TITLE: Voices of the Dead
AUTHOR: Peter Leonard
PUBLISHED BY: The Story Plant
300 pages, Publication date 01/17/12
SYNOPSIS: 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.
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?”
Voices of the Dead is chilling, it takes elements of the holocaust and fictionalises them into a very believable tale that immerses you into it’s pages from the first to the last.
The characters leap from the book and tie the reader into their lives, making you feel compassion and camaraderie with the hero, and hatred toward the villain, as well as some black humour that’ll make you laugh.
Set in the 1970’s the author cleverly ties that time period, back to the 1940’s and then binds them together to take the reader on a journey across continents and emotions.
It handles a period of history that most struggle to understand let alone comprehend in a very sensitive way, not glamorising it nor belittling it but at the same time making sure the reader understands the scale, horror and enormity of what happened.
The prose are clean and neat, conveying enough to the reader without requiring the author to write long descriptive passages to explain the action and plot direction. The dialogue is similarly balanced and each character has their own unique voice, contributing their own perspectives as the story unfolds.
If I have to find a criticism of this book, it would have to be that it was over too soon, not because the book was short, but because I wanted to read more. To that end I will definitely be checking out more of Peter Leonard’s novels over the months to come.
Peter Leonard is the son of Elmore Leonard, but don’t make comparisons, the two authors are distinctly different and having now read books by both, I think this is now a case of a father having big shoes to fill rather than the son.
I highly recommend Voices of the Dead by Peter Leonard.
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars – I Loved It!
About the author:
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.
AUTHOR SITES: Website http://peterleonardbooks.com/
THE STORY PLANT: Website www.thestoryplant.com
Review disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book, to review as part of the authors virtual book tour. I have received no other payments or endorsements for this review.
One thought on “Book Review: Voices of the Dead by Peter Leonard”
I 100% agree with you. I also thought it was brilliant how he brought some humor into such a serious story line. I guess we will be waiting together for his next book as I am also now a fan of his work. Fantastic review and awesome post. Thank you.
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