Second book in the Solomon Creed series (The Searcher, 2015), this imaginative thriller takes root in the Holocaust and sprouts in modern-day France.
Josef Engel bleeds to death from a Star of David carved into his chest, and the killer uses Engel’s blood to write “Finishing what was begun” in German on a wall. Engel had been one of four tailors in Die Schneider Lager—The Tailor’s Camp—in a concentration camp. He “should have died in the camp” 70 years ago, says his killer, one of the men searching for Die Anderen—The Others, the survivors, who for a mysterious reason must all be killed. Enter Solomon Creed, a strange and pigment-free “pale man” whom the police suspect in the murder. He is a “high-functioning paranoid schizophrenic” with an “off the charts” IQ, a phenomenal “know-it-all mind,” and no idea who he really is—his only clue is the label inside his perfectly fitting jacket saying it was “made to treasure for Mr. Solomon Creed.” He can't remember that it came from tailors grateful that he had rescued them from a concentration camp, including Josef Engel. That’s because his psychiatrist, Dr. Cezar Magellan of the Institute of Criminal Psychology, has implanted a device in his shoulder to remove toxic memories. Creed goes looking for the man who made his jacket, but he arrives too late. Meanwhile, Engel's granddaughter, Marie-Claude, lives with her superhero-loving 7-year-old son, Léo, and apart from her abusive criminal ex-husband, Jean Baptiste. Creed protects them and finds a commonality with Léo: they both have forms of synesthesia. Creed can smell danger, while Léo sees emotions as colors in the same way Engel did. To Léo, “Nice people have bright colors,” and bad people don’t. Why Solomon Creed can return 70 years after the Holocaust is a mystery that won’t bother readers at all. He just does, and the bad guys will have to deal with it.
Brains beat brawn in this engrossing yarn, and a mind without a memory makes Toyne's hero a hard character to—well, to forget.