Broth­er­hood of Fear: A Willi Kraus Novel

Paul Gross­man
  • Review
By – February 12, 2014

Willi Kraus was a celebri­ty detec­tive back in Ger­many. Now a recent refugee in 1933 Paris with no legal sta­tus, he lives in fear of depor­ta­tion back to his home­land, which is now ruled by Nazis. Kraus is a wid­ow­er whose two sons are liv­ing with his sis­ter-in-law. His moth­er- and father-in-law came to Paris well ahead of him and have estab­lished finan­cial means. They are sup­port­ing Willi’s fam­i­ly while he tries to make a place for him­self in his new home. Willi is des­per­ate for work­ing papers and employ­ment. He befriends charis­mat­ic Andre Duval, who lives large and is pro­mot­ing a big-time invest­ment scheme. Duval seeks com­pan­ion­ship while also look­ing to invest Willi’s father-in-law’s money.

Willi is sum­moned to the office of police chief Vic­toir Orsi­ni, a polit­i­cal climber, who wants a press pho­to with the famous detec­tive. He is offered an under­cov­er job to fol­low the activ­i­ties of a uni­ver­si­ty stu­dent named Junot, and soon wit­ness­es the youth’s cold­blood­ed mur­der down in the Metro. Junot’s dying word is Vivi,” the name of a beau­ti­ful girl with whom he’s had more than one roman­tic ren­dezvous. Though Willi has no police badge, he is deter­mined to find Junot’s mur­der­er and bring him to jus­tice. Willi’s frag­ile posi­tion as a for­eign­er in France makes every move of his self-direct­ed inves­ti­ga­tion risky to him­self and the future of his fam­i­ly. He often express­es wor­ries that his escape to Paris may not be far enough from the reach­es of the Third Reich.

This intel­lec­tu­al thriller keeps its audi­ence intrigued through the end. Descrip­tions of Paris are quite detailed as Willi Kraus fol­lows the clues of this case of French cor­rup­tion at the high­est levels.

Miri­am Brad­man Abra­hams, mom, grand­mom, avid read­er, some­time writer, born in Havana, raised in Brook­lyn, resid­ing in Long Beach on Long Island. Long­time for­mer One Region One Book chair and JBC liai­son for Nas­sau Hadas­sah, cur­rent­ly pre­sent­ing Inci­dent at San Miguel with author AJ Sidran­sky who wrote the his­tor­i­cal fic­tion based on her Cuban Jew­ish refugee family’s expe­ri­ences dur­ing the rev­o­lu­tion. Flu­ent in Span­ish and Hebrew, cer­ti­fied hatha yoga instructor.

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