Classic noir shadowed by the hulks and rubble of the once-proud city of Munich, a character itself in this haunting tale.

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LOST KIN

From occupied Germany in 1946, Anderson (Liberated, 2014) draws a dark tale of brothers, each struggling with a moral dilemma, who become caught up in deadly international machinations.

U.S. Army Capt. Harry Kaspar, assigned to Munich’s Regional Military Government, has a secret: he killed a deserter. Masquerading as an American colonel, the thief had pirated riches plundered from murdered Jews. There’s another secret: Max, Harry’s missing brother, has been in Germany since before the war. Was Max a Nazi? Then Irina, a tattered, starving refugee, shows up with word of Max. Harry is swept into a maelstrom of intrigue and violence, its catalyst Stalin’s demand that Eastern Europeans in West Germany be shipped to Soviet territories. Those trips terminate in the gulag or execution. Anderson deserves a standing ovation for his gritty sketch of postwar, rubble-laden Munich as an ominous, near-anarchic theater of the absurd. Harry learns that Max, once caught up in false-flag Nazi operations, seeks penance by finding refuge for Irina’s clan of Ukrainian Cossacks—but some Cossacks had fought for the Nazis. Harry and Max are empathetic protagonists, but even Anderson’s minor characters earn the spotlight: Maddy, Harry’s social-climbing paramour; Dietz, a beaten-down German policeman too willing to help; Maj. Joyner, a by-the-book tough guy whose son was killed in action, leaving him hating every German; Aubrey Slaipe, a spook lurking deep in the Occupation’s bureaucracy; and mysterious Sabine Lieser, once a Nazi target because of her youthful socialist allegiances, who now runs a displaced persons camp. There’s enough action and mystery to keep the pages turning—traitors done in by a shashka, a Ukrainian sword; a dramatic face-off in Czechoslovakia’s snowy Šumava Mountains—all spun out in a masterful story of redemption found within the brutalities of postwar realpolitik.

Classic noir shadowed by the hulks and rubble of the once-proud city of Munich, a character itself in this haunting tale.

Pub Date: March 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63158-081-9

Page Count: 328

Publisher: Yucca/Skyhorse

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed...

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THE LAST TRIAL

Trying his final case at 85, celebrated criminal defense lawyer Sandy Stern defends a Nobel-winning doctor and longtime friend whose cancer wonder drug saved Stern's life but subsequently led to the deaths of others.

Federal prosecutors are charging the eminent doctor, Kiril Pafko, with murder, fraud, and insider trading. An Argentine émigré like Stern, Pafko is no angel. His counselor is certain he sold stock in the company that produced the drug, g-Livia, before users' deaths were reported. The 78-year-old Nobelist is a serial adulterer whose former and current lovers have strong ties to the case. Working for one final time alongside his daughter and proficient legal partner, Marta, who has announced she will close the firm and retire along with her father following the case, Stern must deal not only with "senior moments" before Chief Judge Sonya "Sonny" Klonsky, but also his physical frailty. While taking a deep dive into the ups and downs of a complicated big-time trial, Turow (Testimony, 2017, etc.) crafts a love letter to his profession through his elegiac appreciation of Stern, who has appeared in all his Kindle County novels. The grandly mannered attorney (his favorite response is "Just so") has dedicated himself to the law at great personal cost. But had he not spent so much of his life inside courtrooms, "He never would have known himself." With its bland prosecutors, frequent focus on technical details like "double-blind clinical trials," and lack of real surprises, the novel likely will disappoint some fans of legal thrillers. But this smoothly efficient book gains timely depth through its discussion of thorny moral issues raised by a drug that can extend a cancer sufferer's life expectancy at the risk of suddenly ending it.

A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed Innocent.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4813-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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