THE ACCOMPLICE by Joseph Kanon


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In 1962, the year of Adolf Eichmann's execution, CIA analyst Aaron Wiley, nephew of famed Nazi hunter Max Weill, tracks notorious concentration camp torturer Otto Schramm to Argentina—where Aaron becomes involved with Schramm's daughter.

Max, a Holocaust survivor who was on the cover of Time magazine with his "old rival" Simon Wiesenthal, refuses to believe official accounts that Schramm is dead. Maybe another evil Nazi, but not the one with whom he once studied medicine and the one who conducted hideous experiments on children at Auschwitz. Not the Mengele associate who chatted with Max at the camp knowing Max's son was being led into the gas chamber. The Nazi hunter's skepticism is borne out when, joined by Aaron at an outdoor cafe in Hamburg, he spots Schramm, whom he recognizes from the way he walks. Max's failing health doesn't allow him to pursue Schramm, aka Helmut Braun, after his prey slips away. Reluctantly, Aaron takes his uncle's place. It doesn't take him long to get introduced to the daughter, Hanna, in Buenos Aires. Quickly attracted to her, he finds himself in the untenable position of secretly tailing her when not enjoying her considerable charms. Fueled by brilliant scenes of dialogue between Aaron and Hanna, who, at considerable psychological cost, has come to accept her father's evil past, Kanon's latest sophisticated thriller is teeming with suspense. Surrounded by aggressively anti-Semitic acquaintances of Hanna's who are hoping for a Fourth Reich and working with British and Israeli operatives with conflicting agendas, Aaron is an endangered odd man out. As fast as the pages turn, though, the novel stumbles with less-than-convincing character developments and plot turns. While elements of the Casablanca formula work well at first, ultimately they don't.

A fast-paced, atmospheric thriller that works less well in reflecting on the banality of evil.

Pub Date: Nov. 5th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-5011-2142-5
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Atria
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2019


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