The Heisenberg Legacy

The Heisenberg Legacy, another mystery/suspense/thriller in e-book published, copyright and authored by Christopher Cartwright.

This 11th book in the Sam Reilley series begins with a prologue in which Oberstleutnant Wilbert Gutwein takes off from the Luftwaffe Airfield in Stuttgart with the first ever nuclear bomb. The date is 22 January 1945 and his target is Washington, D. C. Numerous problems are encountered causing him eventually to attempt to crash land in a snowstorm in an unknown valley. The landing is successful but further problems result in his being the only survivor. He has little to no chance of completing the mission at the moment, so with proper identification, a large amount of American money provided by his Nazi superiors and a good knowledge of the English language, he becomes Willian Goodson and proceeds to find civilization and integrate into the American scene. The story itself then opens at Green-Wood Cemetery in present day New York where young Alex Goodson is attending his father’s funeral – a man with whom he had established little to no familial attachment. He is ready to leave the distasteful scene anyway when he is informed that he is to return to meet with a prominent New York Bank representative. Here. he learns that his grandfather, Wilbert Gutwein, with whom he always had been close, had left him an enormous amount of money, completely bypassing his father with whom he had not even spoken for years. Alex, to say the least, was a highly unusual young man who spent most of his time with computers, much of it playing the games offered. He equated poorly with people and avoided them when at all possible. Thus he used a large amount of his inheritance to establish a game center where he could endlessly indulge his whims. Sam Reilly enters the story in Chapter Four arriving in Washington, D. C. He knew the city well because after joining his father’s business he was the one designated to do all business there – his father, “although obsessed with money and power was practically paranoid about going anywhere near the place”. Sam had been summoned to the Secretary of Defense’s Office where she asks “What do you know about the German nuclear weapon project during World War II?” He replies little other than that early in the 1930’s a scientist named Werner Heisenberg was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for creation of quantum mechanics and paved the way for the atomic bomb. From this point the momentum moves into high gear as Washington is placed under threat of being turned into another Nagasaki by that bomb that had arrived in Maryland in 1945. Sam is forced by an unknown person providing clues through instructions by telephone, to play a game of discovering the proposed perpetrator by chasing down clues offered by him. The prize – no detonation of the bomb if he is successful. Further details of the part played by Sam, Alex, members of Sam’s ‘team’, powerful political and military figures and members of both Alex and Sam’s family emerge in a tantalizingly mixed pattern.

Discussion: To provide further details of this tale would be a disservice to the dedicated followers of this author’s series, as well as to first time readers. Suffice it to say, the story is a fast-moving romp through local as well as international covert activity including distrust, deceit and brutally administered ‘cover-up’ of poor decisions, and based upon mistaken beliefs that it is best for certain state facts to be kept from public knowledge. A particular message most interestingly prominently on display and subject to open discussion today, most especially within the United States.

5* Intriguing tale; political elements engrossingly appropriate today.

 

The Last Train

The Last Train ISBN: 9781942410133, Raked Gravel Press, a mystery set in Tokyo, in e-book by Michael Pronko.

Basically, the story revolves around the activities of a young highly intelligent and capable woman, Machiko Suzuki, who is involved in the clandestine activity of obtaining information that is worth a great amount of money by reselling it to another party. Questionable death of a prominent American businessman with whom she had been seen causes entry of a second protagonist, Hiroshi Shimizu. He had returned to Japan with companion Linda from Boston who had just left him to go home because, at least from her standpoint, the relationship had become too strained by the activities of Hiroshi’s position. He serves as the de facto liaison between the Tokyo police department and their overseas counterparts. His understanding of the innuendos of the English language acquired from having spent years in America obtaining his education, placed him in the position which had advantages and disadvantages. It provided him an unusual private office, but simultaneously opened him to receipt of calls at any time day or night. These often caused him to remain there instead or going home which, along with the manner in which the Japanese police function, provided much of the reason for Linda’s departure. Most of his actual activity entailed business dealings between foreign companies with branches, holdings and/or other activities within Japan – one of his varied educationally obtained talents was in accounting. Thus officially, his position was to investigate white-collar crimes. However, crime knows no boundaries and homicide easily crosses the line. So, when the questionable murder/suicide of a particularly astute American business man who fell from the boarding platform in front of a fast moving Express train is reported, he becomes involved. From this moment the story becomes a rapidly expanding chase/thriller with considerable suspense that takes the reader through the intricate and exhilarating night life of the entertainment districts, the exquisite shopping possibilities and the women who function comfortably in this milieu – women once perhaps unkindly referred to by military personnel following WW II as “Women who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” Simultaneously the interrelationship between this exciting scene peopled by fascinating people and the complex world of finance, although perhaps not appreciably different than that occurring within America, still is in a place where the rules appear to be somewhat less stringent and stakes even higher. Besides the scene provides that certain exotic atmosphere while exposing the tawdry behind-the-scenes life of a Tokyo where business practices of distrust, betrayal, deceit, dishonesty and treachery also may exists at even a higher level.

Discussion: The author indeed has presented a story that although slow starting, is uniquely intriguing for several reasons. 1) It is first a well-written, nicely paced thriller featuring a strong woman character reacting to long term wrongs suffered by her father and personal ones at even a greater level. 2) The setting provides a fascinating picture of the storied Japanese city’s brilliant, glitzy multilevel entertainment area and high-end clubs where visitors can find ‘somewhat different activity’. 3) A presentation of some of the not usually ‘thought-of ’ features of Japanese culture pertinent to the story.

4* Well-written, slow starting, fast-accelerating suspense thriller; -1 for unclear homicide motive.