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The Canceled Czech [Mass Market Paperback]

Lawrence Block
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 30 1999 Evan Tanner Mysteries
The second book in the Evan Tanner series finds Tanner working as an agent--for a man and an agency so secret that both are nameless--and assigned to slip into Czechoslovakia to accomplish the most incredible kidnapping of the century.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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From Library Journal

Multilingual, anarchic spy Evan Tanner once again goes behind the Iron Curtain in this 1966 seriocomic tale. This time, he must break into a Prague prison to liberate a despicable Nazi who will lead Tanner to the documents exposing his network of hatred. As is typical in Block's Tanner yarns, the spy has unusual allies: a gang of Israeli terrorists and a beautiful Czech nymphomaniac. Then Tanner and his charge, Janos Kotacek, make a painstaking journey through Hungary and Yugoslavia and finally to Portugal. The means he devises to silence Kotacek's racist rants, sneak him into the West, and trick him into revealing his secrets are extremely clever. Nick Sullivan's skill with a wide range of accents and his irreverent tone make him the perfect reader for Tanner's Cold War adventures. Recommended for public libraries, though some listeners may have trouble with the sexism typical of the period. Michael Adams, CUNY Graduate Ctr.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars a thrilling book full of turns May 15 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I liked all the book as I love reading books of this sort. Moreover, the book touches the history of my country, Slovakia, and Central Europe in many aspects. I appreciate that, to my knowledge, many facts (geographical, cultural) were quite precise. Also, it seems to me that the author rather well manages to describe the life in the area and the times the story takes place. However, I wondered about some details. For instrance, why the majority of town names were true and some were made up (as "Parkan" - there is no such frontier crossing between Slovakia and Hungary); Czechs were given Czech names, Germans German, Serbs Serb,..., but one of the main figures, Janos Kotacek (the real name of the Slovak Minister of Interior during the WWII was Alexander Mach, I think) was given a Hungarian-Czech name (Janos means John in Hungarian, Kotacek sounds pretty Czech); etc. Nevertheless, these details didn't spoil my very good feeling from the book and I recomend it to everyone who likes "mysterious literature". The book made my flight from Seattle to Copenhagen even more pleasant.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A really good read, in fact it is a classic! Jan. 27 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The CIA was immediately ruled out for this covert operation because failure could lead to terrible repercussions for the present administration. Besides which, no one would believe a renegade like Evan Tanner would be employed by the Feds. Thus, the ultra-top secret agency turns to free lance Tanner to pull off the job. All Evan has to do is to abduct Janos Kotacek, a prisoner of the Czechoslovakian government, who is bound to be convicted and hanged for his activities.

Janos may be elderly and dying, but his role as the head of the fourth Reich makes him very valuable to United States spy operations. Unbeknownst to him, his group has been infiltrated, making it easy to keep insider tabs on the criminal, his associates, and his operations. His untimely death would leave the spy agencies seeking new sources. Evan travels by train into Czechoslovakian, but is quickly in trouble. Someone set him up to be detained by the police. With assistance, he manages to escape, but his plan is already off-stride and a large manhunt has begun to thwart his efforts.

THE CANCELED CZECH is a reprint of a classic Tanner spy tingler that, in spite of the wall tumbling down, remains a fast-paced, insightful look back at the Cold War. The story line is a delight and the support cast adds an authentic Eastern European feel to the tale. However, it is the spy who never sleeps, Evan tanner, in one of his best adventures, that keeps this period piece a fabulous entertaining novel.

Harriet Klausner
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really good read, in fact it is a classic! Jan. 27 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The CIA was immediately ruled out for this covert operation because failure could lead to terrible repercussions for the present administration. Besides which, no one would believe a renegade like Evan Tanner would be employed by the Feds. Thus, the ultra-top secret agency turns to free lance Tanner to pull off the job. All Evan has to do is to abduct Janos Kotacek, a prisoner of the Czechoslovakian government, who is bound to be convicted and hanged for his activities.

Janos may be elderly and dying, but his role as the head of the fourth Reich makes him very valuable to United States spy operations. Unbeknownst to him, his group has been infiltrated, making it easy to keep insider tabs on the criminal, his associates, and his operations. His untimely death would leave the spy agencies seeking new sources. Evan travels by train into Czechoslovakian, but is quickly in trouble. Someone set him up to be detained by the police. With assistance, he manages to escape, but his plan is already off-stride and a large manhunt has begun to thwart his efforts.

THE CANCELED CZECH is a reprint of a classic Tanner spy tingler that, in spite of the wall tumbling down, remains a fast-paced, insightful look back at the Cold War. The story line is a delight and the support cast adds an authentic Eastern European feel to the tale. However, it is the spy who never sleeps, Evan tanner, in one of his best adventures, that keeps this period piece a fabulous entertaining novel.

Harriet Klausner
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a thrilling book full of turns May 15 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I liked all the book as I love reading books of this sort. Moreover, the book touches the history of my country, Slovakia, and Central Europe in many aspects. I appreciate that, to my knowledge, many facts (geographical, cultural) were quite precise. Also, it seems to me that the author rather well manages to describe the life in the area and the times the story takes place. However, I wondered about some details. For instrance, why the majority of town names were true and some were made up (as "Parkan" - there is no such frontier crossing between Slovakia and Hungary); Czechs were given Czech names, Germans German, Serbs Serb,..., but one of the main figures, Janos Kotacek (the real name of the Slovak Minister of Interior during the WWII was Alexander Mach, I think) was given a Hungarian-Czech name (Janos means John in Hungarian, Kotacek sounds pretty Czech); etc. Nevertheless, these details didn't spoil my very good feeling from the book and I recomend it to everyone who likes "mysterious literature". The book made my flight from Seattle to Copenhagen even more pleasant.
4.0 out of 5 stars Not up to Block's later work, naturally, but good lightweight fun Aug. 2 2012
By Michael K. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is the second in an eight-book series that Block cooked up a decade before he invented Matt Scudder. I can't say they have the depth of character and richness of underlying philosophy of his later work, but that doesn't mean they aren't worth reading.

Evan Tanner is an oddball by anyone's definition. As a result of a minor head wound in the Korean War, he doesn't sleep. Ever. When he gets tired, he rests and uses a series of yoga routines to relax his muscles group by group. But he never sleeps. He gets a disability check, and he writes term papers and theses for Columbia students, and he always seems to have other ways of picking up money here and there, so he doesn't have to hold down a regular job, either. Because he's conscious one-third more than anyone else, he reads omnivorously, remembers most of it, and speaks a couple of dozen languages. He's also a member in good standing of a great many ethnic and political organizations around the world, most of which seem to be nationalist, royalist, secessionist, socialist, anarchist, or some combination. Tanner supports the Republic of Ireland taking over the Six Counties and also Macedonian independence. His interests and loyalties are broad. And now he has begun taking on odd assignments for a U.S. government agency so secret the FBI doesn't about it and the CIA can't prove it exists.

This mission this time is to rescue Janos Kotacek, a Slovakian fascist, an escapee from the Third Reich now laboring on behalf of a possible Fourth Reich. Kotacek was living in Lisbon but has been kidnapped by the Czechs and smuggled back to Prague for trial. But the U.S. wants his records, and without anyone knowing about it. Tanner thinks the Czechs are perfectly entitled to hang the son of a bitch -- an opinion in which he is overwhelming confirmed as the story progresses -- but he takes on the job anyway. And, of course, everything goes wrong from the get-go. But Tanner has a knack for accomplishing the impossible, often in MacGiver spit-and-string fashion. Block himself has a knack for dry humor, often of the gallows variety, and while the narrative tends to drag a little in the first half of the book, the pace picks up nicely in the second half. These aren't award-winners by any means, but they're a lot of fun -- especially if you're old enough to remember the 1960s.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time March 17 2010
By Tex - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I thought this book was a waste of time. I threw it in the trash when I finished reading it rather than giving it to one of my siblings. I did not like a single one of the characters, including the protagonist. The plot was kind of far-fetched and the ending was not good. I did not even list it on (...)
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