The Blog's Mission

Wikipedia defines a book review as: “a form of literary criticism in which a book is analyzed based on content, style, and merit. A book review can be a primary source opinion piece, summary review or scholarly review”. My mission is to provide the reader with my thoughts on the author’s work whether it’s good, bad, or ugly. I read all genres of books, so some of the reviews may be on hard to find books, or currently out of print. All of my reviews will also be available on I will write a comment section at the end of each review to provide the reader with some little known facts about the author, or the subject of the book. Every now and then, I’ve had an author email me concerning the reading and reviewing of their work. If an author wants to contact me, you can email me at I would be glad to read, review and comment on any nascent, or experienced writer’s books. If warranted, I like to add a little comedy to accent my reviews, so enjoy!
Thanks, Rick O.

Friday, May 12, 2017


The author and his editorial manager sent me a copy of his novel to review:

Warren Adler, the best selling author of The War of the Roses and Mother Nile (see my review of 1/5/2017), has written a tension filled novel with more twist and turns than Carter has little liver pills (am I showing my age?). Wow, what a 368 page ride! Besides being a thriller, the novel asks some important questions. The first question is: What’s the price of honor? Would you debase yourself for a hundred million dollars in gold coins? This novel answers that question loud and clear. The second question is: Why did nearly four million Jews walk meekly into the gas chambers at the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland? And thirdly, why did Jewish work gangs rifle through the incoming Jews luggage and search their bodies for valuables after they were gassed to death? Our heroine of the novel, Karla Smith tells her Jewish lawyer, Milton Gold, why they did that according to her father (who was there), “While their fellows froze, they stole layers of clothing, smuggling it out of enclosures. They were the scavengers. They feasted on the possessions of the dead while other Jews threw their carcasses into the fire, and still others gathered the rendered fat from their bodies and packaged it to manufacture soap...they used the bits and pieces from this hoard to buy favors, to buy time, to bribe, to cheat.” While this seems painful, can you blame them for wanting to live another day? What would you do?

The premise of the story is centered around two main characters (that’s to my liking). It starts out with a beautiful girl from Montana coming to NYC and hiring a seedy Manhattan lawyer, Milton Gold. She seeks Milton’s help in securing a hundred million dollars in gold coins. She is the only one who knows where it’s hidden in the communist controlled Poland of the 1970's. She tells Milton that her dad died three weeks ago and on his deathbed told her the story of the hidden gold. He told her of his time as a Polish prisoner in the Auschwitz concentration camp. He hated the Jews. “My father’s family were bankers...I have only some vague recollections about him telling me about that. The family had this bank in Warsaw. In September of 1939, when the Germans invaded Poland, his father removed the bank’s reserves and hid them somewhere in the city. Sometime in the summer of 1943, the family was apprehended and everyone shipped off to Auschwitz, which was also a work camp. The family never survived the camps...only my father.” Did Karla’s dad tell her the truth? She continues her story to Milton, “When the Germans dismantled the camps in the face of the advancing Russians, my father escaped. He made his way back to Warsaw, found the gold, then moved it in an attempt to get it to the West. The problem was that the Russians were advancing too fast and he had to hide it elsewhere...he got through to the Allied lines and joined the tide of displaced persons flooding Europe. He managed to make his way to America, then to Butte.” Why didn’t he go back to Poland and regain the gold?

After Karla’s meeting with Milton, she calls him and tells him that she is being followed. He sneaks out of his apartment building and meets her at a bar. When they leave they are followed by two men, who attack them. Milton shoots one man and they escape to a cheap hotel near his office. Milton tells her, “Like you, Karla, I don’t think I have a choice. I’m afraid I’m in this, whether I like it or not.” Karla tells Milton why her dad hated Jews, “He saw the Jews as pariahs, betraying each other to survive. Telling lies. Committing brutal acts against their own people just to stay alive, even for just a few more days. What infuriated him most was the conventional perception portrayed almost everywhere you looked-that it was only the Jews who suffered in those camps, only the Jews who were exterminated.” Milton doesn’t buy her dad’s story. He tells Karla, “He was obviously deranged by his experiences. Six million Jews were murdered, most shoved into the gas chambers. Innocent people. If you read, as you say, you know he was wrong.” So who were these men that attacked Karla and Milton? Were they from Poland? And what did these men want? I’m sorry that I’m asking so many questions, but as Warren Adler’s story develops, many different cabals come into play. Warren Adler is one strong storyteller with excellent descriptive prose (not overdone like Diane Ackerman’s The Zookeeper’s Wife). I’ll let you buy your own copy of this novel to find out what happens to this exhilarating couple once they land in Poland in search of the gold. Do I recommend? Did the Chicago Cubs go 108 years before winning another World Series? Yes they did!

RATING: 5 out of 5 stars

Comment: In most mysteries or thrillers, tension and suspense must be the main goal of the author in order to hook the reader immediately. I mean right out of the gate from the first page to the last. I think Warren Adler accomplished that feat in this novel. The reader didn’t know which group (there were three) pursuing them were good or bad, if any. They all had their reasons for wanting the treasure, but the tension continued throughout the novel because Karla stuck to her guns (not literally). She wanted all the gold and wasn’t going to tell anybody where it was, even under the threat of death while cornered in a communist country. The novel’s tension didn’t let up until almost the last page. Good job Warren Adler.

Okay, the best tension authors are Stephen King and Cormac McCarthy...hands down. But there is no use listing their novels since everybody knows them. However, I’ve read various novels over the last several years that were highly tense. One novel is Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves (see my review of 2/1/2013) which was my first venture into ergodic literature. In my review’s last paragraph, I wrote, “Back at the house, things are bleak as the house finally started to attack.” Yea, that was an intense novel! The second novel was Dostoyevsky’s 1866 novel, Crime and Punishment (see my review of 11/17/2014). The murderer, Rodion Romanovich (one of several names that he uses in this novel) has interviews with Porfiry (Russia’s Hercule Poirot) that were very anxious. And lastly I have to give credit to Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, for switching his story lines, chapter to chapter with cliffhangers to create strained moments for the reader.

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