"Passport to Spy" By Nancy Cole Silverman: Review/Giveaway

Review by Kathleen Costa

Details on how to enter to win a signed copy of the book at the end of this post along with a link to purchase it.

Dark Clouds and Silver Linings

Katarina Larsen is fortyish lately experiencing the unfortunate dark cloud but then the added silver lining. She was first widowed, then divorced, an unfairly unemployed journalist, and sadly, her father had advanced cancer … the epitome of a dark cloud. But the popular idiom about “inside every cloud” is more than just a phrase. Kat’s father asked her to do him a favor, one that led her to Hungary and a journey she never could have imaged along with a new purpose in her life … the silver lining! Her father’s WWII past revealed some interesting personal connections and provided closure for her father, but her realistic background, investigative skill, and surprisingly, her age brought her to the attention of the editor at Journey International. This travel publication, though, is also one of the FBI’s fronts sending journalists undercover. Kat’s silver lining, however, just might have a hidden cloud.    

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Passport to Spy
Earns 5+/5 Masterpiece Mysteries … Clever & Compelling Drama!

It’s 1999, Munich, Germany. Kat admonishes herself that she knew better and has no one to blame for the “target on her back” but herself. That realization is little consequence when she’s struggling to stay alive. It all started …

The Gerhardt Galerie was preparing to display a priceless Gauguin, Fruits on the Table with a Small Dog, but its provenance has been called into question; a man with the same painting fears one of them is a fake, and, of course, he hopes it isn’t his. This dilemma instigated an FBI/Interpol joint investigation, and sent Kat to Germany on her first assignment as a journalist … well, as a spy. Kat’s mission is simple: meet with the owners and curators of The Galerie, Hans von Hausmann and his sister Erika Schönberg. Kat’s FBI handler, Sophie Brill, an expert as well as a holocaust survivor, has hidden a personal agenda and connection to the sibling’s late uncle, Otto Gerhardt, and his vast art collection many believe is made up of works stolen by the Nazis during WWII. Sophie sends Kat to ingratiate herself and get evidence that Gerhardt’s Hoard really exists. Easy-peasy. Not at all.

Trying to get close to Herr Hausmann is problematic for an America with a near non-existent command of the German language, and her boss is not happy with Kat’s missteps and lack of success. However, despite Kat’s experience with the unwritten rule to not trust other journalists, she is thankful for any assistance she can garner from a local reporter Kirsten Muller. Even a friendly face, however, won’t help when Kat is stalked, mugged, and threatened, but with a truth hard to refute, a plea hard to ignore, and a determination hard to give up has Kat joining forces with unlikely sources leading to tragic consequences and her evading those who wish her harm.


Nancy Cole Silverman’s first book in her Kat Lawson Mystery, The Navigator’s Daughter, was an engaging read setting Kat on an extraordinary life journey, and now, frantically evading the German Police, angry Russians, and even those who were friends, she finds her first assignment more dangerous than she could imagine. Silverman channeled her real life experiences in Germany, the story about a customs check turned discovery of stolen art from WWII, and the life of museum curator Hildebrand Gurlitt as the kernel around which she’s woven a “couldn’t put down” experience. This intriguing tale portrays Kat Lawson as the perfect undercover “spy;” she’s of a mature age, knowledgeable, and seemingly innocent of a hidden agenda, but the search for information about the Gerhardt Hoard places her and others in life-threatening situations. She’s approached with offers of friendship and collaboration, but when she learns how personal this is to her handler, it raises serious issues about who is trustworthy: the most compelling question and most surprising of dilemmas. The final truth is a nail-biting chase and surprising arrest. Nominated for my “Top of 2023”!

Kat’s cover story, writing a travel piece about the area’s holiday appeal, provided Silverman the opportunity to highlight the beauty of the Bavarian region during the Christmas holidays. Incorporating the German language, easily translated within the narrative, added to the realism along with google worthy mentions of traditional German delicacies, historical sites with intriguing backstories, and plenty of art from the masters across the eras. Further information is included in the Author’s Notes, so don’t overlook her explanation and insights.

A Kat Lawson Mystery

The Navigator’s Daughter (2022) KRL Review HERE

Passport to Spy (2023)

Be a Big Fan of Nancy Cole Silverman!

Nancy Cole Silverman started with a career in radio, then moved on to print journalism and now, fiction. She writes the Misty Dawn Mysteries follows a former psychic to the stars, the Carol Childs Mysteries follows a reporter for a talk radio show, and now she has started the new Kat Larsen Mystery series. Clever stories with wonderful female characters.

Facebook: Nancy Cole Silverman, Author

Website: Nancy Cole Silverman

Enter to win a signed copy of Passport to Spy by Nancy Cole Silverman by making a comment below about art, museums, or spies: (1) the one masterpiece you’d love to hang in your home, (2) a favorite museum in which you’d love to get lost, or (3) what’s a clever undercover persona suitable for any spy? , or simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "passport,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 17, 2023. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. I'd like to get lost in the Smithsonian.

  2. Sounds like an interesting read.
    So many life changes.

  3. I love seeing a book set in Germany, I had such a great time there. We visited several museums including the Deutsches Museum but many more we didn't get to. Would also like to see the Louve and the Smithsonian someday.

  4. Thanks for the opportunity! tWarner419@aol.com

  5. We have a winner!
    Lorie Ham


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