Making Good

Loren Singer, Author Henry Holt & Company $19.45 (296p) ISBN 978-0-8050-1223-1
An unassuming GI is assigned to an army unit redistributing stolen property in post-WW II Europe in this provocative thriller, which offers a subtle exploration of morality. Having worked in a pawn shop, the unnamed narrator, a soldier in the 7th Army, is deemed qualified to staff the newly created 855th Service Company. But he is not entirely prepared for the obsessive greed exhibited by numerous Europeans and some fellow GIs, as the members of the 855th pursue a series of expressionist paintings said to belong to mysterious Alexander Hampelmann. GI Abraham Berdichevsky unmasks Hampelmann as a likely thief; in the ensuing pursuit, the strange German is apparently killed. During a search for his body the company's CO and four soldiers are very definitely killed, and the trail of death follows the narrator stateside where he tries his hand at reuniting immigrants with their possesions. Berdichevsky turns up in search of the paintings, as does an individual who says he is Hampelmann's brother and the rightful heir to the treasure. But its whereabouts, along with the reasons for the subsequent murder of ``Hampelmann II,'' are murky. At a reunion of the 855th in France, the trail to the paintings is joined by other surprising players. In spare, stylish prose, Singer ( The Parallax View ) demonstrates that ``making good'' can have various meanings. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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