EYE OF THE ABYSS

Marshall Browne, Author
Marshall Browne, Author . St. Martin's Minotaur/Dunne $23.95 (290p) ISBN 978-0-312-31156-8
Reviewed on: 09/15/2003
Release date: 11/01/2003
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4299-9275-6
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Aussie-based Browne takes a break from his highly praised series about a one-legged European police detective, Inspector Anders, to start what one hopes will be another series, about a one-eyed German banker secretly fighting the Nazis. Franz Schmidt, chief auditor for a family-owned bank in an unnamed south German city, loses his eye defending a Jew attacked by Nazi thugs in 1935. A quiet and meticulous man, he apparently bears no grudges, though his wife and best friend aren't so sure. Three years later, when his bank is chosen as a repository for large amounts of Nazi Party cash, the other shoe drops, and Schmidt becomes a man of action. First, he takes great risks trying to help a female bank employee whose mother was Jewish. Then he dreams up a plan to punish Dietrich, the sleek and seductive party operative placed inside the bank. As he did in his two other books (Inspector Anders and the Ship of Fools and The Wooden Leg of Inspector Anders), Browne quickly creates a dark and convincingly Kafkaesque landscape, filled with people whose strengths and weaknesses radiate credibility. Dietrich and another top Nazi, von Streck, are frighteningly vivid, as are the endangered woman, her police inspector father, Schmidt's determined wife and his fragile friend. And Schmidt himself has our complete attention from the beginning, as he—and we—look for some possible light in the gathering storm of Nazi oppression. Readers who enjoy the WWII mysteries of Alan Furst, J. Robert Janes and Philip Kerr should especially savor this fine book. (Oct. 6)

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