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Shadow Man [Mass Market Paperback]

John Katzenbach
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 31 1996
--The Boston Globe
Berlin, 1943. Few saw his face; none knew his name. In whispered circles he was known only as Der Schattenmann, a merciless catcher for the Nazis who was always there, smiling, when the trains took you away to Auschwitz. . . .
Miami Beach, present day. Retired homicide detective Simon Winter's lonely life takes an urgent turn when his terrified neighbor appears at his door. She has seen a ghost in the flesh, a demon from her past--Der Schattenmann. The next morning, Sophie is found strangled, her eyes locked open in terror.
The police think it's just another homicide. But Winter knows the horrifying truth: an elusive killer is stalking Holocaust survivors in Miami. Now, after years of retirement, Winter must match wits with a sadistically smooth expert on death who lives for the thrill of the hunt, tortures for the rush of power, and murders to keep himself, and his history, hidden forever. . . .

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Product Description

From Amazon

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A very readable book! Feb. 8 1999
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Unlike some of the other reviews offered herein, I found this book quite refreshing. It offered a story that moved at a decent pace and offered some unlikely heroes. While this book isn't the best book I've read, it was quite compelling in its storyline. I found it immensely refreshing to find that the protagonists were not your everyday, run-of-the-mill "supermans". If you want to find a story that compels you to read further, yet without "suspending disbelief" too much, then this is the book to read. If you search for "the" book to define suspense fiction, maybe you should look elsewhere, however, if you want to find a diverting story, with nice balance, read this book! I'm going to read more from Katzenbach.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Turned out to be diferent than what expected. Sept. 2 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
There are many books about holocoust survivors during the war years and inmediatly after, but there ae not many who talk about this subject in a totally setting (miami) and 50 years after the war, wich makes th book interesting.
Unfortunatly I think this book is more about police,detectives and shooting than anything else.
However, I think the book repeats the same information already given to the reader over and over which makes it a little boring.
Being spanish my first language, I would like to tell the author that the idea of including spanish sentences and words every now and then is not a bad idea, however please have it check out by a native speaker because the number of grammar mistakes is amazing!!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, gripping thriller April 4 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've always been a fan of Mr. Katzenbach, and so I jumped at the chance to read Shadow Man, and Boy, was I surprised. This gripping thriller is both thoughtful and chilling, as a small group of concentration camp survives are picked off one by one by the title character, a Jew who hunted other Jews for the Nazis in WW2. Only two cops stand in his way, one white and retired, the other young and black. Together they must solve the mystery, before there is no-one left to say, and the killer disappears into the shadows once more. As usual, Katzenbach's vivid descriptions of Miami add flavor to the mix, and this deep look at a dark chapter in Jewish history makes the novel even more compulsive. An original winner.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Better than I thought it'd be! Dec 7 1998
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When I first started this book I thought it would be something which progressed slowly. But I turned out to be wrong! I wouldn't call it fast paced but once you've started reading, you'll find it's hard to put down. The story-line was easy to follow and it was intresting, which is a very important part. However, I spotted a few mistakes in the spoken German at the beginning, eg. 'Vas'. I am learning German and know it should be spelt 'was'. Don't let this small mistake discourage you from reading such a good book though.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre and unbelievable June 10 1997
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was a suddenly quiverred, flutterred, weakened talent typically shown by J.K., especially, after he wrote his power-house "JUST CAUSE"(The only readable one). Like his other books before the only recommended one, there were so many holes and illogic flaws in this leaking story. J.K. needs to be restrained from writing such bad story again like this! Before writing any new novel, please try to get some credits of LOGIC lessons from your community college, OK
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story. Feb. 25 1998
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a great book. I have no clue what book the guy that gave this a '2' read, but it wasn't this one. Anyone I know that read this book really loved it. It is fun to read from start to finish. Just a neat story that is a pleasure to read. Not brilliant writing, just great story telling. The thought of a Nazi war criminal back to kill more is mind blowing. If you love thrillers, WWII novels, history, or can relate to the subject, you should read this book.
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