By 1939, Anglo-American journalist John Russell has spent over a decade in Berlin, where his son lives with his mother. He writes human-interest pieces for British and American papers, avoiding the investigative journalism that could get him deported. But as World War II approaches, he faces having to leave his son as well as his girlfriend of several years, a beautiful German starlet. When an acquaintance from his old communist days approaches him to do some work for the Soviets, Russell is reluctant, but he is unable to resist the offer. He becomes involved in other dangerous activities, helping a Jewish family and a determined young American reporter. When the British and the Nazis notice his involvement with the Soviets, Russell is dragged into the murky world of warring intelligence services.
Praise for Zoo Station "One of the most intelligent and persuasive realizations of Germany immediately before the war." - Wall Street Journal "[A]n unconventional thriller ... a finely drawn portrait of the capital of a nation marching in step toward disaster as the Nazi rulers count cadence." - St. Louis Post-Dispatch "There's nothing better than a well-written WWII thriller. Alan Furst continues to prove it, and now Downing has shown he can produce that creepy sense of paranoia along with the best of them." - Rocky Mountain News " Smooth, scary wartime thriller drenched in period atmosphere." - Kirkus Reviews "Downing's fine new thriller introduces a clever and honorable hero ... [the ending] will have readers holding their breath ... Satisfying." - Publishers Weekly "If you like your tales spiced with morally ambiguous characters right out of Graham Greene, this is a train you need to be aboard.... A marvelous return to cerebral espionage." - January Magazine "A deeply satisfying, suspenseful novel... David Downing's writing is intelligent and strong; his portrayal of issues and conflicts, clear and compelling.... His imagery is so evocative that readers will feel they are watching a classic film, like Casablanca." - Mystery Scene Praise for David Downing "Full of striking inventions." Kingsley Amis, author of Lucky Jim "A beautifully crafted and compelling thriller with a heart-stopping ending as John Russell learns the personal faces of good and evil. An unforgettable read." Charles Todd, author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge Series "One of the most intelligent and persuasive realizations of Germany immediately before the war." Wall Street Journal "In the elite company of literary spy masters Alan Furst and Philip Kerr ... [Downing is] brilliant at evoking even the smallest details of wartime Berlin on its last legs." Washington Post " Downing distinguishes himself by eschewing the easy ways out. He doesn't shy away from portraying the cold brutality of the Third Reich, and his characters are far from stereotypes - they're flawed, confused and real." - NPR
David Downing grew up in suburban London. He lives with his wife, an American acupuncturist, in Guildford, England.