Murder for the Bride by John D. MacDonald
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was MacDonald's second novel, published in 1951, and he steered completely away from the hard-boiled detective style of his first novel and produced an espionage novel full of Russian spies and ex-Nazis. But this is no John LeCarre style spy novel because it features an everyman protagonist in the classic noir sense. Dillon Bryant is a geological engineer scouting oil formations in Venezuela. He's fresh from a three-day honeymoon but has left his wife home in New Orleans. When he receives a letter saying that his wife is in trouble, he rushes home, only to find when he gets to his apartment that his wife has been murdered. The plot takes an intriguing turn as we learn that he'd married Laura after a quick whirlwind romance and that she is not what she seemed. Bryant initially refuses to believe what he hears and sets off trying to discover who she really was. Before too long he realizes he's a patsy and is embroiled in a plot involving Russian sleeper cells. From that point on there are plenty of plot twists and action to keep the pages turning until the end.
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