Tag Archives: Vienna

“The Interpreter: A Novel,” by A. J. Sidransky

  • Black Opal Books. 324 pp. Trade Paperback  $14.99

An unrepentant Nazi harbors key information about the whereabouts of a Holocaust survivor’s long-lost love.

 The Interpreter, the first installment in A.J. Sidransky’s “Justice” series, is a highly original look at the dimensions and consequences of the Holocaust that is at once emotionally devastating and technically impressive. It’s a work of fiction based on factual elements in the life of the author’s extended family.

The story of Kurt Berlin, and the Jewish Berlin family, needed to be told, and Sidransky fashions it as a testimony to the resilience of survivors and the demonic cruelty of Hitler’s regime and its brutal, sadistic culture.

The novel has two timelines. One takes readers into Vienna in 1939, focusing on Kurt as a sensitive and intelligent youngster in his teens. The other, which alternates with the first, presents an older and almost totally devastated Kurt in 1945 Brussels. While other locations come briefly into play, these two dominate.

Vienna in 1939 is reeling from the Anschluss of the year before, the annexation by Hitler of Austria into the now-expanded German nation. This forced union changed the game for Austrians, especially Austrian Jews, who had their heads in the sand. The future of a Greater Germany under Nazi rule stems from this early step.

In the Vienna chapters, the author follows the struggles of Kurt and his parents, Hertz and Berta, as they pass through the crippling of European Jewry. They accumulate resources to bribe petty officials and malleable non-Jewish neighbors; they shape and solidify Aryan identities; and they strive to arrange transport away from the hell that Europe is becoming.

The detail in these chapters is stunning. How does Hertz, who wears a Nazi armband, manage to pass himself off as the Reich’s new representative to the Dominican Republic? Largely, it’s through the simple ploy of dressing well.

Sidransky

Young Kurt has a special concern. His girlfriend, Elsa, though seemingly protected in a monastery, is still subject to great peril. Should he stay behind to be with her, or should he try to leave with his parents and other relatives?

The 1945 timeline conveys the immediate postwar situation in Brussels. Kurt is six years older than when we last encountered him in transit to a new life and U.S. citizenship. The American military is looking for ways to counter the Soviet push toward world dominance. Both the U.S. and Russia are seizing upon incarcerated Nazis with special abilities. It’s a strange competition.

Kurt, because of his superb language skills, is assigned as an interpreter for this project. Colonel McClain is the head of his task group. The selected prisoner, no doubt one of many, is Joachim von Hauptmann, an unrepentant, Jew-hating Nazi who seeks to make a deal. He has information as his bargaining chip. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appear in the Washington Independent Review of Books, click here:

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A must-read techno-thriller as fear-filled as the news

Review by Phil Jason

Assassin’s Revenge, by Ward Larsen. Forge Books. 392 pages. Hardcover $29.99.

All techno thriller fans will delight in this 6th installment in the David Slaton series.

David Slaton, a former Mossad agent specializing in assassinations and now a person who is happy to be thought of as deceased, has been admiring the piloting by Dan Rhea. Slaton admires the intricacies of the F/A – 18F Super Hornet, but why are they flying over North Korea? And to what end? Reader, time will tell. But in the short run, meet some North Korean government power brokers who may or may not have the confidence of their supreme leader, Chairman Kwon, who is chasing after a technological threat way beyond his mobile ballistic missiles fitted with nuclear warheads.

Suddenly, the scene shifts back in time to Gibraltar. Slaton has returned to the dock where he had left his wife and son on their sailboat, but they are missing. In order to have any chance of bringing them to safety, Slaton must assassinate a scientist he briefly knew in his Mossad days, a man who is now working at the International Atomic Energy Agency. When they meet up, however, the focus is on the horror of HEU – highly enriched uranium – getting into the wrong hands.

Ward Larsen

Where is their sailboat, the Sirius? How would his wife Christine be reacting to the high-threat situation that includes the safety of their small son Davy? Slaton’s path must now take him to Vienna, the home of the IAEA.

While Slaton explores the situation in Vienna, Mr. Larsen has readers explore the world of Kasim Boutrous, an Iraqi commanding a very special mission. Boutrous heads a small band of suicidal ISIS operatives dedicated to enhancing the reputation and influence of the subdued caliphate. They are planning a tremendous blow to the United States with a scheme that will make 9/11 look like the work of novices. His destination is North Korea. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the January 22, 2020 Fort Myers Florida Weekly,the January 23 Palm Beach, Venice, and Bonita Springs editions, and the January 30 Naples edition, click here: Assassin’s Revenge

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