I don’t normally lean towards self published books, but following the recommendation from a friend I took up the offer for a free review copy of Andrew Turpin’s debut novel and boy was it ever worth it! If you love WWII historical fiction, crime thrillers, and a little international intrigue this baby will be right up your alley. And the best part? Review copies are still available through Andrew Turpin’s website – reviewers take note!
Title: The Last Nazi
Author: Andrew Turpin
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: Coming in 2017
Genre: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Crime Thriller
Themes: WWII, Internment Camps, Survival, American Politics
Features: Bibliography and Recommended Reading
My Rating: 4.5/ 5
From the author’s website…
The buried contents of a Nazi train. An aging SS murderer. And the wartime secrets of a US presidential candidate’s family, hidden for seven decades.
When war crimes investigator and ex-CIA officer Joe Johnson learns of a link between the contents of a Nazi train, stashed away by Hitler’s Third Reich in 1944, and the financing for a Republican hopeful’s 2012 campaign, he’s more than intrigued.
Can Johnson evade the high level intelligence and criminal networks combining against him across three continents, uncover the truth, and win justice?
This is one of those books that had just about everything that I always tend to look for – strong female characters, historical accuracy, action, intrigue, flawed protagonists, and believable characters. It was like a one-stop-shop for all of the features that I normally seek out individually. My only major complaint is that the constantly swapping viewpoints at times made the story difficult to follow and a little chaotic, but at the same time it was one of the features that really added to the overall experience.
It’s clear that the historical elements of this novel are well researched, and the blending of fact with fiction added a beautifully believable touch to the story. It was refreshing to see the sources for particular events, institutional background and practices, and the some Nazi refuges featured in the book to be included and discussed at the end of the book. While there were certain liberties taken with ‘faction’, I never once questioned the experiences depicted in the Gross-Rosen internment camp or the ways in which war criminals leveraged governments in exchange for protection. Additionally, it does a great job of highlighting how the knowledge of some individuals is valued above the atrocity of the crimes they have committed.
Also, I’d like to point out that if this novel were a movie, it would pass the Bechdel Test. Not only does it have two named female characters that speak to one another about something other than a man, both Jayne and Fiona are former lovers of Joe and they manage not to compare notes! Seriously, my inner feminist (okay, it’s pretty outward) is jumping for joy. Not once are the women helpless or dependent, but rather they are both driven, successful, career minded women that Joe consistently underestimates despite the fact that they literally keep saving his ass. I was constantly bemused by the fact that Joe kept arrogantly assuming that Jayne and Fiona might still hold a torch for him, only to be left feeling foolish in the end when he discovered their intentions were far more innocent and professional. For this alone, Mr. Turpin, you have earned yourself a repeat reader who is anxiously awaiting the arrival of The Old Bridge.
The intertwining plots are complicated, fast paced, and do a wonderful job of continuously sucking the reader in. I was on my toes right up until the very end, and while I was able to piece some elements together, there were other developments and details that caught me completely by surprise. Add in there the elements of the CIA, Nazi hunting, corrupt political campaigns, and some vigilante justice and you’ve got one of the most exciting crime thrillers I read all year.
Would I recommend this book? Highly! Andrew Turpin is one Indie Author to look out for, and the Joe Johnson series promises some interesting new takes on historical faction. I was blown away by this debut novel, and I have the feeling that it will only get better from here.
Many thanks to Andrew Turpin for providing an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.