Wednesday, October 1, 2014

BOOK REVIEW/GIVEAWAY: The Summer of Long Knives by Jim Snowden


SYNOPSIS

In the summer of 1936, the racial and political climate in Munich are growing tense, and Kommisar Rolf Wundt and his wife Klara are increasingly desperate to leave Nazi Germany while they still can. But when a member of the League of German Girls is found brutally murdered and posed in the yard of a dilapidated farmhouse, Rolf’s supervisor declares that they can’t leave until he’s solved the case. Rolf’s investigation leads him from the depths of the underground Communist movement to the heights of Germany’s elite Nazi society, exposing the cracks in Germany’s so-called unified society as well as the unspoken tensions in Rolf’s complicated marriage. Ultimately, long-buried secrets and overwhelming evidence are laid bare, but how can Rolf bring the killer to justice in a country devoid of justice? And how can he protect himself, his wife, and his former lover from the barbarism of a corrupt and power-hungry government?


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REVIEW

The Summer of Long Knives by Jim Snowden is riveting in the best possible way.

It is the summer of 1936 in Munich, and the express elevator is free-falling through the circles of hell faster than the beer flows at Oktoberfest.  And 'all' Kommisar Rolf Wundt has to do  to be able to leave Nazi Germany with his wife Klara is to solve the murder of an Aryan girl.  The Reich cares little for the lives of Jews, gays or people with Communist sympathies.  But that's not supposed to happen to a member of the master race.

When the investigation stalls, veiled accusations are made that perhaps Wundt's heart isn't in it because he once had an affair with a "Jewess", and a Gestapo liaison is assigned to Wundt's team.  In rather short order, the Gestapo  man 'arrests' a mid-teen Jewish boy, who, with the aid of a little 'enhanced' interrogation (read stripped naked and beaten senseless in a concrete room - with a doctor in attendance (as a spectator?)) identifies his Jewish gang, all of which are subsequently tried in a (kangaroo) court of law, taken out and guillotined.  There we are.  'Justice' served.  Neat little package.

Except it's not.  The killing does not stop.  When Wundt gets uncomfortably close to the killer, another young girl's body shows up in his front yard, the modus operandi far too similar to the first case

And the machinations of the political machine keep getting more twisted and intricate.  Who is the killer?  How has he or she eluded capture for so long?  Is this the first time murders of this nature have occurred?  And does anyone else get the chills knowing that the Gestapo officer's name (Weissengel) translates to "white angel" in English?

The Summer of Long Knives is not for the faint of heart.  This isn't 'Scooby-Doo vs The Third Reich'.  It's more like "Disgusting Crime and (Lack of) Punishment".  If you have any compassion, this book will make you angry, and scared - but in the best possible way, especially if it motivates you  the next time you see someone being mistreated.  

Put this book on your TBR list.  To aid in getting it off your TBR list and into your head, I'll hold a random drawing on October 8th (one week from today) for one e-copy of The Summer of Long Knives for anyone commenting on this post.

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AUTHOR INFORMATION



Bellevue author Jim Snowden has published short stories in Pulphouse, Mind In Motion, The Seattle Review, The King’s English, and MAKE. His novella, Escape Velocities, was named a 2004 notable story by the editors of StorySouth. Jim received his MFA from the University of Washington in 2004, where he won the David Guterson award for his work on his debut novel, Dismantle the Sun. He also runs a small press, MMIP Books, which published its first short story collection, Coming Unglued: Six Stories About Things Falling Apart, in May of 2011. Its second collection, Blood Promises, And Other Commitments was released in April of 2013.

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(Disclosure:  I received a print copy of this book from the author and publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.)

10 comments:

  1. This looks terrific. I especially enjoy mysteries and that's a fascinating -- and tragic -- time in history. Thanks for the recommendation.

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    1. You're welcome, Carol! Thanks for stopping by! :O)

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  2. Thanks for your generous review, and good luck to the giveaway entrants. I'll be around for the duration of the tour to answer any questions about the book that you or your readers would like to pose.

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    1. You're welcome, Jim! Great that you make yourself available for questions. I try to link the tour company's logo to the page on their site featuring each tour, so that people can follow along.

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  3. Haha, I have taken your advice and added it to my TBR list! It looks like a good read which would be interesting and make you put certain things into perspective. It could be the perfect follow up book for me after reading the Book Thief.

    http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/2014/09/waiting-for-dusk-book-review-giveaway.html

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    1. Thanks so much, Olivia, for reminding me to put BT on my TBR. :O)

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  4. This does sound amazing. Intriguing synopsis & great review.

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  5. Seems like a fascinating read, LuAnn, which I will definitely add to my TBR list. I love books that take me back into an era I am less familiar with, Nazi Germany from the German perspective rather than the Jewish Holocaust. Thanks for this post. HUGS <3

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  6. Sounds like a book that will stick with readers for a long time!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

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