A Room Full of Night*
Thriller Harkens Back to the Bad of Days of Nazism
The book opens with a scene where Stag Maguire, a burnt-out journalist with PTSD, is going to his friend’s bar to meet him. His friends family had owned this bar for a couple of generations, and now it is going out of business. The friend, Harry, has not only lost his business but also his wife, so he is not doing well. Before they leave the bar one last time, Harry decides that he wants to take a portrait off the wall as a memento, as it has been there his whole life. When they go to remove it, a piece of parachute silk like a World War II pilot would carry falls out. There’s writing on it in German. Stag knows some German, and it appears to be an address and the words HELP ME, among others.
Both Stag and Harry now have questions about what the silk means and the portrait. The family has always just called the portrait Our Reini. After doing a little restoration of the portrait—during which time a key is found in the portrait—Stag realizes that it’s a representation of Reinhold Heydrich, chief of the Gestapo and the SD, which was the Nazi security/intelligence agency. As they start to investigate, they soon find themselves wrapped up an intrigue that finds Harry murdered by an assassin. Stag knows he’s in danger, but he’s a man with nothing to lose, so he decides to get to the bottom of this mystery that killed his friend. This takes him to the address in Germany that was on the silk, and the game is afoot.
This book is rich in detail about both the present and the past. Clearly, the author has a deep knowledge of Nazism and the Holocaust. The book sucks you in, first reading about two apparent losers who make this strange find. And then it heats up as soon as Harry gets killed. Who would kill over a World War II painting and a bit of parachute silk? Who wanted help? What are the mysteries to be found at apartment 12A? I love how Stag just took off and embraced the dangers of slipping into 12A so he could try to figure out why knowledge of it would make someone kill his friend. He ends up going to various parts of the globe, as he finds out more and more about the vestiges of Nazi Germany that still exist today.
If you enjoy page-turning thrillers that harken back to Nazi times, you might enjoy this book.