Author: Peter Leonard
Publisher: The Story Plant
About the Book: The year is 1971. The place is Detroit. Harry Levin, a scrap metal dealer and Holocaust survivor, has just learned that his daughter was killed in a car accident. Traveling to Washington, DC to claim the body, he learns that the accident was caused by a German diplomat who was driving drunk. This is only the beginning of the horror for Harry, though, as he discovers that the diplomat will never face charges he has already been released and granted immunity. Enraged and aggrieved, Harry discovers the identity of his daughter’s killer, follows him to Munich, and hunts him down. What Harry finds out about the diplomat and his plans will explode his life and the lives of everyone around him.
Brimming with action and dark humor, Voices of the Dead, firmly positions Peter Leonard as a writer ever suspense fan needs to read.
My thoughts: Since I started blogging I have began reading the introductions and acknowledgements a lot more. In the introduction to this book, Elmore Leonard states about Peter Leonard's writing "...no long-winded parts of it overwritten, no show-off descriptions that say, "Hey, look at my writing," so I was thinking about this as I read the book. I have to agree with that statement and I found it refreshing. Much of the book is set in Germany and surrounding locations and I think some writers would have spent some time describing the countryside, but this is not one of them, and it is not missed. But enough about what the book wasn't.
What it was was a great page-turning suspense novel. You are introduced to the main characters immediately and the ball gets rolling within the first few pages. Slowly you begin to see how the characters are intertwined and to what extent. You can't help but feel sympathy for Harry, upon learning that his daughter was killed by a drunk driver. And imagine his outrage when he finds out that nothing is going to be done about it! Though not really in his nature, he takes it upon himself to track the killer down, not really knowing what he will do if he finds him.
Well, he finds him and suddenly past and present come together in ways no one can imagine. While in Munich he meets Cordell, a recently discharged serviceman who also happens to be from Detroit. I loved Cordell and found myself laughing at some of his thoughts and interactions with Harry.
The book moves along very quickly, and I think the majority of it takes place in about two weeks time. Sometimes I would get some of the characters mixed up, but would soon be back on the right track. The author wraps it up satisfactorily, but in my mind, leaves some wiggle room - maybe for another book?
I was provided a complimentary PDF of this book from Partners in Crime Tours, as well as the excerpt below for your enjoyment:
Hess found out the woman lived on P Street in Georgetown, not far from the consulate. He told the ambassador he was having dinner with potential clients, and wanted to drive himself. It was unorthodox, but plausible. He had been issued one of the embassy’s Mercedes sedans. He stopped at a bookstore and bought a map of the area, and located P Street. He drove there and saw the Goldman residence, a federal-style brick townhouse.
Hess went to a restaurant and had dinner and a couple drinks. At ten o’clock he drove back, parked around the corner on 32nd Street between two other vehicles so the license plate was not visible to anyone driving by. He walked to the Goldmans’, stood next to a tree in front of the three-storey townhouse. There were lights on the first floor. He walked to the front door and rang the buzzer. He could hear footsteps and voices inside. A light over the door went on. Hess stood in the open so whoever it was would see he was well dressed. The door opened, a man standing there, assumed he was Dr. Mitchell Goldman, dark hair, big nose, mid-forties, top of the shirt unbuttoned, exposing a gold chain and a five-pointed star. Hess smiled. “My car is on the fritz. May I use your phone to call a tow truck?”
Dr. Goldman stared at him with concern.
“I am staying just down the street at the consulate,” Hess said, smiling. Now the door opened and he stepped into the elegant foyer, chandelier overhead, marble floor.
“Mitch, who is it?” a woman said from a big open room to his right.
Dr. Goldman looked in her direction. “Guy’s having car trouble, wants to use the phone.”
“It’s ten o’clock at night.”
“He’ll just be a minute,” the dentist said.
Hess could see the woman sitting on a couch, watching television.
“The phone’s in here.” The dentist started to move.
Hess drew the Luger from the pocket of his suit jacket,and aimed it at Goldman.
The dentist put his hands up. “Whoa. Easy.”
“Who is in the house?”
“Just the two of us.”
“Are you expecting anyone?”
He shook his head.
“Tell her to come in here,” Hess said.
“What do you want? You want money?” He took his wallet out and handed it to him. “There’s eight hundred dollars in there.”
“Call her,” Hess said.
“Hon, come here, will you?”
“I’m watching ‘All in the Family.’ Can you wait till the commercial?”
Hess could hear people laughing on the television.
“Just for a minute,” the dentist said.
Hess saw her stand up and step around a low table in front of the couch, moving across the room, still looking back at the television. She turned her head as she entered the foyer and saw him holding the gun. Her hair looked darker in the dim light but he had only seen her briefly that day.
“Oh-my-god,” she said, hands going up to her face.
“We’re reasonable people,” the dentist said. “Tell us what you want.”
“The pleasure of your company,” Hess said. “Where is the cellar?”
(from Voices of the Dead by Peter Leonard
Author Bio: Peter Leonard’s debut novel, QUIVER, was published to international acclaim in 2008 (“A spectacular debut...you will be holding your breath until the final page.”– The New York Sun). It was followed by TRUST ME in 2009 (“TRUST ME is fast, sly and full of twists.” – Carl Hiaasen, New York Times bestselling author). The Story Plant will publish Leonard’s newest novel, ALL HE SAW WAS THE GIRL, in the spring of 2012.
You can find out more about Peter Leonard and his books at http://peterleonardbooks.com/ and also at The Story Plant.
Now for the giveaway! I get to giveaway one copy of Peter Leonard's newest book - All He Saw Was the Girl. To enter the giveaway, please fill out rafflecopter below - US only - ends March 1, 2012.
About this book - Rome: McCabe and Chip, two American exchange students, are about to become embroiled with a violent street gang, a beautiful Italian girl and a flawed kidnapping plan.Detroit: Sharon Vanelli's affair with Joey Palermo, a Mafia enforcer, is about to be discovered by her husband, Ray, a secret service agent.Brilliantly plotted and shot through with wry humour, All He Saw Was the Girl takes place as these two narratives converge in the backstreets of Italy's oldest city. A thrilling ride, it once again displays Peter Leonard's genius for exploring the wrong turns that life can take.
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Voices of the Dead
Publisher/Publication Date: The Story Plant, Jan 2012