Review: Operation Finisterre by Graham Hurley


About the Author

Graham Hurley was born November, 1946 in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex. His seaside childhood was punctuated by football, swimming, afternoons on the dodgems, run-ins with the police, multiple raids on the local library plus near-total immersion in English post-war movies. He directed and produced documentaries for ITV through two decades, winning a number of national and international awards. He left TV and became full time writer in 1991. Graham is the author of a number of thrillers and crime novels.   Author website

About the Book

Publisher summary: Germany, October 1944 – Dozens of cities lie in ruins. Enemy armies are at the gates. For the Thousand Year Reich, time is running out. Desperate to avoid the humiliation of unconditional surrender, German intelligence launch Operation Finisterre – a last-ditch plan to enable Hitler to deny the savage logic of a war on two fronts and bluff his way to the negotiating table. Success depends on two individuals: Stefan Portisch, a German naval officer washed ashore on the coast of Spain after the loss of his U-boat, and Hector Gomez, an ex-FBI detective, planted by Director J. Edgar Hoover in the middle of the most secret place on earth: the American atomic bomb complex. Both men will find themselves fighting for survival as Operation Finisterre plays itself out.

400 pages, publication date October 2016

 My rating: 4 (out of 5)

I received an advance review copy courtesy of NetGalley and publisher, Head of Zeus, in return for an honest review.

This is an assured historical fiction/thriller set towards the end of World War II at the point where Germany is facing the prospect of defeat.  The novel is structured around two separate stories and it’s not until over two thirds of the way through the book that the connection between the two is made clear.  For me, the story set in Los Alamos was the more successful and compelling as ex-FBI detective, Hector Gomez investigates the apparent suicide of one of the scientist working on the atomic bomb project.  This has lots of twists and turns and the mystery of what has really occurred is sustained until the reveal in the final pages.  I found the parallel story of Stefan Portisch less convincing as there were a number of convenient occurrences and the connection with the Los Alamos story I didn’t feel was that crucial in the end.   An enjoyable read with some interesting historical detail that was clearly well-researched but, in the end, left me wishing to have been slightly more satisfied with how the two strands came together.

In three words: Thriller, compelling, well-researched