A Dead­ly Act

  • Review
By – February 8, 2021

In the Adam Lapid Series, Jonathan Dun­sky has brought to life a very unique pri­vate detec­tive, and the two most recent addi­tions to Detec­tive Lapid’s sto­ry, A Dead­ly Act and The Auschwitz Detec­tive, are chalked full of unique chal­lenges and twists.

Adam Lapid is a retired Hun­gar­i­an police detec­tive and a Holo­caust sur­vivor. A Dead­ly Act takes place at the end of World War II, find­ing our hard-boiled detec­tive hav­ing just lost his wife, daugh­ters, and sib­lings to the atroc­i­ties of Auschwitz and immi­grat­ed to Pales­tine, where he is try­ing to help build the state of Israel and return to his work. While he is hard­ened on the out­side, inter­nal­ly, he is deeply vul­ner­a­ble and still recov­er­ing from the trau­ma of the war. The mem­o­ries invade his sleep and thoughts catch him off guard when he least expects them.

The fifth book in the Adam Lapid series, this install­ment is a fas­ci­nat­ing and thrilling sto­ry. In the nov­el, Lapid is work­ing on a cold case to uncov­er a run­away killer who has escaped detec­tion for at least five years. But, as he con­tin­ues work­ing to solve the crime, con­flict­ing sto­ries begin emerg­ing, and he realis­es that he has opened a nest of angry hor­nets. Read­ers will sure­ly be enthralled try­ing to nav­i­gate the twists and turns of the case along with Detec­tive Lapid. Equal­ly engag­ing are the facts about Israel’s ear­ly his­to­ry and detailed loca­tions that Dun­sky describes.

The Auschwitz Detec­tive, book six in the series, is a pre­quel that takes the read­er back to the con­cen­tra­tion camp where Lapid was a pris­on­er in the fall and win­ter of 1944. When a young boy is mur­dered, the Lager­al­teste, a fel­low pris­on­er ele­vat­ed to senior sta­tus and giv­en lead­er­ship duties, is angered and wants to exact revenge on the cul­prit. Lapid is giv­en the case and forced to take on the role of detec­tive once again, inter­view­ing oth­er pris­on­ers and guards and work­ing to uncov­er a mur­der­er in a place where dozens are killed daily.

It is a sto­ry of right and wrong, of the strug­gle to main­tain faith in human­i­ty when wit­ness­ing pure evil. But, in the end, The Auschwitz Detec­tive illus­trates how human decen­cy is a trait that can nev­er be com­plete­ly destroyed – there will always be some­one who still cares about the dif­fer­ence between right and wrong.

Dun­sky has done detailed research on life in the camps, and the atroc­i­ties detailed in this nov­el are unset­tling but unex­ag­ger­at­ed. The crimes against human­i­ty described, though hard to read, are the truth, and they are impor­tant to nev­er forget.

Mer­le Eis­man Car­rus resides in New Hamp­shire. She received her Mas­ters of Jew­ish Stud­ies from Hebrew Col­lege and is a grad­u­ate of Emer­son Col­lege. Mer­le is the Nation­al Pres­i­dent of the Bran­deis Nation­al Com­mit­tee. She leads books dis­cus­sion groups and author inter­views. She writes book reviews for var­i­ous pub­li­ca­tions. She blogs her book reviews at biteofthebookworm@​blogspot.​com

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