The Book of Ghosts
Review: A survivor of the Nazi concentration camps weaves a tale of fact and fiction, truth and lies, in order to secure residency in the United States following the end of World War II, only to have the story torment him for the rest of his life in The Book of Ghosts, a short bibliomystery by Reed Farrel Coleman.
As his granddaughter accompanies him to the auction of a relic discovered sewn into the lining of an old coat, an item thought to be a book smuggled out of the camp in which he was confined during the war, one that inspired so many of his fellow men, Jacob Weisen reflects on all that has happened in his life. Why: three letters, one syllable, a single sound, but the most complex question in the universe when it came to the human heart. … Why spin the tale of Isaac Becker and The Book of Ghosts when he might have gotten to America anyway? Few in his life know that the book is a figment of his imagination. Yes, there had been a journal of sorts kept by a man named Isaac Becker, but for all Jacob knew the book could contain "recipes or poetry or Hungarian curse words." The two men were not friends in the camp, but bitter enemies, each taking a very different approach to simply surviving one more day. Though apprehensive about what may be about to be revealed at the auction, Jacob is prepared to expect the worse and accept the consequences.
The Book of Ghosts is remarkably effective in conveying a lot of story in a brief number of pages. The narrative moves back and forth in time, focusing on key events that threatened to reveal his lies long before the present day. Even now, he's not so much worried about himself as he is the whole idea of a "book of ghosts", a concept that has grown to mean so much to so many people, most especially his family. The bittersweet ending is not unexpected, but surprises nonetheless.
Acknowledgment: Mysterious Press provided an eARC of The Book of Ghosts for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Tyrus Books (Hardcover), December 2011
ISBN-13: 9781440532023; ISBN-10: 1440532028
Location(s) referenced in The Book of Ghosts: Poland; New York City
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The Book of Ghosts by Reed Farrel Coleman — A Bibliomystery Short Story
Publisher: Mysterious Press
Publication Date: February 2013
List Price: $1.99