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Full Name: John Wilfrid Holderness
Series Name: Joe Wilderness
Nationality: British
Organization: MI6
Occupation Agent

Creator: John Lawton
Time Span: 2013 - 2023


Joe Wilderness is an agent with MI-6.

Not so you would notice, of course. And not like Wilderness would admit to it. Wilderness is sort of cagey that way about his work and his life. That is not only because that is the way Wilderness is but also because it sort of true and sort of not.

First of all, Wilderness is not his name. His name is John Wilfrid Holderness. He got the nickname of Joe Wilderness from the ladies he associates with who apparently find his lack of committment unpleasant. He seems to like the name, though.

Secondly, Wilderness is a former crook of some skill and is now a private investigator of not so much ability. Divorces and the like are his primary money maker. But at least he is largely legit.

Back in his early days living with his grandfather who taught him all the things a good grifter and cheat would need to know, Wilderness was doing alright for himself and enjoying it. He was a good cat burglar and a better than average card sharp and pretty much game for anything that looks the least bit shady.

Then came WWII and right afterwards a call for duty by the British Army and life is changed for him. Largely. He is serving as he should but in Berlin after the war, the black market is begging for entrepenuers and he is decidedly one. But even that gets changed when he gets a visit from a fellow from MI-6 who could use someone of his abilities.

Jump ahead nearly two decades and we have Wilderness as the gumshoe and suddenly old folks from the before days are calling or dropping by and MI-6 is remembering his address and things get very complicated for the Cockney fellow.

Wilderness is not especially out to get rich. He would just like to stay alive.


Number of Books:4
First Appearance:2013
Last Appearance:2023

1 Then We Take Berlin Then We Take Berlin
Written by John Lawton
Copyright: 2013

The year is 1963. Joe Wilderness is barely making ends meet as a private investigator taking most divorce cases. He gets a call from an old American war buddy, Frank, he played around the black market trade with back in the day. Frank is doing a lot better than Joe but wants his help with a new scam. It will take Wilderness to Berlin and into the people smuggling game even as JFK is preparing for his famous Berlin visit.
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2 The Unfortunate Englishman The Unfortunate Englishman
Written by John Lawton
Copyright: 2016

Sitting in a Berlin jail for shooting someone Joe Wilderness is not in a great mood. He is not elated when his old MI-6 boss shows up with an offer to get him out in exchange for going back to work with him. It seems an MI-6 agent is under arrest in Moscow and a KGB sleeper agent is being held in London. A switch is to be made. Joe Wilderness is to be the go-between. It will not prove to be an easy job.
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3 Hammer To Fall Hammer To Fall
Written by John Lawton
Copyright: 2020

It is the 1960's. After a bit of trouble in Berlin, Joe Wilderness has been exiled to the Finland station. Bored, he works out a deal with an old KGB rival to smuggle vodka into the USSR. But why that KGB agent was in Finland in the first place is of some interest as well.
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4 Moscow Exile Moscow Exile
Written by John Lawton
Copyright: 2023

"Charlotte is a British expatriate who has recently settled in the nation’s capital with her second husband, a man who looks intriguingly like Clark Gable, but her enviable dinner parties and soirées aren’t the only things she is planning. Meanwhile, Charlie Leigh-Hunt has been posted to Washington as a replacement for Guy Burgess, last seen disappearing around the corner and into the Soviet Union. Charlie is soon shocked to cross paths with Charlotte, an old flame of his, who, thanks to all her gossipy parties, has a packed pocketbook full of secrets she is eager to share. Two decades or so later, in 1969, Joe Wilderness is stuck on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain, held captive by the KGB, a chip in a game way above his pay grade—but his old friends Frank and Eddie are going to try to spring him out of the toughest prison in the world. All roads lead back to Berlin, and to the famous Bridge of Spies…"
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     Any decent book about Cold War-era Berlin should leave the reader with a sense of paranoia. The books in the Joe Wilderness series, written by the terrific author, John Lawton, will leave you hunkering down and reviewing for the umpteenth time Moscow Rules. 

     I adored reading about Wilderness. I cannot say I really would have liked Wilderness as a person should I have met him because, well, could I really trust him? Not too sure. And if I were a woman? Nope. But I surely enjoyed reading about him.

     More, please!


My Grade: A

Your Average Grade:   A


WindyTree A 2023-01-20

As with the ''Troy'' series, these are cleverly written that just hooks you in....a joy to read.....savour each page....

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