THE FOURTH REICH is the third in the Mitchell Parker series. FBI Agents, with a decided "Australian" feeling about their banter, Parker's team have a fair bit of history which might mean that starting out with the third book is not absolutely ideal. Not that it's not a very readable book in it's own right, and for this reader, the intrigue of the backstory just meant that the earlier books made it onto the must read list immediately.
In thriller style, THE FOURTH REICH starts out at breakneck pace, and that doesn't give up at any point. Combine that with an intriguing plot involving what seems to be a plot to disrupt (or is it call attention to) the launch of the biography of an Auschwitz survivor. The motivation behind a series of bizarre sabotage events requires quite a bit of digging on the part of Parker and his team, who initially are somewhat surprised to be called in on what seems like a simple police matter. Needless to say, reasons for the involvement of an FBI team soon surface and the team of 4 close colleagues soon find themselves at the centre of a major conspiracy.
One of the great strengths of this novel is the working relationship and friendship between the team. They know each other well, they work together seamlessly, and this book goes someway to exploring the development of friendships, and even attractions. There's some references back to past events, and in particular, a departed team member, that obviously indicates things have gone a bit pear-shaped in the past. There's enough of that to give you a feel for what went before, without bogging down the current story.
The banter between the team really works for an Australian reader - the dialogue is crisp and frequently funny, albeit with a slight reservation about the aptness for a team of FBI agents. It's hard to avoid the feeling that they might be a little more dour, certainly less inclined towards the friendly chiding and ribbing than you get here. Astute readers may also just have to accept the locked room mystery investigation that never seemed to think to stay in the room until the reader was breathless with shouting. Having said that, the pace is enough to keep you moving forward, even if there is a slight NO NO NO echoing somewhere in the back of mind.
All in all, even allowing for coming to the series way too late, THE FOURTH REICH was a really enjoyable thriller read. For this Australian reader the team were fabulous characters, the banter funny and crisp, and the dialogue spot on. The plot was strong enough to keep you reading, with just enough ick factor to make you want to see the baddies get it in the neck (and other places). Definitely a series to catch up on and then follow.