There are books out there that I’ve read that just stick with me, you know what I’m talking about. The characters seem to linger for days or even weeks after you’ve read the final page. The strong dialogue and/or setting seems to float somewhere between your reality and another time and place. Those types of novels at least for me are few and far between. Luckily, we don’t have to wait any longer. The German is one of those rare gems.
The German is set in a small Texas town during World War II, and as in most small towns, the residents know one another, and they talk. This brilliantly written novel begins to unfold from the first page, as a young boy is found brutally murdered. The only clue is a small snuffbox stuffed into the victims mouth. Inside the box is a cryptic note written in German. The town begins to speculate on which one of their neighbors murdered the young boy, but as each new body is found with a similar cryptic message inside the victim’s mouth, the good residents of this small town turn to one quiet and reclusive man who has very dark secrets of his own.
What sets this novel apart from so many others that I have read, is the extraordinary way in which the story is told – from intricately weaving together three varying points of view. You have Tim Randall, a young boy whose father is fighting in the war, Tom Rabbit the Sheriff of the small town, and finally the strange, dark voice of Ernst Lang, “The German” whose narration is fragmented, seductive, and perfectly chilling.
If you’ve never read anything by Lee Thomas, you’ve been missing out on some incredible story telling. The German, however, is like nothing he’s ever done before. Don’t miss it. Get the book today, trust me this one will stay with you for a very long time.
Reviewed by William Holden