Special guest host: David McCloskey
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Paul Vidich. The Matchmaker: A Spy in Berlin (Pegasus, $25.95 Signed).
In the vein of Graham Greene and John le Carré, The Matchmaker delivers a chilling Cold War spy story set in West Berlin, where an American woman targeted by the Stasi must confront the truth behind her German husband's mysterious disappearance.Berlin, 1989. Protests across East Germany threaten the Iron Curtain and Communism is the ill man of Europe.Anne Simpson, an American who works as a translator at the Joint Operations Refugee Committee, thinks she is in a normal marriage with a charming East German. But then her husband disappears, and the CIA and Western German intelligence arrive at her door. Nothing about her marriage is as it seems. She had been targeted by the Matchmaker—a high level East German counterintelligence officer—who runs a network of Stasi agents. These agents are his "Romeos" who marry vulnerable women in West Berlin to provide them with cover as they report back to the Matchmaker. Anne has been married to a spy, and now he has disappeared, and is presumably dead.The CIA are desperate to find the Matchmaker because of his close ties to the KGB. They believe he can establish the truth about a high-ranking Soviet defector. They need Anne because she's the only person who has seen his face - from a photograph that her husband mistakenly left out in his office - and she is the CIA’s best chance to identify him before the Matchmaker escapes to Moscow. Time is running out as the Berlin Wall falls and chaos engulfs East Germany.But what if Anne's husband is not dead? And what if Anne has her own motives for finding the Matchmaker to deliver a different type of justice?
PAUL VIDICH’S fifth novel, The Matchmaker, will be published by Pegasus Books in February 2022 and by No Exit Press in the UK. His debut novel, An Honorable Man, was selected by Publisher’s Weekly as a Top 10 Mystery and Thriller in 2016.
It was followed the next year by The Good Assassin. Both books were published by Atria/Emily Bestler Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster. His third novel, The Coldest Warrior, was widely praised in England and America, earning strong reviews from The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times. It was shortlisted for the UK’s Staunch Prize and chosen as a Notable Selection of 2020 by CrimeReads.
His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, LitHub, CrimeReads, Fugue, The Nation, Narrative Magazine, and elsewhere. Junot Diaz selected his story “Jump Shot” as a winner of the 2010 Fugue Short Story Contest and his story “Falling Girl,” was nominated for a 2011 Pushcart Prize and appeared in New Rivers Press’ American Fiction, Volume 12: The Best Unpublished Short Stories by Emerging Writers.
His story collection was a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. Vidich received his MFA from Rutgers-Newark, and he is co-founder and editor of Storyville. He lives in lower Manhattan.
David McCloskey is the author of Damascus Station.
He is a former CIA analyst and former consultant at McKinsey & Company. While at the CIA, he wrote regularly for the President’s Daily Brief, delivered classified testimony to Congressional oversight committees, and briefed senior White House officials, Ambassadors, military officials, and Arab royalty.
He worked in CIA field stations across the Middle East throughout the Arab Awakening and conducted a rotation in the Counterterrorism Center focused on the jihad in Syria and Iraq.
David holds an M.A. from the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies. He lives in Texas with his wife and three children.