cover image Camp Stalag

Camp Stalag

Bill Walker. Cemetery Dance Publications, $40 (424pp) ISBN 978-1-58767-033-6

This far-fetched adventure thriller, partly adapted from a film script, as Walker admits in his afterword, reads like a nightmarish, unfunny episode of Hogan's Heroes. Journalist Frank Murphy and his best friend, Bill Seger, are thrilled to be among 300 men chosen to spend two weeks in a simulated WWII German POW camp in New Hampshire, some of them apparently because their fathers were POWs. After being drugged and transported to Wisconsin, they realize that they have been kidnapped by a group of Germans led by aged multimillionaire Heinrich Koenig, a madman who lives in the past and has stolen a small nuclear device that he threatens to detonate. Suspense mainly revolves around Frank and Bill's efforts to foil Kommandant Koenig. There are attempted escapes, brutal murders, a little sex and several plot threads that the author carelessly leaves dangling. The protagonists show only strong or violent emotions, which they switch on and off like cartoon characters. Readers who can overlook inconsistencies and suspend disbelief (the prisoners discover they are in the Central time zone when the sun sets an hour earlier than it did in the Eastern time zone they thought they were in) may find this tale an exciting and fast-paced modern equivalent of an old Saturday afternoon Grade-B serial movie. (Nov. 15)