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Posted October 3, 2008
Haunted by mother-in-law Irene Lederer's unsettling true story of an Allied aerial mission that flew over Auschwitz in August of 1944 on its way to bomb the I.G. Farben synthetic oil and rubber plant less than five miles away, Lawrence Kaplan set out to find answers to a nagging question: Why didn't Allies bomb the camp's gas chambers or railways when they had the chance? House of Ghosts is the result of this inquiry, an historically bent hardboiled thriller based off the premise that one of those pilots had the gumption to stop the slaughter. When we first meet ex-cop Joe Henderson with all his personal demons in tow, there is some question as to whether or not this beer-guzzling pill-popping grizzly bear of a curmudgeon has the supreme guts to take on neighbor Preston Swedge's whole houseful of WWII ghosts, but Henderson is quick to charm as the plot jumps into step and speedily embarks on an entertaining crusade for truth that culminates in a revelatory ending. Kaplan has done his homework, too. House of Ghosts is, at the same time, an illuminating inquiry into less frequently discussed events of WWII and the Holocaust, one that raises questions about the geopolitics of a modern-day world that more than half a century later still bears idle witness to feverish acts of genocide backed by aggressive dictatorships.
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Posted December 18, 2008
"House Of Ghosts" is where Raymond Chandler meets Herman Wouk's "Winds of War." <BR/><BR/>Author Larry Kaplan takes the reader on a masterful dance between the present day, and the darkest hours of World War II as his detective protagonist, Joe Henderson, experiences personal redemption while seeking to bring justice and closure to the heroic actions of Paul Rothstein who defied Allied authorities in his attempt to bomb Auschwitz from his B-17 Flying Fortress.<BR/><BR/>Detective Joe Henderson may be a new character to you, but he's the modern incarnation of Philip Marlowe. Hard boiled, hard drinking, hard loving, cynical and offering wry observations of life in the age of Gap and Starbucks.<BR/><BR/>To me, this book is summed up as "booze, broads, and a Jew named Rothstein."<BR/><BR/>The tale begins in August of 2000: Preston Swedge, an alcoholic recluse and World War II veteran, has died in Westfield, New Jersey. At his estate sale, a retired local police officer, Joe Henderson, discovers yellowed documents of 1944 bombing raids into Poland and a 1944 diary describing a rogue attempt by a Jewish-American pilot with the fortitude of a Maccabean zealot and the patriotism of an American freedom fighter to defy his commanders and drop his bombs on Auschwitz's killing complex where nearly 300,000 captives were about to be murdered. Henderson's curiosity launches him on a crusade for the truth and a shocking revelation when he tracks down the last living witness who can solve the mystery of why the raid never happened.<BR/><BR/>Epic in its breadth, the novel sweeps you effortlessly from contemporary Westfield, New Jersey to the Princeton University of 1939, and on to the aerial battle above Italy and Poland in 1944. Along the way you'll meet up with notables such as Charles Lindbergh, Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr., and General Fulgencio Batista of Cuba. And the hottest exotic dancer since Tony Soprano closed the Badda Bing Club!<BR/><BR/>It's been a long time since a fresh voice has brought such excitement to detective fiction. Do yourself a favor and pick up "House Of Ghosts." I bet you won't put it down!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 28, 2010
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