services, but her own professional interest is photography and her camera is always close by. While on holiday in Italy with her sister, Elena becomes infatuated with Ian, a fascinating young man with whom she agrees to travel by train. Their pleasant trip  takes a tragic and gruesome turn, forcing Elena to undertake a terrifying, life-threatening journey carrying a secret message to Berlin involving the assassination of a high-ranking German public figure.The action is nonstop as the thriller unfolds, but the exciting plot details can't make up for superficial character development among a potentially interesting cast. Hopefully readers will get to know Elena and company more thoroughly in future adventures. Note: The publisher supplied an advance reading copy via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
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Death in Focus by Anne Perry is an amazing, gripping, suspenseful, and fabulous historical fiction/mystery novel. This is the first in a series (with hopefully many more books to come) involving Elena Standish. We are first introduced to her with hints of a recent past of an honest mistake that may have had multiple repercussions (Ms Perry does not show all her cards on this one which is exciting as it can be used to draw on for future material) and trying to find herself and pick up the pieces by delving into photography and being hired to take pictures of a conference in Italy with her polar opposite older sister Margot. 
Unfortunately everyone (including her father Charles, and her beloved Grandparents Lucas and Josephine who were themselves involved /still involved in MI6/secret service) has been drawn into a complicated (but intriguing and delicious) mystery that involves murders, double crossings, espionage, and cat/mouse activities across several countries during the early 1930s, just as Hitler is coming onto the scene and Germany is undergoing a new identity. Nothing is what it seems, and no one is sure who to trust in this impressive story.

I love Elena and I honestly feel that I can relate to her. She is imperfect, makes mistakes, yet has a strong moral compass, and has loyalty that cannot be shaken. She is a realist and is intelligent, but also admits to making errors past and present. I love how she stands on her own, despite the fact that at this time, female self reliance and independence was not encouraged. 

I love the complicated dynamics between Elena and Margot and Elena and her father Charles, as well as between Charles and his parents. I can’t wait to see how these relationships develop. 

I leave out the rest of the synopsis as it will give away too much, and as the reader can see for themselves, but trust me when I say it is so worth it.

5/5 stars. One of the best books I have read this year. 

Thank you NetGalley and Ballantine for this ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased review and opinion.
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This is a heart-pounding, fast-paced, full of action story, set in the perilous time between the world wars. Anne Perry has hit a home-run with the first in this new series. Elena Standish is an amazing photographer, who captures some dreadful events, and becomes mired in one of these events. This book is not to be missed.
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I thought the premise of this was great.  I liked her earlier mysteries.  But it became sort of rushed at the end.  And I can't say I loved some of the characters meeting real life horror shows Hitler.  It also jumped between two countries a little too much.  It got very confusing.  And the ending came out of nowhere I thought. 

While I think this series has potential, I don't know if I would care enough to read more about Elena.
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Beginning of a new series is off to a great start. Everyone in the family thinks English borne Elena is naive and innocent after her disastrous relationship that left her devastated and the family disappointed, however we never really get told what he actually did. She goes on holiday to Italy with her older sister, meets a man and has instant attraction to him, then a murder happens and the adventure begins for Elena that leads her to Berlin. The year is 1933 Hitler is rising, and one can understand how he became so prominent by a desperate Germany population after the Great War. Lots of spy business and political current in this book brings the times to life. At the heart of this is a woman thrown into a world she must navigate to survive and the strangers who help her at much risk. Hopefully we'll find out what becomes of many of the people who she crosses with. Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC for an honest opinion.
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Kudos to Anne Perry!  She is not an author who rests on her laurels.  Ms. Perry recently started a series with Daniel Pitt, son of long-term series regulars Thomas and Charlotte and now, she has started a series featuring Elena Standish.  This novel takes place as Hitler is rising to power in Germany. 

The characters in the family...Elena is an aspiring photographer.  Her sister Margot was widowed shortly after marrying during WWI.  Grandfather Lucas was in MI6 during WWI and maintains his connections.  His wife, also was active in the war.  Then there are Elena's parents Charles and his wife Katherine.  He is a diplomat; she is American.  There are many characters not in the family, from the Jewish population in Berlin to the Brownshirts to those who are busy plotting and to Cordell at the British Embassy.

The settings in the novel are vividly described.  The book opens in the shadow of Vesuvius where tourists are creating their reality, away from their daily concerns.  It is here that Elena meets Ian, a man who sets her on a perilous mission.  Thanks to Ms. Perry, i felt like I was on the train with them, right there in the compartment as the talked about themselves.  There are so many equally vivid scenes.  To mention a few, a British diplomat goes to lunch with Hitler and t he reader feels him sweating; a book burning takes place and the crowd watching is alive in the reader's mind, a train hurtles toward Paris from Berlin and the reader feels the anxiety of the characters who need to escape quickly.

There are murders and conspiracies and Elena is clearly in peril.  The plot does center on some coincidences but I was willing to accept that.  The ending of the novel is a crescendo of events with a clear sense of unresolved issues for future novels or at least that is my hope.

I loved Death in Focus, a novel with rich and vivid characters who are trying to make their way in a world that was for ever changed by WW I and is now hurtling toward another war. There are some parallels to our world today in terms of the author's description of how people who feel they have nothing, feel better when they have a group to hate. 

I highly recommend this novel.  Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this e galley in exchange for my honest review.
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I have also loved Anne Perry's mystery series:.  both the Thomas Pitt and William Monk series.  This new one is with Daniel Pitt, son of Thomas and Charlotte Pitt.  This is a delightful new series.  Daniel is now grown and is a lawyer.  He defends a friend of his father's on a murder charge.  He is next thrown into a trial as a second to an attorney who is stiff, by-the-book lawyer.  The man on trial for murdering his wife is a very unpleasant man who neither attorney likes.  After losing the case, the head of the law office insist that the two men appeal the case with the first attorney checking the law, and Daniel is to act as a detective and find the real killer.  Anne Perry keeps the reader engaged In the story.  I had a hard time putting the book down.  I highly recommended this book.  I was not disappointed with this mystery.  It was well-written and very interesting..  I expected nothing less from Anne Perry.
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Definitely not the usual Anne Perry, but I thoroughly enjoyed it - perhaps more than her normal mystery/novels. It's a good depiction of the uncertainty of the times - the indecision faced by people who've already gone through a war yet embarking on another.
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I came across Death in Focus on Netgalley and after reading the description I knew it was a fit for me.  Having never read Anne Perry before I thought this seemed like a good place to begin.  Well, let me tell you I will most definitely be reading her back list!
 
Set during the buildup of WWII, Death in Focus alternates primarily between London, England and Berlin, Germany and allows us to see Hitler and The Nazis rise to power while incorporating the British response to it.  Caught up in all of this is Elena Standish, granddaughter of the former M16 leader.  And while the book eventually focuses on her, the other characters and their stories truly bring the intrigue.
 
Filled with complex family dynamics, the after effects of WWI, and the absolute power that fear and desperation have over people make this a fascinating read.  The pre- WWII time period is one that I have limited knowledge of and so I found myself quickly becoming caught up in all that was taking place.  All the while thinking how could this happen and then understanding if we don't remember the lessons of the past we are doomed to repeat them. 
 
This is an intelligent, insightful, and suspenseful tale.  It ended with a bit of a cliff hanger and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for Elena, and The Standish family.  Thank you Netgalley and Ballantine books for and-arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Death in Focus is written by the fantastic author Anne Perry. This is a enjoyable mystery with interesting characters.
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