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March 30, 2022

The Bucharest Dossier by William Maz ~ a Review

by Donna Huber


Since I was a child in a gymnastic leotard looking at a poster of Nadia Com─âneci I have been fascinated with Romania. My intrigue grew as I studied the Iron Curtain and Eastern Bloc in school; my heart broke with I learned of the deplorable conditions of their orphanages. You already know I love a good Cold War-era spy thriller and when I found one set in Romania, I knew I had to read it.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of Cold War spy thriller The Bucharest Dossier by William Maz
March 2022; Oceanview Publishing; 978-1608094769
ebook, print (336 pages); spy thriller

The Bucharest Dossier
 is one of the best Cold War-era spy thrillers that I've read in a long time. It gave me the same feels as the early Jack Ryan books by Tom Clancy. Though different, I kept recalling Cardinal in the Kremlin while reading this book.

I loved the main character Bill Hefflin. He and his family left Romania when he was 8 years old and eventually they immigrated to the U.S. Wondering why his name doesn't sound Romanian? It's because he changed his name when he went to college. He was tired of being seen as an immigrant, he hated the feeling of being adrift - a man without a country. While at Harvard he is recruited to the CIA where he decides to be an analyst (he studied economics) though he went through field agent training.

The story is set in December of 1989 though we do flashback to Hefflin's college days and his recruitment to the CIA. 

I remember watching the Berlin Wall being torn down, but at the time, I didn't really understand all the political issues in the area. Romania was the last holdout of authoritarian Communism. Gorbachev had already been transitioning the USSR to softer socialism. The leader of Romania was corrupt, starving the people, and everyone was suspicious of everyone else.

Hefflin has been the main contact for a Russian spy and is "invited" to "create" history in Romania. 

The story revolves around the final days of communism and the resulting revolution in Romania. From the author's note, it seems that it isn't really clear what actually happened during those days, but the author provides a plausible and very entertaining story. 

The Bucharest Dossier is one of those books that I would tell myself "just one more chapter" and wind up reading three or four more. There is plenty of twists and a lot of layers to the story. One plot thread I figured out pretty early, but I still enjoyed how it played out and was revealed to the characters.

If you are a fan of Cold War-era spy thrillers, then you definitely need to get The Bucharest Dossier.

Buy The Bucharest Dossier at Amazon


Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour



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