Thursday, February 23, 2012

Book Tour: Voices of the Dead by Peter Leonard

PUBLISHED BY: The Story Plant

ISBN: ISBN-10: 1611880327 ISBN-13: 978-1611880328

SYNOPSIS: The year is 1971. The place is Detroit. Harry Levin, a scrap metal dealer and Holocaust survivor, has just learned that his daughter was killed in a car accident. Traveling to Washington, DC to claim the body, he learns that the accident was caused by a German diplomat who was driving drunk. This is only the beginning of the horror for Harry, though, as he discovers that the diplomat will never face charges – he has already been released and granted immunity. Enraged and aggrieved, Harry discovers the identity of his daughter’s killer, follows him to Munich, and hunts him down. What Harry finds out about the diplomat and his plans will explode his life and the lives of everyone around him.

Brimming with action and dark humor, Voices of the Dead, firmly positions Peter Leonard as a writer every suspense fan needs to read."

My  thoughts:   Harry's first thoughts after hearing who killed his daughter in a car crash was that of unfairness and rage. Why should someone who was drunk go scot free just because he had diplomatic immunity. This irritated Harry so much that he decided he would seek his own vengeance for his daughter Sara's death.

Harry finds out the driver, Ernst Hess, a German citizen, was in the US on business and has returned to Germany. Harry travels to Munich to find him and when he does, he thinks he looks familiar. Then it dawns on Harry that he has crossed paths with Hess before many years ago during the war. When his memories come flooding back of his escaping from Dachau and being a witness to the senseless slaughter of over 500 Jews, including his own parents, Harry knows exactly who Hess is and is more determined than ever.

Along with a young female journalist and a newly dishonorably discharged soldier that he met in Germany, Harry and his new friends stumble upon much more than they had bargained for in their pursual of Hess; a run in with skin- heads leads them to uncover a nest of Nazi nastiness - for some, the war has never ended, their anti-semitic mission is still ongoing. Harry vows to get some justice for not just his daughter but also for the war dead. Unfortunately, every time they make a move Hess makes a deadly counter-move, and they are not just playing games!

Harry was a likeable and  admirable character but at times foolhardy in his search for retribution. As determined as he was to seek justice, he did not take into account that Hess was just as determined in his quest to hide his war crimes and present involvment in the Neo Nazi movement.

I've never read Peter Leoard's books before and not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised at this action packed drama with quite a few twists that had me riveted to the plot. Although Leonard's writing is sparse and sometimes coarse, it still manages to pack a punch with excellent character development and dialogue that felt very real. Descriptions of clothing, hair styles from the 70's, mention of the Munich Olympic games and the Nuremburg trials easily brought back memories of the era. Recommended for thriller and suspense fans. 3.5***

Hess found out the woman lived on P Street in Georgetown, not far from the consulate. He told the ambassador he was having dinner with potential clients, and wanted to drive himself. It was unorthodox, but plausible. He had been issued one of the embassy’s Mercedes sedans. He stopped at a bookstore and bought a map of the area, and located P Street. He drove there and saw the Goldman residence, a federal-style brick townhouse.

Hess went to a restaurant and had dinner and a couple drinks. At ten o’clock he drove back, parked around the corner on 32nd Street between two other vehicles so the license plate was not visible to anyone driving by. He walked to the Goldmans’, stood next to a tree in front of the three-storey townhouse. There were lights on the first floor. He walked to the front door and rang the buzzer. He could hear footsteps and voices inside. A light over the door went on. Hess stood in the open so whoever it was would see he was well dressed. The door opened, a man standing there, assumed he was Dr. Mitchell Goldman, dark hair, big nose, mid-forties, top of the shirt unbuttoned, exposing a gold chain and a five-pointed star. Hess smiled. “My car is on the fritz. May I use your phone to call a tow truck?”

Dr. Goldman stared at him with concern.

“I am staying just down the street at the consulate,” Hess said, smiling. Now the door opened and he stepped into the elegant foyer, chandelier overhead, marble floor.

“Mitch, who is it?” a woman said from a big open room to his right.

Dr. Goldman looked in her direction. “Guy’s having car trouble, wants to use the phone.”

“It’s ten o’clock at night.”

“He’ll just be a minute,” the dentist said.

Hess could see the woman sitting on a couch, watching television.

“The phone’s in here.” The dentist started to move.

Hess drew the Luger from the pocket of his suit jacket,and aimed it at Goldman.

The dentist put his hands up. “Whoa. Easy.”
“Who is in the house?”

“Just the two of us.”

“Are you expecting anyone?”

He shook his head.

“Tell her to come in here,” Hess said.

“What do you want? You want money?” He took his wallet out and handed it to him. “There’s eight hundred dollars in there.”

“Call her,” Hess said.

“Hon, come here, will you?”

“I’m watching ‘All in the Family.’ Can you wait till the commercial?”

Hess could hear people laughing on the television.

“Just for a minute,” the dentist said.

Hess saw her stand up and step around a low table in front of the couch, moving across the room, still looking back at the television. She turned her head as she entered the foyer and saw him holding the gun. Her hair looked darker in the dim light but he had only seen her briefly that day.

“Oh-my-god,” she said, hands going up to her face.

“We’re reasonable people,” the dentist said. “Tell us what you want.”

“The pleasure of your company,” Hess said. “Where is the cellar?”

That should certainly make you want to read more!

AUTHOR BIO: Peter Leonard’s debut novel, QUIVER, was published to international acclaim in 2008 (“A spectacular will be holding your breath until the final page.”– The New York Sun). It was followed by TRUST ME in 2009 (“TRUST ME is fast, sly and full of twists.” – Carl Hiaasen, New York Times bestselling author). The Story Plant will publish Leonard’s newest novel, ALL HE SAW WAS THE GIRL, in the spring of 2012.


Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by the author through Partners in Crime Tour in exchange for my honest opinion.


  1. Thank you for your honest and detailed review. Great post!!

  2. It does sound as if this book has a lot of twists and turns in it, and that intrigues me. I am so glad that you liked it and that your review was so comprehensive and wonderful! I need to try to find this book!

  3. It makes me wonder if a diplomat would really get immunity for a crime like that. I feel like I would have to get revenge somehow too. Sounds like it has a lot going on -- in the best thriller way.

  4. I hate the whole idea of those higher up getting special treatment. It happens more than we really know!

  5. Interesting plot line -- hadn't heard of this one previously.


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