4 out of 4 stars
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The Last Stop: A Berlin Story of Sex and Sedition by Clive La Pensée is a crime thriller that centers on a young woman’s struggle to be free from the shackles of Berlin’s sex industry. Maria’s quest to find her sister led her to a dangerous path. She needed help when she met Jack.
Jack Precious, a tax inspector retiree from Leamington Spa, England, just wanted to enjoy his vacation in Berlin. Now in his sixties, he does not expect many thrills. Then he met Maria, a girl from Poland. Jack wanted to help the innocent girl to return to her home. Little did he know that Maria was on the run from the people in Elgar, a brothel run by the most ruthless man named Dmitri. One mistake led to another and soon enough, Jack found himself hunted by the same people who were after Maria. To remain safe, the unlikely pair needed to fight back and win their peace.
Back in Leamington Spa, Jack’s wife, Felicity, was not where she told Jack she would be. She was actually having an affair with one of her workmates. Because her guilt was nagging her, she decided to follow Jack to Berlin and tell him the truth. What she found there shocked her to the core.
What I loved about the book was that the author gave life to a set of very strong and varied main characters. Jack was inherently kindhearted and that was the main reason why he helped Maria. During their time together, he stood as the balance. He made sure Maria understood the consequences of her actions. Maria, on the other hand, was impulsive. In her desire to find her sister, she made reckless moves which put her in a precarious position. They were not the usual protagonists in a crime thriller. Maria was in her twenties and Jack was thrice Maria’s age. Their lifestyle varied greatly: Jack was an honest tax collector before he retired while Maria was a prostitute with an unusual skill for a gun. Though an atypical pair, Maria and Jack worked perfectly together.
The book also portrayed the prostitution in Berlin. I appreciated the effort of the author to be subtle on the sex scenes. They were not as graphic as I expected considering that this story lies in the sex industry. It was beautifully done.
Although some parts are slow (while some are too fast), it did not disrupt my reading. Thus, I give The Last Stop: A Berlin Story of Sex and Sedition 4 out of 4 stars. Readers with a taste for a crime thriller would love this book. Similarly, those who look for strong characters would be fascinated with Jack and Maria as I did.
The Last Stop
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