Reviews

Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

In 1915 as World War I raged in Europe, America found itself facing a mysterious series of domestic bombings and chemical attacks. With a "feuding, disorganized, and ineffective" intelligence service, investigation had to be taken up at the local level in New York City. Uncovering the enemy and bringing the violence to an end would prove to be no easy task. Blum (contributing editor, Vanity Fair; American Lightning) writes a gripping epic of a sordid terror plot and murder most foul that follows the efforts of police inspector Tom Tunney and his bomb squad as they uncover the German terrorist cell known as "the Manhattan Front." These saboteurs, operating in an expansive German immigrant community and led by a former German ambassador to the United States, Johann von Bernstoff, wreaked havoc on America's shipping capabilities and formed a climate of fear along the East Coast. -VERDICT Blum makes great use of short chapters and episodic shifts that both prevent tedium and compel the reader forward through each twist and turn. Readers of detective stories and fans of Blum's award-winning -American Lightning will gravitate toward his latest tale of nonfiction suspense. Film rights have been purchased for a movie version to star Bradley Cooper; expect demand. [See Prepub Alert, 9/1/13.]-Brian Odom, Birmingham, AL (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Blum specializes in nonfiction narrative showcasing explosive periods in U.S. history, as in the Edgar Award-winning American Lightning (2011). His latest focuses on the period before WWI, when German saboteurs in the U.S. attempted to use bombs and even biological weapons, hoping to weaken the country enough to keep it from entering the war on the side of the Allies. The hero of the piece is New York Police Inspector Tom Tunney, who thwarted many of the plots and captured numerous enemy agents in New York. One problem common to books of this kind is that the author tries to make everything relate to the plot, sometimes pulling the rug out from under the reader in the process. For example, the opening describes a bomb plot aimed at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, prompting the reader to think, Wow! I didn't know the Germans did that. We learn later that Blum is only setting the scene of an unstable era, and that the plot was actually the work of anarchists, not Germans. A bit hyped but still intriguing.--Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2010 Booklist


Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

In 1915 as World War I raged in Europe, America found itself facing a mysterious series of domestic bombings and chemical attacks. With a "feuding, disorganized, and ineffective" intelligence service, investigation had to be taken up at the local level in New York City. Uncovering the enemy and bringing the violence to an end would prove to be no easy task. Blum (contributing editor, Vanity Fair; American Lightning) writes a gripping epic of a sordid terror plot and murder most foul that follows the efforts of police inspector Tom Tunney and his bomb squad as they uncover the German terrorist cell known as "the Manhattan Front." These saboteurs, operating in an expansive German immigrant community and led by a former German ambassador to the United States, Johann von Bernstoff, wreaked havoc on America's shipping capabilities and formed a climate of fear along the East Coast. -VERDICT Blum makes great use of short chapters and episodic shifts that both prevent tedium and compel the reader forward through each twist and turn. Readers of detective stories and fans of Blum's award-winning -American Lightning will gravitate toward his latest tale of nonfiction suspense. Film rights have been purchased for a movie version to star Bradley Cooper; expect demand. [See Prepub Alert, 9/1/13.]-Brian Odom, Birmingham, AL (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Vanity Fair contributing editor Blum tells the story of a sabotage campaign that began in 1914 when the German ambassador to the U.S., Johann von Bernstoff, was instructed to develop an intelligence network to keep America out of WWI and prevent the shipment of supplies and war material to the Allies-both by "any means necessary." The organization, focused in New York, opened "the Manhattan Front" in 1915 with a series of merchant-ship bombings. Blum's central figure, police inspector Tom Tunney, an experienced undercover operative, was assigned to break what British intelligence had demonstrated to its U.S. counterparts was a terrorist operation. The Brits had depended on intercepted communications; Tunney and his Bomb Squad depended on police work. "There was no specific law against espionage" in 1915, but as his well-financed opponents escalated their efforts to the point of attempted murder-of no less a figure than J.P. Morgan-and to projects for germ warfare, including anthrax, Tunney formed a picture, found "an angle of attack," closed in, and made arrests. Blum's narrative of America's first exercise in homeland security is a worthwhile page-turner, combining the best features of a police procedural and a spy novel with a firm base in verifiable events. Agent: Lynn Nesbit, Janklow & Nesbit. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.