Book Reviews Mystery Suspense Thriller

Run for Your Life (Michael Bennett, Book 2) by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

What has Michael Bennett done to deserve this double whammy?

A psychopath is killing people in New York. He seems to be hung up on his victims’ manners. What do all these killings have in common? The killer, who refers to himself as The Teacher, has a list of people he wants dead. Why?

Detective Michael Bennett is assigned to this case. Just as Michael was set to begin work on this case, his children get sick with the flu. Michael’s wife died a few years ago and he has 10 adopted children. He gets help from his grandfather Seamus who is a Catholic priest and Mary Catherine, the nanny. Could there be a future romantic interest between Michael and Mary Catherine starting to take place?

Now Michael has to begin the balancing act of taking care of the children after Mary Catherine leaves for the day and trying to find The Teacher before he kills another person.

Is Michael Bennett able to locate The Teacher? One big problem – There is no sign of any links between the killings so this makes it more difficult for Michael to solve the case.

The Teacher is an expert at what he does and when he finds out that Michael is after him everything really gets interesting.

James Patterson is one of my favorite authors. I love his short chapters with a teaser ending that makes you want to go on to the next chapter immediately. The storyline goes back and forth from a chapter on the sick children to a chapter on who The Teacher is planning to kill next. This is a fast-moving story full of intrigue that will draw you in from page one. In addition, Michael Bennett is a great addition to Patterson’s characters. He is a tough detective but his heart will melt at the sight of his children.

Book Reviews Memoir Non-Fiction

One Voice, Two Lives by David Wisnia

Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

This book is an amazing memoir that will keep you turning the pages.

David Wisnia and his family lived in Sochaczew, Poland. He came from a well-to-do family. His father owned a factory that manufactured folding beds and upholstered furniture. However, soon after David’s Bar Mitzvah everything changed when Germany occupied Poland. David’s family was murdered and he was left by himself and had to run to avoid getting captured by the Nazis.

In time David ended up in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. David tells the readers many stories about what happened there. So many times, he thought he was going to die but partially through his singing voice he was given special perks. He tells of his relationship with Rose and how she also helped him.

On one of the final death marches, David makes his escape. He is rescued by the 101st Airborne and they kept David with them because he could speak many languages. They also helped him get to the United States after the war.

This is a book you will want to read. The book goes into detail about what happened at Auschwitz-Birkenau and how the prisoners suffered. It is amazing to see how David survived everything that happened to him. The book is also filled with photos, maps and a timeline of what happened to David.

David Wisnia is a Cantor. In 2015 he was the Cantor at the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and he sang at the 75th Anniversary in January 2020.

One Voice, Two Lives is a powerful memoir that is very sad but at the same it shows how one can survive by thinking positive day after day no matter what happens. Thinking positive is what made David survive!

Book Reviews fiction Historical Fiction

The Architect of Auschwitz by S.J. Tagliareni

Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

How can a nice young man change so much that he becomes an evil monster?

Gerhardt Stark’s father was killed in the war. His mother remarried and everything seemed to go downhill for Gerhardt. He and his stepfather did not get along. Gerhardt’s aunt and uncle offered to let him stay with them. They knew there was conflict between the two and made the suggestion that their residence would be closer to Gerhardt’s school. Even though this family was nice to Gerhardt and made him feel welcome, he experienced many mixed emotions.

When Gerhardt got older, he attended school at the university and fell in love with Frieda. Frieda was involved with the University National Democratic Socialist Party. Until now, he was not interested in political parties. Gerhardt moved in with Rolf, Frieda’s brother. From this point, he is introduced to an emerging political party, National Socialism.

Rolf recognized Gerhardt as the ideal candidate for the Nazi party. Gerhardt got more involved and attended many meetings. Rolf kept instilling in Gerhardt that his father died because of the Jews—they were more interested in money than morality.

As time went on, Gerhardt was introduced to many of the top people in the Nazi party. He worked his way up and got what he considered to be important jobs. Gerhardt did not have to think twice about these important jobs because he considered them payback for his father’s death. He now had no conscience, even when it came to his own family members.

What happened to Gerhardt after the war was over?

The Architect of Auschwitz is an engrossing read. I could not stop turning the pages. Even though this book is fiction, it reads like non-fiction. The book is very well written.  S.J. Tagliareni did a tremendous amount of research and spent a great deal of time with Victor Frankl, his mentor, who shared many of his memories with him.

The author does an excellent job of portraying the characters, especially Gerhardt. By the time I finished this book, I despised Gerhardt Stark. The Architect of Auschwitz will leave you with some haunting thoughts long after you have finished reading this book.

Any book about Auschwitz is difficult to read but The Architect of Auschwitz really tells the story from someone on the inside of the Nazi party, and it completely captures the reader’s attention.

I have read a few of S.J. Tagliareni’s books and The Architect of Auschwitz is the best yet. Do yourself a favor and read this book.