Monday, April 5, 2010

VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR AND REVIEW OF VOICES UNDER BERLIN BY T.H.E. HILL




Join T.H.E. Hill, author of the spy fiction novel, Voices Under Berlin: The Tale of a Monterey Mary, as he virtually tours the blogosphere in April 2010 on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!


Voices Under Berlin is a fictional story set during the beginning of the Cold War in Berlin where CIA and British operatives dug a tunnel so they could tap into the cables that carried telephone messages of the East Germans and the Soviets. It was named Project Operation Gold or Project PBJOINTLY as the tunnel workers called it. Each chapter depicted another day in the life of Monterey Mary. When I first read that name, I thought that it was a story about a woman but I later found out that it was the term used to name the people who were interpreters trained by the Army. For about a year, Kevin and other members of the team listened to and recorded telephone calls looking for information that might be useful for the US. Most of the jargon that was in the book, I was not familiar with and the author included a glossary of the terms that made the book easier to read.

Other characters included the unnamed Chief of Base who always showed up in disguise because he wanted to keep everything secret (I thought that he was a bit paranoid), Sargent Lauflaecker, Blackie (possibly was involved with the black- market) and Lieutenant Sheerluck who ran everything by the book. They were constantly playing jokes on each other and I found that very funny at times. There were other characters that only appeared on the transcripts, and were mostly Russians. They were the Voices Under Berlin. The book was written more like a memoir rather than a novel. I found the book funny, easy to read and if you like espionage and the Cold War this is the book for you. The novel has won five book Awards.

About the Author-

T.H.E. Hill, served with the U.S. Army Security Agency at Field Station Berlin in the mid-1970s, after a tour at Herzo Base in the late 1960s. He is a three-time graduate of the Defense Language Institute (DLIWC) in Monterey, California, the alumni of which are called “Monterey Marys”. The Army taught him to speak Russian, Polish, and Czech; three tours in Germany taught him to speak German, and his wife taught him to speak Dutch. He has been a writer his entire adult life, but now retired from Federal Service, he writes what he wants, instead of the things that others tasked him to write while he was still working.
Read An Excerpt-


CymLowell

Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the author for my honest review and I have not been compensated for the review.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your kind review. I am pleased that you liked the humor in "Voices Under Berlin". That has been one of the main threads that have run through the reviews. One reader commented that he laughed so much that he almost fell out of his chair.

    I discovered early on in the editing process that the jargon was a hurdle for "civilian" readers, as I kept getting questions about it from those of my manuscript readers who had never been in the military or known someone who was. Because their other comments were positive, I could see that "Voices Under Berlin" could have a wider audience, if I could help them over that hurdle. The glossary at the front of the book is the "FAQ" jargon list for the novel. Just when you think that you've solved one problem with the manuscript, another always seems to raise its head. One reader complained that the glossary was an insult to her intelligence, because she knew all the jargon. You can't win for losing.

    When I first went to language school at the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Monterey, California, in the mid-1960s, all the "Monterey Marys" were guys. It wasn't until the mid-1970s that there were "Monterey Marys" who were girls. The first time I met a "Monterey Mary" whose first name was really "Mary" it almost seemed like one of the language jokes of which graduates of DLI are so found.

    And you are quite right about the Chief of Base. He did have a name, but nobody had a "need to know" what it was, so he remains "nameless" for all time. The key question for any book group discussion of "Voices Under Berlin" is related to your comment about his "paranoia." What precisely were the consequences of his "paranoia" to the project?

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by. I look forward in reading all of your great comments. Have a great day!

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