This week’s Mystery Monday is a bit of a departure from what is normally a murder mystery novel. Mysterious things are going on at the Holocaust museum and FBI Agent Mitchell Parker can’t figure why he and his team are the ones called in to investigate. They’re not ghost busters, after all. And pushing for answers with his boss, John Windsor, is getting Mitch nowhere.
The Fourth Reich is Goltz‘s 3rd book in the Agent Mitchell Parker series and is unusual in a lot of ways. First, there are no dead bodies except by natural causes. Second, the team is looking into historical events and family lineage that, at first, seems straightforward. Third, the subject of their investigation doesn’t want their help to the point where he’s willing to attack Parker and see him taken captive, and fourth, the story is a call to awareness of the world around us as these events are not implausible. Things that are not unusual in this series are: the team ends up operating on more than one continent, things behind the scenes are more complex and dangerous than anyone on the team can possibly imagine, and events escalate in an alarming fashion before the team finally brings everything to a nick-of-time conclusion.
Parker’s team is brought in when strange things begin happening around Benjamin Hoefer who is about to launch a book about his father, a Nazi death camp survivor. After delivering a speech at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., a short film was screened about life in a Nazi death camp featuring a frame of Benjamin’s father at the end. The film had no sooner faded to black, when it “flickered alive again” and the words “Nazi, Jew hater, fake!” appeared across the screen in bold, red strokes. It’s a puzzle how the film is being altered/shown, as there is only one way in and out of the projection room. This, along with the fact that items are being defaced and stolen after hours, warrant the crack FBI team to get involved. Once they start tracking groups that might have a motive to discredit Hoefer’s father/biography, they uncover some pretty unsavoury goings-on.
There are lots of interesting confrontations, pretty clever ID techniques, and amazing parallels to real life white supremacy groups and Nazi revivals in this episode. Some of the characters are blatantly violent and aggressive toward those who question their doctrine, while others may seem calm but are something totally different under the surface. Benjamin, himself, is a dichotomy. The team members sense he’s not telling the whole truth but before they can pin it down, he disappears, is found, knocks out Parker, and tries to sabotage their investigation. The team is also receiving some therapy due to possible PTSD from their previous assignment, so there’s lots going on.
This book is great as a stand-alone but you’ll get a lot more out of it if you read the books in sequence. Mastermind was full of suspense and inventive crime by technology and a great introduction to the team. Graveyard of the Atlantic (#2 in the series) had a great setting, changes to the team, and some pretty traumatic events which explain a lot of what the team is experiencing in The Fourth Reich. Well-written and full of suspense and interesting characters, these books keep me on the edge of my seat waiting for the next installment. * * * *
It’s very easy to participate in my Mystery Monday meme. Just post a review of your latest mystery read on your own site as your Monday post, and then a comment on my post with a link to yours. Drag or copy my meme logo and add it to your post along with these few rules. Simplicity itself! I look forward to learning about more great mysteries to add to my ever-growing list of To Be Read.