Stealing from the Dead

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In Stealing from the Dead, detective Greta Strasser uncovers a brutal plot to steal millions from Holocaust survivors and fuel a vast terrorist conspiracy.

Between 1933 and 1945, thousands of Jewish people deposited their money in Swiss bank accounts, hoping that they or their family might survive the Holocaust. However, when the survivors returned to reclaim their money, the banks claimed that the accounts never existed.

Now, decades later, ...

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Stealing From the Dead

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Overview

In Stealing from the Dead, detective Greta Strasser uncovers a brutal plot to steal millions from Holocaust survivors and fuel a vast terrorist conspiracy.

Between 1933 and 1945, thousands of Jewish people deposited their money in Swiss bank accounts, hoping that they or their family might survive the Holocaust. However, when the survivors returned to reclaim their money, the banks claimed that the accounts never existed.

Now, decades later, NYPD detective Greta Strasser, investigating the death of an elderly Jewish woman, stumbles onto a conspiracy that stretches from New York and Los Angeles to Germany, from Switzerland to the Middle East. Greta, recruited by a special task force, follows a trail of ruthless murders.

The conspirators have hired an assassin to kill the people on the Claims Resolution Tribunal list. Greta, hell-bent on stopping the senseless deaths and enormous theft of funds, goes undercover to prevent the next murder, even though it means impersonating the assassin she hunts.

With all the tension and excitement that fueled The Lost Van Gogh, A. J. Zerries has written another novel of enormous excitement and constantly building suspense.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set in 2005, this fast-moving and often surprising crime thriller from Zerries (The Lost Van Gogh) introduces Greta Strasser, a take-no-prisoners NYPD detective who could easily sustain a series. When Greta arrives at the Upper West Side apartment of a woman who appears to be a simple DOA (“Dead, Old, and Alone”), she can’t help noticing a subtle anomaly—evidence suggesting that Holocaust survivor Paulina Kantor was not alone when she died of a heart attack. Her investigation makes her no friends in her Manhattan precinct, but does attract the attention of an elderly ex-CIA agent, Theo Appel, who believes Kantor’s death is not only the latest in a series but connected to a scheme to steal restitution funds for survivors of the Nazis. Greta must also track down a gang-banger, and both cases end up attracting federal scrutiny. Part of the resolutionis a little too pat, but overall the plot elements work well. Agent: Barbara Braun Associates. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
Advance praise for Stealing from the Dead:

“Well-wrought, and founded on a believable, grim motivation, Stealing from the Dead is a thriller that truly thrills. I hope to see a lot more of NYPD cop Greta Strasser.”

—Barbara D’Amato, author of Other Eyes

“Mix real cops, real terrorists, and real police procedure, and you have a real darn good mystery/thriller. Zerries is terrific!”

—Stephen Coonts, New York Times bestselling author of Flight of the Intruder

“A first-rate story about a NYPD cop who won’t quit no matter what obstacles are put in her way, or who puts them there. First-rate.”  —David Hagberg, New York Times bestselling author of Abyss

Kirkus Reviews
An NYPD detective incongruously juggles a gang of murderous swindlers whose ill-gotten gains are financing international terrorism and a more traditional kind of gang that operates considerably closer to the streets of New York. Theo Appel, who used to counterfeit documents for the CIA, has been turned away by nearly every cop in town, but Detective Greta Strasser, who can't persuade anyone in Manhattan's 24th Precinct that concentration-camp survivor Pauline Kantor's death was murder, is prepared to listen to him. The story he tells is a wild one. A well-financed band of outlaws has been persuading Holocaust survivors like Pauline, whose assets have never been returned by the Swiss banks in which they were deposited, to file paperwork with the Claims Restoration Tribunal and then killing the claimants and taking over their claims. The most cogent evidence in support of Theo's theory that the thieves are targeting claimants in several large American cities and murdering them at the rate of one a month comes when he dies himself under circumstances that look like suicide to everyone but Greta. In the meantime, the intrepid heroine narrowly escapes death at the hands of an assassin who breaks into her home and shoots her dog. Greta's decisive reaction to this home invasion makes it too late to ask the would-be killer whether he was a professional working for the swindlers or a homeboy associate of Viper Xtreme, a gangster Greta can't help going after even though she's repeatedly warned to stick to desk duty by both sympathetic Lt. Nick Geracimos and bullying precinct commander Capt. Quill. So Greta keeps working both cases, even after FBI agent Thomas August gets her seconded to the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Whew. Zerries (The Lost Van Gogh, 2006) keeps both great matters and small moving along smartly courtesy of what may be New York's toughest female cop.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765327178
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 8/21/2012
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.54 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 1.21 (d)

Meet the Author

AL and JEAN ZERRIES are the husband-and-wife authors of The Lost Van Gogh. Zerries now lives in Los Angelees.

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

 

 

Greta wasn’t the only one who heard the music.

The beat seeped into the Seventh Avenue express as it slowed for the Ninety-sixth Street station, and even the bleariest early rush hour passengers were tilting their heads and squeezing their eyes shut, trying to place it.

When the doors parted, it slithered in like a woman in a rumpled party dress, mascara smeared, hair a mess: a tango, predatory and voluptuous, lust thinly disguised as music.

At least twenty people were gathered in a loose circle near the middle of the platform, drawn by the boom box breathing out piano and bandoneón and bass. An eleven- or twelve-year-old girl in a school uniform, cheeks flushed, tore herself away and ran for the departing uptown train. Greta slipped into her place.

All eyes were on the two dancers in the center: a man in tight black pants, his redheaded partner in a miniskirt and clingy glitter sweater. Though meticulously choreographed, their routine’s every feint, advance, and retreat still gave off the heat of a spontaneous erotic skirmish.

A swooning dip accompanied the song’s end, and the man bent his partner so low that her long hair fanned out, flamelike, over the concrete floor. Only then did Greta catch on. It wasn’t a couple at all, but a man and … a tango dummy. She had a pretty Macy’s mannequin face and a stuffed body, like a Raggedy Ann doll—except Raggedy Ann never had D-cup boobs. Her flared mini showed off a small waist, a literally well-padded derrière, and willowy legs sheathed in black fishnet stockings. The dancer had skillfully kept her crude, mittenlike hands out of sight, clasped in his; clear plastic bands attached her black patent leather shoes to his ankles, so she’d never fail to follow his lead.

Applause broke out—for the dancer, for his partner, even for the clever deception. When the man and his life-size doll took their bow, he copped a feel, she slapped his face, and he pulled back, surprised and wounded. Dollar bills dropped into the basket that sat next to the boom box, another train pulled in, a new song began, and on they tangoed.

The rhythm made it impossible to walk away without moving to the beat. Strangers were grinning at one another, half-dancing up the subway stairs.

Greta, unsmiling, wondered about her life so far, and how much of it resembled the dummy’s.

 

Copyright © 2012 by A. J. Zerries

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