Even though he’s been writing for decades, I didn’t discover the novels of Alan Furst until just last year. After happily devouring his 2014 novel Midnight in Europe I simply had to have more. Over the last part of last year I burned through a half-dozen or so of his Night Soldiers novels and enjoyed every last one. Since then I’ve also tried to keep an eye out for similar authors capable of feeding my Alan Furst addiction. So far anyway, I’ve discovered the historical fiction of Jenny White and Sam Eastland. (Eastland seems to be my favorite of the two.) Recently, perhaps by dumb luck, I discovered another writer whose fiction an Alan Furst fan might enjoy.
During one of my weekend visits to the public library I stumbled upon a copy of Tom Gabbay’s 2007 novel The Lisbon Crossing. Set in neutral Portugal during the early years of World War II, Gabbay’s novel tells the story of former Hollywood stuntman turned amateur sleuth Jack Teller and his quest to help a fading German film star find her long-lost friend who’s gone missing in Lisbon. Bad enough it looks like the missing woman no longer alive, on top of it every time he turns around he’s being harassed by Lisbon police, Nazi agents and British spies. And the more he looks for her, the more he suspects she was part of a larger conspiracy reaching all the way to the English royal family.
While I didn’t enjoy The Lisbon Crossing as much as I did the novels in Furst’s Night Soldiers series, there are a number of desirable similarities. Besides its wartime setting in continental Europe, familiar Furstian elements like bi-nationality, international intrigue and a hero forced by circumstances to play secret agent are all found in Gabbay’s thriller. And in keeping with a Furst tradition, there’s also a trip to Paris, but that’s all I’ll say since I don’t want to reveal any spoilers. (But I will say it doesn’t involve dinner at Furst’s favorite fictional Parisian restaurant Brasserie Heininger.)
It looks like Gabbay has written a few other historical thrillers, and after reading The Lisbon Crossing I’d be willing to give them a shot. I’d also like to see if there’s anything else out there an Alan Furst fan might enjoy. Heck, for that matter, I’d also like to read a little more Alan Furst. Funny, it was about this time last year I discovered the fiction of Alan Furst. Maybe it’s time to read a few more of his novels.