Friday, December 23, 2011

Voices of the Dead by Peter Leonard

Voices of the Dead. Peter Leonard. Introduction by Elmore Leonard. The Story Plant. January 2012. 320 pages. ISBN #: 9781611880328.

Harry Levin, is a scrap metal dealer who has become successful businessman. His life is turned upside down when his daughter is killed in a car crash. He travels to Washington D.C. and then Germany to find the man who callously killed his daughter and received no penalty for this horrific murder. But when he finally figures out who the man actually is, he tries to approach him and is attacked by the man's bodyguard. Fortunately, Harry has no problem handling the attacker but he is horrified by the callous treatment of the man who killed his daughter, a casual offer to pay for the funeral. This simple, poignant tale, in which Harry himself barely displays any emotion other than anger and some mention of tears, becomes even more terrible when Harry discovers that this man is the notorious Ernst Hess, now a German diplomat still carrying out unbelievably awful deeds!

The reader learns that Harry Levin is a Holocaust survivor who escaped being shot to death by playing dead and then crawling out of a hole filled with other dead bodies during World War II. After following Hess, he discovers Hess is still doing something to Jews that absolutely must stop. The story of the chase between the two, with Hess realizing who Harry is and determined to stop him from pursuing his course and Harry looking for proof to finally get some justice on many levels, is tautly plotted and gripping on every page.

This is a story that must be told, even if it is in fiction form, for it is still occurring in some parts of the world today. No spoilers here - there is so much more that will hold the reader in awe and horror, but one can't stop reading...and hoping that justice must be accomplished. What a story - fine, fine writing Peter Leonard!

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