All the SAFE HOUSES news!

SafeHouses_CVR_102717SAFE HOUSES is officially a red-hot summer read – see all the great press after the jump!

The Associated Press: “In SAFE HOUSES, author Dan Fesperman superbly melds a character-strong espionage thriller with a suspenseful mystery that also aligns with the #MeToo movement.”

The Wall Street Journal: “Filled with intriguing twists and hairsbreadth escapes…exhilarating.”

Booklist: “The level of treachery and betrayal, personal and otherwise, depicted here is byzantine in its complexity and potential to spawn collateral damage. This is a masterfully constructed example of classic le Carré–style espionage fiction, the all-enveloping perfidy burrowing its way into inner lives and leaving the survivors only tentatively able to move forward.”

Criminal Element: “SAFE HOUSES showcases a lean, muscular prose that is able to deliver plot points as cleanly and quickly as a switchblade’s twist. Fesperman’s exhaustive research shines through with crisp dialogue and believable characters. He kept me guessing all the way to the end and finished with another nice twist of his narrative switchblade. I’m definitely a new fan; read SAFE HOUSES and you will be too (if you aren’t already).”

Library Journal: “Fesperman delivers a breathtaking, intricate international spy novel unnervingly on point for the #MeToo moment. Recommended for enthusiasts of FX’s The Americans looking for a fix as the show’s final season draws to a close.”

The Providence Journal: “The safe houses of the title become as much metaphor as plot point and wondrously interconnected at that. The result is a bracing and blistering work that rivals the best of Nelson DeMille, with a touch of Jeffrey Archer tossed in for good measure. Superbly crafted and written.”

Publishers Weekly: “This effective thriller from Fesperman (The Letter Writer) opens in 1979 West Berlin…Aficionados of quality spy fiction will be rewarded.”

The Real Book Spy: “Fesperman’s strong prose meets a cast of beautifully developed characters, all of whom have various secrets and a multitude of layers, in this seriously twisty thriller…SAFE HOUSES is one heck of a ride and a must-read for spy fans everywhere.”



Check out this discussion Dan’s hosting at the International Spy Museum in DC, where he’ll be speaking with two trailblazing female CIA analysts about women’s struggle to break into field work with the Agency during the Cold War.

Listen here to NPR’s Linda Wertheimer interviewing Dan about SAFE HOUSES:
WERTHEIMER: But one of the things you make clear in the book is that there’s really no such thing as a safe house, especially for a woman.
FESPERMAN: True – very vulnerable. And if you think of women as being particularly vulnerable now, sort of in the wake of the #MeToo movement, then even more so. And there was very little recourse if something happened to you. If you were trying to get relief for that inside a big patriarchal agency, like the CIA. So tough times as Helen, who is our main character, in those days finds out.

Take a SAFE HOUSES-inspired tour of Berlin!

Click here to read Dan’s essay for the very popular crime fiction e-zine Shots, titled “Warming Back up to the Cold War:”
It’s not enough to fight the same battles as before – the old, gray rivalry of Us vs. Them, East vs. West. We must find something new to say, or at least offer a fresh point of view.

Here’s some social media coverage of Dan’s signings at Murder by the Book (12) and The Poisoned Pen (1).

Dan answered The Real Book Spy’s “Five Questions:”
I’m trying something that I haven’t done since my first two books, which featured the same main character. I’m reactivating Claire Saylor from Paris station to be the lead in the next one, which will be set in Hamburg in 1999, two decades after we first met her in Safe Houses. She’s great company, so I hope she’ll be around for a few more books.

And here’s an interview with The Big Thrill, the magazine of the International Thriller Writers:
Cold War Berlin was the archetypal spy battleground, a divided city, with the Wall and its watchtowers as a bleak centerpiece…People today often forget that West Berlin was so isolated from the rest of the free world, an island embedded more than a hundred miles deep inside Soviet-dominated East Germany. Throw in East Germany’s Stasi, with its smothering surveillance culture, and you’ve got a setting with built-in duplicity and mistrust, a place where small mistakes often have big consequences. For a spy novelist, what’s not to like?


  • Garden & Gun – July reading list “If you’re going to treat yourself to a spy thriller over a beach weekend, make it SAFE HOUSES, a novel set between West Berlin and a farm town in Maryland with CIA secrets lurking in the middle.”
  • TheRealBookSpy – July reading guide “Fesperman delivers one solid twist after another, and his stunning conclusion will leave even the pickiest spy fans feeling deeply satisfied.”


We have been absolutely blown away by the excitement we’ve seen in the blogosphere for SAFE HOUSES. People love this book! Some sample reviews:

  • Bookmark That: “I will 10/10 be recommending this forever.”
  • She Reads With Cats: “Fesperman’s writing is top-notch.”
  • Hair Past A Freckle: “It demands full concentration from its readers, but rewards them with a pacey and engrossing story.”
  • Jessicamap Reviews: “This was my first novel by Fesperman, but it definitely won’t be my last!”
  • Really Into This: “I want to go back in time and be a woman like Helen!”
  • Novelgossip: “Recommended for those who want a different type of thriller and love a strong female lead.”
  • Gare Indeed Reads: “Nothing short of spectacular writing.”
  • Girl with a Good Book: “SAFE HOUSES has been my favorite read of 2018.”
  • Katie’s Book Cave: “Dan’s writing is brilliant, he drew me into the pages and I was quickly hooked.”
  • The Quiet Knitter: “A highly recommended espionage thriller!”
  • Over the Rainbow: “A fantastic spy thriller that I really enjoyed.”
  • Books of All Kinds: “A cracking story that is perfect for those who love a fast-paced, energetic thriller.”
  • BookLoverWorm: “The descriptions were perfect, not too wordy but also crisp and clear…Writing like that is what I love and why I kept reading.”
  • Steph’s Book Blog:  “I ached to know what would happen next…I have never read a novel like this before.”
  • Linda’s Book Obsession: “A captivating, intense, and intriguing novel.”
  • The P. Turners Book Blog: “SAFE HOUSES blows my socks off!”

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