Thursday, September 14, 2017

Excerpt & Giveaway: Burning Cold by Lisa Lieberman

Burning Cold
Lisa Lieberman
(Cara Walden Mystery, #2)
Publication date: September 12th 2017
Genres: Adult, Historical, Mystery
Budapest: 1956. Newlywed Cara Walden’s brother Zoltán has disappeared in the middle of the Hungarian revolution, harboring a deadly wartime secret. Will Cara or the Soviets find him first?
Cutting short her honeymoon in Paris to rescue a sibling she’s never met was not Cara’s idea, but her husband Jakub has a reckless streak, and she is too much in love to question his judgment. Together with her older brother Gray, they venture behind the Iron Curtain, seeking clues to Zoltán’s whereabouts among his circle of fellow dissidents, all victims of the recently overthrown Communist regime. One of them betrayed him, and Cara realizes that the investigation has put every person they’ve met at risk. Inadvertently, they’ve also unmasked a Russian spy, who is now tailing them in the hope that they will lead him to Zoltán.
The noir film of Graham Greene’s The Third Man inspires Lisa Lieberman’s historical thriller. Burning Cold features a compelling female protagonist who comes to know her own strength in the course of her adventures.

Budapest was a battlefield. Everywhere you looked, you saw the toll of the fighting. The streets and sidewalks were stained with blood. Bodies lay where they’d fallen, Russian soldiers in their greatcoats and fur hats, bare-headed freedom fighters, old women dead on the pavement but still grasping their string shopping bags, caught in the crossfire as they waited in line to buy bread. I didn’t want to look, but it would have been cowardly to avert my gaze. The news reports we’d watched on television, the photos that had begun to appear in the daily papers, had hardly prepared us for the horror we were witnessing in the Hungarian capital. Here were people like us, some who were simply going about their business, others who were following orders, but many who believed so strongly in freedom that they’d risked their lives in the effort to obtain it. In death they looked ordinary, diminished, but they’d been brave to dream of a better future. Ordinary people made heroic by the sacrifice they were prepared to make: the least I could do was to acknowledge their courage.
The way looked clear and I was beginning to relax, confident that we would reach our destination, but no sooner had we come to the next intersection than we were met by a crowd of student insurgents, all armed to the teeth. They motioned with their machine guns for Jakub to roll down the window of the Škoda and asked for identification, but their belligerence vanished the minute they realized that we were Americans. In exchange for a box of fancy chocolates, we were given a prize souvenir: a chunk of metal from the gargantuan Stalin statue they’d toppled on the first day of the uprising. A gift from the Soviet leader to the Hungarian people on the occasion of his seventieth birthday, it had stood for years at the entrance to Budapest’s City Park. Now all that remained were Stalin’s boots.
One of the girls, Kati, who spoke a little English, volunteered to ride with us the rest of the way as our escort. She installed herself in a space we cleared for her in the backseat and
aimed her machine gun out the window, prepared to shoot any Russian soldiers or renegade secret policemen we might encounter along the way. Wearing a school uniform beneath her wool jacket, an ammunition belt slung across her chest and a beret perched jauntily on her blond curls, she made an unlikely guerilla. At her age I was swooning over movie stars and memorizing the lyrics to popular songs.
Our guide had more important things on her mind. “Look there!” she’d cried as we detoured around the wreckage at Deák tér. We saw a tank proceeding slowly along Tanács körút. The next thing we knew, the tank had come to a standstill and two boys were darting out from the shelter of a newspaper kiosk, unobserved by the Russian soldiers in the turret. We saw the first one approach—Kati provided a running commentary, telling us exactly what he was doing as he unscrewed the cap to the gas tank and dashed back to his hiding place—and then the second heaved a Molotov cocktail at the open port.
We felt the blast at the same time we heard it, the paving stones vibrating beneath our tires with the force of the explosion. The sound was deafening, the boom reverberating off the surrounding buildings as if we were in some kind of echo chamber. I hugged myself and closed my eyes. Was this how I would die, far from home in a sudden explosion?

Author Bio:
Lisa Lieberman is the author of the Cara Walden series of historical mysteries featuring blacklisted Hollywood people in exotic European locales. All the Wrong Places and Burning Cold are available from Passport Press in print and e-book.
Trained as a modern European cultural and intellectual historian, Lieberman abandoned a perfectly respectable academic career for the life of a vicarious adventurer through dangerous times and places. She has written extensively on postwar Europe and is the founder of the classic movie blog Deathless Prose. She now directs a nonprofit foundation dedicated to redressing racial and economic inequity in public elementary and secondary schools. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.
After dragging their three children all over Europe while they were growing up, Lisa and her husband are happily settled in Amherst, Massachusetts.



  1. Looks like a really good book. Thanks for sharing it on your blog with us.

  2. I don't read a lot of historical fiction, but the excerpt is intriguing.
    sherry @ fundinmental

  3. This is a fascinating chapter in modern history as well as a fruitful setting for intrigue.

  4. This sounds like a great mystery read.

  5. Burning Cold sounds like a good mystery. Thank you

  6. This sounds like a great mystery. I'm looking forward to reading it, thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  7. I would so love to read it. Sounds so thrilling! Thank you.