Wars and Winters

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Brian Lockwood is an unemployed journalist whose only objective is to survive the aftereffects of a recent divorce and a minor yet nonetheless painful and frightening heart attack. But when he receives a ceremonial Nazi dagger from his stepfather’s hateful brother, long-submerged questions concerning his rather murky past surface with a vengeance.

Within days Lockwood finds himself on a plane for Germany, a nation he’s not visited since he was adopted by an American army officer assigned to the Nuremberg war crimes trials. Lockwood patiently follows the slender clues that emerge piecemeal and in the process discovers that there are forces at work who would finish the job his faulty heart started. No one he encounters in Germany is to be taken at face value. The past is not what it appears to be, either, and Lockwood, who possesses investigative talent but little in the way of survival skills, lurches from one potentially lethal situation to another.

WARS AND WINTERS is plausible enough in that art treasures disappeared in the course of World War II and secret accounts in Swiss banks were established by German war criminals who sought to escape Allied justice in the postwar years. Moreover, more than a few of those who might have appeared in the dock at Nuremberg took service with the German People’s Republic following the division of the nation by the Allied Powers. Still, after fifty years, time and disease make it difficult to accept that such men still make viable villains even in novels such as this. WAR AND WINTERS offers substantial diversion for those experiencing long-distance travel by public transportation, but that is the extent of its value. The prudent reader is advised to await its appearance in paperback or as a remainder selection at a discount bookstore.