cover image Beneath a Scarlet Sky

Beneath a Scarlet Sky

Mark Sullivan. Lake Union, $14.95 trade paper (562p) ISBN 978-1-5039-4337-7

Edgar-finalist Sullivan (Triple Cross) lays on history with a trowel in this overstuffed tale of derring-do set in Italy during WWII. In 1943, 17-year-old Pino Lella’s parents send him to the mountains to escape the bombardment of Milan. When he returns home on the eve of his 18th birthday, his parents urge him to join the German army to avoid the draft and thus be spared a one-way ticket to the Russian front. As the months go by, Pino turns up, Zelig-like, to witness every significant element of wartime life. He leads Jewish refugees across the dangerously snowy alps to the Swiss border, confronts local bandits masquerading as members of the anti-Fascist resistance, watches as people are loaded into boxcars destined for Auschwitz, overhears what could be talk of the German generals’ plot to overthrow Hitler, finds girls and wine for American army officers, and so on. Facing few obstacles he can’t overcome, the heroic Pino easily outfoxes the Nazis. Agent: Meg Ruley, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (May)