A go-getting police sergeant stumbles into an improbable murder puzzle.
The story counterpoints two narratives a century apart. In 1862, gravely wounded Union soldier Mordechai Finkel learns that he’s one of only a handful of combatants to survive a bloody Civil War battle. And in 1957, Washington, D.C., police officer Ben Carey, a Korean War veteran thrilled at his promotion to sergeant after years of walking a beat, rushes home to tell his wife Marie the good news. His first assignment is helping renovate an office complex for a new police unit. Meanwhile, back in the 19th century, a letter Mordechai writes to his father while recuperating prompts his uncle Aaron Hilldrup to come to the city to find him. Carey is bothered by the unfriendliness of his new co-worker Captain Wallace, who spends most of the day holed up in his office. So does Carey after Marie unexpectedly asks for a separation. Now he finds himself working extra hours at the new office and even sleeping there. One night he encounters Wallace in his office a few hours after the man has been reported killed. Thus begins a bizarre cross-century probe.
Horwitz’s overambitious debut novel, posthumously published, lacks literary finesse, but its originality and historic touches could attract a niche audience.