Joseph Kanon's 'The Berlin Exchange'

Review by Amanda Ellison

East Berlin in 1963 provides the backdrop for The Berlin Exchange, an espionage thriller from seasoned author Joseph Kanon.

American physicist and former KGB spy Martin Keller has just spent 10 years in the British prison system, when his incarceration comes to a sudden end. Without learning why, Martin has been selected as one half of a spy swap at a discreet border crossing separating East and West Berlin. The exchange takes place with all the mummery typical of these forensically covert events. This is the Cold War, and Martin is in no position to ask questions. What he does know, however, is that his former wife Sabine and son Peter are living in East Berlin. The situation is complicated by the knowledge that the facilitator of the exchange, lawyer Kurt Thiele, is now married to Sabine and is Peter's stepfather.