The promise of Rosenberg's new Avram Cohen mystery is lost in an overheated, garish development that in turn leads to a lugubrious conclusion. After political enemies force him into galling retirement and months of inactivity, Cohen, former commander of the Jerusalem Police, accepts a longstanding invitation to visit fellow Dachau survivor Max Broder. ``Der Bruder'' is a successful Hollywood director who is finishing a film about the Holocaust, which includes re-creations of his and Cohen's postwar exploits as avengers. Cohen, who has deliberately tried to put the past behind him, arrives in L.A. shortly after Max's death, ostensibly a suicide. Nosing around, the Israeli detective collects various enemies: the studio head who won't release the movie; movieland's Jewish community, whose members don't want to focus attention on themselves; some Aryan Nation punks, and a mysterious white-haired sniper. Aided by Broder's rough cuts, the screenplay and his own war memories, Cohen sifts through a large cast of mask-wearing, secret-bearing Hollywood types to zero in on a notorious Nazi bad guy hiding behind the weirdest mask of all. Although stolid, crotchety Cohen provides a fine and powerful presence as he makes his way in a strange land, the final plot twist is over the top. (Feb.)
Former Jerusalem detective and Dachau survivor Avram Cohen arrives in Hollywood to visit a long-time friend and successful movie director. Max Bruder, though, has apparently committed suicide, leaving behind an unseen autobiographical film, a mysterious young female companion, and at least one enemy. Cohen, looking for clues to a killer, begins with a hidden safe, a surprising will, and the final cut of the controversial film. Well-written, evocative prose underscores a foreigner's wry look at Hollywood.
Avram Cohen was long the top detective in Jerusalem, but his last big case caused him problems in that most political of cities, and he was forcibly retired. The resulting ennui and purposelessness sour his relationship with the woman in his life. Then he gets a call from his lifelong friend and fellow Dachau survivor Max Broder, a famous film director in Hollywood. Broder, who has completed his personal epic, based at least in part on his relationship with Cohen, convinces his friend to join him in California for a long-anticipated reunion. When Cohen arrives, though, he learns of his friend's very recent suicide. That explanation doesn't wash with Cohen; he knew his friend, knew how he felt about surviving Dachau, and how much completing his movie meant to him: it wouldn't have led to suicide. Soon Cohen has enmeshed himself in the Jewish film community, looking for the real answer with the grudging assistance of a local police detective. Cohen is a brooding, angry man who's often at war internally. But he is a loyal friend and dogged investigator. On balance, he's a unique and satisfying series character.
Fired from his job as Jerusalem's chief of investigations after his Gordian resolution of Crimes of the City (1991), Avram Cohen accepts his old friend filmmaker Max Broder's oft-urged invitation to Hollywoodonly to find Max dead, an apparent suicide, and The Survivor's Secrets, his film about his escape from Dachau with Cohen and Bernard Levine, pulled from release by the withdrawal of Epica Productions. Bucking the authority of the Beverly Hills cops, Cohen quizzes Levine's daughter Sophie, Epica studio chief Andy Blakely (whom Max had tried to stab in a well-publicized melee), and gangster Davey Bee, among a host of other sharply etched figures; but the crucial clue is in an errant videotape of The Survivor's Secrets, which will lead Cohenthough not until after more deaths and much soul-searchingto another ghostly survivor of Dachau. Deftly plotted, finely detailed, and written with tears and compassion. All of Rosenberg's characters, even his walk-ons, leave an indelible impression.