In this week's Spotlight we feature "House of Ghosts" by Lawrence Kaplan.
Eighty-year-old Preston Swedge is found decomposing at his kitchen table. For Joe Henderson, neighbor and ex-cop, it is good bye and good riddance. The two had a running history and none of it was good. If Joe received a ten dollar bill each time a bourbon fueled Swedge called in a complaint about a never caught intruder named Rothstein, he could have paid for a year of his kid's college. Captain Swedge was back in Italy in 1944. For Joe, the old man was losing his mind, ranting about saving the world and other wartime drivel.
At the estate sale to dispose of Swedge's worldly possessions, Joe saves the deceased's personal papers from the trash. A withered photo of a pilot rocks Joe when he reads the inscription Paul Rothstein. Joe's trawling the internet finds Rothstein was killed in action August 1944. Maybe Swedge wasn't losing his mind after all. Joe was sure of one thing: Swedge didn't suck down Wild Turkey because he missed a Jewish kid from Brooklyn.
Days later, diaries written between 1938-1944 by Swedge and Rothstein are found hidden under the floor in Swedge' s study. Their lives were mirror images. Both diarists are the same age, but opposite in financial circumstances, relationships, and their views on world events. Their differences place them on an inevitable collision course-- Rothstein, a member of a secret Jewish defense group on a rogue mission to bomb the gas chambers at Auschwitz, a plan conceived by his older brother Jake and Swedge under orders from the Assistant Secretary of War John McCloy to stop the marauder and assure the deaths of the remaining 300,000 Jews deported from Hungary.
History shows Rothstein never completed his mission, and archived Air Force records list no enemy aircraft in the area the day of his death. How did Swedge arrange to have him shot down? When Joe's contact in the FBI says Jake is still alive, he embarks on a crusade to find the man who has the last piece of the puzzle.
Lawrence (Larry) Kaplan grew up in a middle class section of Union, New Jersey. A child of the 1950s, he says that he "played punch ball in the street, didn't go to camp, and didn't talk back." It was a world where kids rode their bikes to get where they needed to go, mothers stayed home, and no one had two cars. "And most important," Larry notes, "people gave a damn about each other."
His dad was a dental technician; this inspired Larry to go into dentistry. He's been in solo practice in Scotch Plains, New Jersey since 1983.
But as "a self-confessed history junkie," Larry was drawn to the subject of World War II. "I have read more than a hundred books on the most destructive period in world history," he said.
His interest in writing, Larry says, began, "When I realized I could write as well as the people I was reading."
His two interests combined upon hearing the stories of his late mother in law, about her memories of American bomber jets flying over Auschwitz where she was being held prisoner. She often asked, "Why didn't they target the camps?"
Larry set out to discover the reason. His original plan was to write a book of non-fiction about it. Research was tedious and difficult. He spent hundreds of hours researching in Princeton's library; he interviewed people; he searched for information wherever he might find it.
Somewhere during that time he became concerned, "I had DDS after my name, not a PhD in history," he said. He feared that publication of a non-fiction book might be difficult without the scholarly credentials. So Larry began to frame all the research and information he had gathered into a book of fiction. He had already begun work on a book in what he hoped would be a series of detective novels, about a "washed-up Westfield NJ Police Department Detective, Joe Henderson."
He put his first book aside and worked instead to shape the World War II material into a mystery/detective framework, ultimately giving life to House of Ghosts. With the completion of this book, Larry manages to combine the solidity of an historical novel with the excitement and mystery of the detective genre. It's a laudable first offering in what will be a long series of Joe Henderson books, from a unique new voice in the world of fiction.
Our new website has been launched. Click onto any link in this email and browse through this cyber-space meeting place. Here many unknown, little known and soon to be well known writers, authors and people of literary prowess gather, eager to share their craft.
Coming in November, Online Book Clubs. Check back and join a book club of your choice. Read a novel on a monthly basis and share your thoughts and opinions with other members. It is certain to be fun and informative.
Poster Kraze, Inc. has created the "Author Collective" a consortium of self- published authors sharing ideas about the business of publishing. Our current roster of books include:
· 44th Barack H. Obama- Michael Williams
· Being Married and Loving It- Bennie Cross
· Pet Pals- Marcia LaFramboise
· Investing Tips For Smart People- Sarita Sowell
· Reality From The Heart- Richard T. James
· For Your Eyes Only- Richard T. James
· Crawlers- NeCee
· Grooming Him for Her- NeCee
· Words Cross & Across- Dr. Eugene Williams, Sr.
. No Experience Necessary- LaNay Harris
· Heidi's Happy Clients- Tony Dorian
· Wrench and The Super Saw- Tony Dorian
· Jose Makes a New Chip- Tony Dorian
. Hustle While You Work- Hotep
. Hustler's Gospel- Hotep
. Hustler's 10 Commandments-Hotep
. From a Thug 2 a Man- Clyde Tse
. I Count For Something- Phyllis Fecilia
. Midnight Blue-Tracy Moore
.Songs in the Night-Tracy Moore
.Twelve Universal Laws of Success- Herbert Harris
.America the Racists-Herbert Harris
.The Magic Pencil-Karen E. Dabney
.I Can Do Anything-Carolyn Mattocks
.Play Through The Foul-Vera-Jones
. The Bum Magnet-K. L. Brady
. What To Do When Life Hands You A Devastating Diagnosis-L. J. Holloway
. The Brothers Popovic-Steve Roberts
. Diary of A... - Sylvia Hubbard
. Keeper of Secrets-Anjuelle Floyd
. Broken Wings-William Dunn
. Is There a Balm in Black America? -Dr. Pam Payne Foster, MD