Simon Winter was once one of the best cops on the Miami homicide beat, but now he's just another retired guy with no relatives. He sticks his trusty gun in his mouth--and just as he's about to squeeze the trigger, his neighbor Sophie Millstein pounds on his door.
Sophie, a Holocaust survivor, says she's just caught sight of Der Schattenmann (the Shadow Man), who hunted down the Jews of Berlin. He was a "catcher," a Jewish man who worked for the Gestapo. Once you glimpsed the Shadow Man, nobody ever saw you again. But Sophie just saw him, she's sure of it, right here in Miami!
Simon doubts it, but when Sophie is murdered, he doesn't believe that Leroy "Hightops" Jefferson, the crack addict seen sprinting out of her apartment with her jewelry, did the deed. Why was Sophie's cat strangled? And when another Holocaust survivor dies, why does his suicide note omit one letter of his wife's name? Did he write it at gunpoint? Simon and young sleuths Walter Robinson and Espy Martinez hunt the Shadow Man, and even Leroy winds up showing a streak of heroism.
Besides a clever premise, Katzenbach--a Miami Herald veteran--packs a lot of vivid local color into his Edgar-nominated mystery about a town where drug killings are so common the cops call them "felony littering." But the characters are simplistic and the narrative pace sluggish by comparison with Katzenbach's World War II POW murder mystery, Hart's War. --Tim Appelo
From Publishers Weekly
Katzenbach (Just Cause) has some good Holocaust and WWII vignettes and pretty good cop-talk here, but the book is burdened by flat characterization, a slow pace, an odd, unsatisfying ending and a serious need for editing. Retired Miami PD detective Simon Winter is about to kill himself (for no visibly compelling reason) when his fearful neighbor, Mrs. Millstein, a Holocaust survivor, asks him for protection. She has just recognized the Shadow Man (Der Schattenmann), who'd turned her family in to the Nazis in Berlin 50 years earlier. The man was one of "the catchers," Jews who betrayed other Jews to save their own skins. Simon calms her with a promise to help her in the morning. That night, she's murdered in an apparent burglary, and a young black man is seen fleeing the crime scene. The young Miami Beach detective working the case nabs the suspect, who says an old white man is the real killer. Meanwhile, another Holocaust survivor apparently commits suicide, and yet another disappears. Simon and the younger cop finally team up to find the Shadow Man-a hunt that seems to take forever as the plot is bogged down by drawn-out padding and red herrings. There's silly blather (suspects are "the culmination of a set of facts, or a series of observations"), inept goofiness ("When one cracks the lid on Pandora's box, many questions slide out") and just plain sloppiness. Worse, despite Katzenbach's interesting premise, we never get to care about these two-dimensional people. 75,000 first printing; major ad/promo; BOMC alternate.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.