A Night of Long Knives

by Lisa Kirchner

In this action-packed mystery novel capturing the terror of Nazi rule in 1930s Germany, journalist Hannah Vogel finds herself in dire straits, to say the least.

When the novel (the second in a series) opens, Vogel has been on the run after having kidnapped her adopted son from Nazi Ernst Röhm, who claims to be the boy’s father. While Hannah and the kid, Anton, are traveling from South America to Switzerland, Röhm’s cronies intercept their zeppelin and kidnap and separate them. Luckily for Hannah, the kidnapping takes place right before the Night of Long Knives—when Hitler orders a mass political execution, including of Röhm. Hannah escapes but must now find Anton. ~Cantrell knows suspense, and in Hannah Vogel she has created a compelling character. The first-person narration draws you right into the action, and pairing that with graphic, visceral descriptions makes this book a hard one to put down. Hannah’s voice flits between that of a reporter—indifferent and cold while stating horrifying facts—and that of a woman surging with empathy, even for her enemies. Through it all, you can feel her intense, unrelenting fear and dread. Beyond Hannah’s closest confidants, the characters are flat, sterile. But instead of taking away from the novel, this seems fitting, emphasizing the chilling dehumanization of the Third Reich.

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