The Matchmaker: A Spy in Berlin
Published by: Pegasus Books
Release Date: February 1, 2022
In the vein of Graham Greene and John le Carré, The Matchmaker delivers a chilling Cold War spy story set in West Berlin, where an American woman targeted by the Stasi must confront the truth behind her German husband's mysterious disappearance.
Berlin, 1989. Protests across East Germany threaten the Iron Curtain and Communism is the ill man of Europe.
Anne Simpson, an American who works as a translator at the Joint Operations Refugee Committee, thinks she is in a normal marriage with a charming East German. But then her husband disappears and the CIA and Western German intelligence arrive at her door.
Nothing about her marriage is as it seems. She had been targeted by the Matchmaker—a high level East German counterintelligence officer—who runs a network of Stasi agents. These agents are his "Romeos" who marry vulnerable women in West Berlin to provide them with cover as they report back to the Matchmaker. Anne has been married to a spy, and now he has disappeared, and is presumably dead.
The CIA are desperate to find the Matchmaker because of his close ties to the KGB. They believe he can establish the truth about a high-ranking Soviet defector. They need Anne because she's the only person who has seen his face - from a photograph that her husband mistakenly left out in his office - and she is the CIA’s best chance to identify him before the Matchmaker escapes to Moscow. Time is running out as the Berlin Wall falls and chaos engulfs East Germany.
But what if Anne's husband is not dead? And what if Anne has her own motives for finding the Matchmaker to deliver a different type of justice?
"There is a casual elegance to Vidich's spy fiction, a seeming effortlessness that belies his superior craftmanship. Every plot point, characterization motivation, turn of phrase veers toward the understated but they are never underwritten."—Sarah Wienman, New York Times Editor's Choice
“Vidich adds a welcome feminist twist to the familiar espionage theme of human lives trapped in the vice of competing and equally ruthless governments. From An Honorable Man (2016) through The Mercenary (2021), Vidich has established his position in the forefront of contemporary espionage novelists.” —Booklist (starred)
"Intrigue, murder, and vengeance make for a darkly enjoyable read." - Kirkus Reviews
CrimeReads Most Anticipated Crime Fiction of 2022: "Any new spy novel from modern master Paul Vidich is cause for celebration, and that’s particularly true this year, as he seizes on a fascinating chapter of the Cold War....Vidich develops complex characters like no other spy novelist at work today." – CrimeReads
“The strength of the book is the recounting of historical events, many now forgotten or having occurred in another generation. Vidich vividly describes protests in the street and the suspenseful hours as East Berliners learn the order had been given to open the border. But the novel also raises questions such as what happened to the Stasi officials after the Wall came down in 1989. As noted in the book, practically nothing. And why not? History, it appears, is worth studying, for the lessons it delivers.”
“With a great narrative and powerful plot twists, the story comes to life and all is slowly revealed by the final chapter. This surely lives up to the standards of Graham Greene and John le Carré, as denoted in the dust jacket blurb. Kudos, Mr. Vidich, for an entertaining read that left me reminiscing of the days of the Cold War.”
—Mystery and Suspense Magazine