The Ghost: Henry Kellerman
Wars are deadly, but some are fought or created in order to destroy the lives of those that are a threat to others due to race, religion or intelligence. Within this novel reader will meet some diabolical killers that foster hate, racism and enjoy the fruits of their labors torturing innocent children, burning adults in a crematorium and relishing and basking in their own sadistic glory. A twelve-year-old boy named Willy, his mother and his mother’s boyfriend and father became victims of a plot to exterminate millions of Jews and people of other nationalities. Somewhere, hidden where no one knows are papers and evidence to this effect leading readers to wonder where the child hid the information, what is in the papers and how did thousands of Nazi criminals escape to safety. Just who is behind this plot? Just who is funding their escape is the work of a person called The Ghost.
Willy knows too much and was taken to the top of his building and thrown off the roof. Who would hurt an innocent child and who was the message directed to and why? As the body is taken to the hospital, badly fractured, beaten and hardly alive, this strong child is given life support, casts, surgeries that are needed, brain scans and more to see just how serious his injuries are and if he will ever wake up and speak again.
His Uncle Frankie is his guardian, Al a private detective close to him and Gloria is Al’s girlfriend as the police team up with them to try and find the illusive Ghost but first there are others involved that focus their lives on finding and catching Nazi war criminals and those men will be part of this elaborate plot to stop what has already been put in place.
A twelve-year-old child that cannot speak, hear or function is the key to the mystery. Simon Wiesenthal is the link to the list of hunters as well as a team of others including Israeli Mossad agents and British M16 secret service. The story focuses on World War II events that deal with a powerful Vatican Bishop an elusive person called the Ghost and someone sending assassins to regain a secret tailpiece -as the summary states: a hidden extension of the 1942 Wannesee Conference Papers. Within these papers there is documentation about Eichmann and Mengele among others, their future destinations and how they were aided to safety.
As we get to know the Detective, they call Mac and several others they coordinate with the British secret service, go to Israel, deal with Mossad agents and we meet the infamous Wiesenthal and his group, which includes a sanctioned killer, they hope to find and send the important and valuable coded microfilm to England’s decryption center. Taking place years later in 1958, a group of Jewish Nazi hungers will take aim, and not stop until they get those that allowed the atrocities to happen.
On January 20,1942 the Wannsee Conference took place. On this day Nazi officials met to discuss the details of the Final solution as they deemed it of the Jewish Question. Herman Goering in 1941 under the instructions of Hitler, order Reinhard, Heydrich, SS general and Heinrich Himmler’s number two man, to right away a general plan of administrative material and financial messages for carrying out the final solution of the Jewish question. This conference was crucial to their solution and Heydrich met with Eichmann, chief of the Central Office of Jewish Emigration along with 15 other officials from various Nazi ministries and organizations at Wannsee. Simple agenda: The Jewish Question in Europe. Various sick and sadistic proposals were discussed which included mass sterilization and deportation to the island of Madagascar. Jews from every corner of Europe would be sent to camps in Poland working them to death. Objections too time-consuming and what about the millions of Jews in Poland already? Extermination was never said but implied. Chelmo, Poland where gas vans were employed were killing 1000 people each day, the solution they were looking for in order to create mass deaths. This is the basis for my they needed the microfilm with the information that would allow them to find out more about the conference, where these Nazi criminals were sent to hide and hopefully bring them to justice.
The voices of many are heard starting with Simon Wiesenthal and then Hadal who is behind what is happening with the escape of the Nazis. Then we meet Father Hugh Flannery who works along with Al, Gloria, the Bronx Police in the 48th Precinct, Frankie and a team of others including Al’s friend Jimmy in London, where they break off into different teams to find out where this hidden microfilm is and where Willy hid it. But things get out of hand when the truth behind where the package is, the people that have it don’t even know that their daughter was hiding it and where she hid puts someone close to Al in danger. When those on the other side learn where the microfilm is, they kidnap the Wharton family and threaten their lives even though the man that we will come to learn is the Ghost does not want them harmed for reasons that I cannot reveal.
When the package is found by someone that had no idea that it was hidden or why, things take on a different turn, more lives are in danger and the truth behind what the Ghost has planned, who some of the main war criminals are and how they will be transported to safety and why, is bone chilling and frightening. The fact that they were so proud of what they did, what they still wanted to do at the expense of so many lives is more than tragic.
Each team has their own agenda whether it’s the police, the FBI, the Germans, those affiliated with the Vatican plus adding a known assassin to help find the package: Shmuel Kisnov meets Hugh the priest at the Vatican, Imi, Jimmy from M 16, Al the PI, and the cops from the Bronx plus Al. As the meeting goes on, we learn more about those that were enlisted to take out Willy, the Wharton family and the role of the daughter and where the package might be. But Wiesenthal wants something specific done to the microfilm, but can it be done and who will accomplish it, and will he get it in time? Two men are captured by the police and they are told that Hudal, Bishop Hudal is the head of the Vatican but who exactly is the Ghost and what is the outcome of what they want to do, and will they succeed?
Danger is everywhere, and things do not pan out as deaths occur, but you won’t believe where as the 48 is under attack and lives are lost making Mac and Lyle go on a rampage for revenge.
Author Henry Kellerman created a plan that was intricate, well developed and employed many faces within the novel as Wiesenthal, Jimmy, Al, Lyle, Mac and many others work to take down a web of hate within many countries in the world. But, can they stop everyone and capture them all? As the story ends and a prisoner named Wenzel who was instrumental in helping Nazi’s escape to safety and freedom was promised that the death penalty might be off the table if he cooperated with, he police. You never really know what will happen to these people and the sadistic actions that they performed on so many takes away any feelings of sympathy for their outcome.
This is a story although fiction is based on the history of the Holocaust that did happen and we need to remind people and students today of the horrors that befell so many at the hands of those who have no moral values or compasses. Eichmann, Mengele and any associated with what happened at the camps their final demise should have been equal to that of what they did to others and even more. It started with a little boy named Willy, then we learn about his friend Stevie and the network of so many people who come together to create and find a path for justice. But, can you really stop the hate when you listen to the news today and see the horrors and attacks all over the world? This book reminds us of the atrocities back then we need to realize it is still happening in many ways in the present.
From the Bronx, to London, to Israel and many countries and places around the world, this team of men worked their hardest to take down what someone called the Ghost set in place. The harshness and dispassionate voices of those that hate the Jews and others can be heard as we hear Hudal, the wives of some that might have been assassinated and the one man who shows no feelings, heartless and relentless in his quest to save those that killed so many and he just still might be out there he is known as THE GHOST.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews