Publisher: Yucca Publishing
Publication date: March 29, 2016
Source: Author/Publisher via TLC Book Tours for an honest review
Occupied Munich, 1946: Irina, a Cossack refugee, confesses to murdering a GI, but American captain Harry Kaspar doesn’t buy it. When Harry scours the devastated city for the truth, he finds his long-lost German brother, Max, who returned to Hitler’s Germany before the war.
Max has a questionable past, and he needs Harry for the cause that could redeem him: rescuing Irina’s stranded clan of Cossacks who have been disowned by the Allies and are now being hunted by Soviet death squads—the cold-blooded upshot of a callous postwar policy.
As a harsh winter brews, the Soviets close in, and the Cold War looms, Harry and Max desperately plan for a risky, last-ditch rescue on a remote stretch of the German-Czech border. A mysterious visitor from Max’s darkest days shadows them. Everyone is a suspect, including Harry’s lover, Sabine, and Munich detective Hartmut Dietz—both of whom have pledged to help. But before the Kaspar brothers can save the innocent victims of peace, grave secrets and the deep contempt sown during the war threaten to damn them all.
Lost Kin (Yucca Publishing; April 2016; 978-1-63158-081-9) is a stand-alone continuation of Steve Anderson’s novel Liberated, featuring the same compelling protagonist, American captain Harry Kaspar. Author Steve Anderson has two bestselling e-books, Double-Edged Sword and Sitting Ducks. With Anderson’s background as a Fulbright fellow in Munich, Lost Kin is a historically accurate, page-turning novel set just after World War II that will appeal to war history readers as well as war fiction readers.
Lost Kin is the third Kaspar Brothers novel. I haven't read any of the other books, though. For the most part this fact wasn't a problem while reading the book, but there were times when I felt like things didn't quite make sense or the actions didn't follow logically. I am still not sure if it was the fact that I hadn't read the previous two books or not.
The novel starts rather abruptly with Harry following a plainclothes Munich cop into a bombed-out neighborhood - despite his own doubts about whether he should or not. I found it a bit disorienting - perhaps much like Harry found it to be. The cop mentions Harry's brother and this is the main reason he follows the man. Once he arrives at the mysterious location, he sees a dead GI and a woman named Irina. From this point, there is much hinting and alluding to people and events and there is suspicion on all sides.
Eventually it shakes out that Harry's brother Max is involved in trying to help a clan of Cossacks get to safety in the aftermath of World War II. While at times I felt that some of the plot points were a bit nonsensical and the dialog was sometimes awkward and forced, I did find the information about the aftermath of WWII to be very interesting, if upsetting.
In fact, the historical aspects of the novel were the most compelling thing about Lost Kin, for me. It is interesting that there is so much fiction dealing with the lead up to and the war itself, but not much is available about the aftermath. Perhaps it is difficult to reconcile some of the things that happened with the simpler, easier version that says the war ended and then everything was fine.
The novel deals with the estranged brothers, Harry and Max, and the history of their relationship and their eventual reconciliation. There are so many complicating factors in their lives - their German origin, Max's betrayal, Harry's deep dark secret from the war, the various people they have encountered over the years - all make for complications and even more betrayal. No one in the book is precisely who they claim to be and no one is completely honest --- they all have other motivations that only become clear later.
While there are plenty of things going on with the brothers, the larger picture of displaced persons after the war, the various military and government agencies at odds with each other and the blind eyes turned to further atrocities all make for some interesting reading. If you enjoy books about war, the aftermath of war and, of course, books about WWII, you might enjoy the Kaspar Brother novels - including Lost Kin.
About Steve Anderson
Steve Anderson was a Fulbright fellow in Munich, Germany. His research on the early US occupation in 1945 inspired him to write several novels centered on World War II and its aftermath. Anderson has a master’s in history and has worked in advertising, public relations, and journalism. He lives with his wife, René, in Portland, Oregon.
Connect with Steve
Steve Anderson’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Tuesday, May 31st: Savvy Verse and Wit
Thursday, June 2nd: Mom in Love with Fiction
Monday, June 6th: Dwell in Possibility
Tuesday, June 7th: Building Bookshelves
Wednesday, June 8th: Hoser’s Blook
Monday, June 13th: Write Read Life
Thursday, June 16th: 5 Minutes for Books
Friday, June 17th: A Book Geek
Monday, June 20th: Helen’s Book Blog
Date TBD: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews