An ex-Nazi meets the Long Island Jewish psychologist in Andrew Kane’s gripping new novel.
Martin Rosen, a highly respected and ethical clinical psychologist as well as a best-selling author is at a crossroads in his own life. He’s lost his wife and baby son in a DUI accident and his young daughter, Elizabeth, has become the center and purpose of his life. Martin has long left his Jewish Orthodox parents’ Brooklyn home and beliefs and hasn’t looked back. He’s confused about his right to a new life, much less a love life, while still grieving his loss.
Jacques Benoit is an extremely wealthy international hotel czar who has successfully hidden his prior life. He was a Nazi official instrumental in the heinous roundups in Lyon, France. Now living on Long Island, he experiences a rash moment and tries to commit suicide to assuage his guilt. Benoit then seeks out Rosen as his therapist for his own reasons and devices. He engages in a cat and mouse game throughout their sessions where his actions are always calculated and deliberate. He eventually shows his cards when he “gifts” Rosen with a wartime “souvenir.”
Martin has become involved with the beautiful Cheryl Manning, but something seems amiss. He has nagging doubts about her and struggles to realize what is wrong with their relationship. Meanwhile a Mossad agent, Galit Stein, is on a mission to avenge the victims of the Holocaust, but has trapped herself in a situation beyond her control.
The main characters are joined in the action by FBI and Mossad agents, NYPD, Long Island authorities, and Martin’s colleagues.
From the exciting prologue on, the reader intensely follows the suspenseful action and psychological warfare. Pensive and reflective office therapy sessions and touching family scenes are countered by big bursting action scenes that transpire in short, powerful chapters. The historical flashbacks of the violent French roundups are powerfully depicted. Long Islanders will nod as they recognize the many local landmarks included.
Kane brings his own psychology background, expertise, and input to the narrative. Patient confidentiality and its far-reaching implications are explored. Is not taking an insider trading tip from a patient the same as not helping authorities find a most callous killer? Will Martin ever betray his ethics for someone else’s cause? Can being above reproach be achieved? Kane portrays the many ways psychologists think about thinking and about the questions they ask or don’t ask.
This immensely readable book presents the themes of forgiveness, guilt, love, and justice. The cover photo of the train tracks to death reappears often in strategic white spaces in the text. It is illustrated as a small black and white train track with an offshoot spur. What choices and which track will be taken? Will the characters move from the blackness of the night to the light of the day?
Renita Last is a member of the Nassau Region of Hadassah’s Executive Board. She has coordinated the Film Forum Series for the Region and served as Programming and Health Coordinators and as a member of the Advocacy Committee.
She has volunteered as a docent at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County teaching the all- important lessons of the Holocaust and tolerance. A retired teacher of the Gifted and Talented, she loves participating in book clubs and writing projects.