This is my review of Journey into Fear (Penguin Modern Classics) by Eric Ambler.
It is easy to see why this recently reissued thriller set in 1940 was a bestseller and suspenseful film. Ambler captures the fear mixed with defiance and the frequent sense of unreality experienced by an arms engineer who finds himself the prey of a hired assassin. There is also the anticipation of the unexpected twists the author casually throws in at the end of an uneventful chapter, and the suspicion that no one may be quite what they seem. Some characters are mere caricatures, but others are more interesting, such as the henpecked Frenchman who expressed communist sympathies to annoy his wife, only to find himself converted to them "for real".
Described as "Graham Greene without the Catholic angst" this is a quick and absorbing read, neatly plotted, which offers more than you may expect in terms of moments of drama and "tight corners" from which escape seems possible.