I have a friend who listens to audiobooks. He claims he doesn't
have the time to read. I tell him that he's just picking the wrong
books to rea...er, I mean, listen to. He's not reading books like
THE LAST NAZI. Listening to THE LAST NAZI would take too long.
You'll read it faster than anything you've read in quite awhile.
You won't be able to put it down, eat, or sleep ... ah well, you
won't be able to do a lot of things. It'll also scare the sleep
right out of you.
My initial thought when beginning THE LAST NAZI was that Stan
Pottinger was revisiting territory previously mapped out by Ira
Levin: ROSEMARY'S BABY meets THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL. There's a
husband and wife who desperately want to be pregnant, and a Nazi on
the run (who is the last Nazi, actually) has a diabolical scheme
for implementing Hitler's Final Solution. This might sound a bit
familiar. Don't worry. THE LAST NAZI is totally original.
The wife of the married couple noted above is Melissa Gale. Gale is
an attorney for the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Special
Investigations that, among other things, hunts Nazis. The last Nazi
who Gale is hunting is the mysterious and elusive Adalwolf.
Adalwolf is rumored to be the foster son of The Third Reich's Dr.
Josef Mengele, last seen polluting the waters of Chile with his
dying breaths. Gale has come close to capturing Adalwolf on
numerous occasions, and as THE LAST NAZI opens, she thinks she has
him. Remember, however, this is the beginning of the book, not the
Adalwolf and Gale have been doing a deadly dance for years, and
Gale has thought she has had him on numerous occasions, only to
have him slip from her grasp. Adalwolf, for his part, has decided
that it will be only fitting to utilize Gale as his unwilling,
unwitting instrument by which Hitler's goal of the total
extermination of the Jewish race will be accomplished. Adalwolf's
plan is horrifically ingenious, and has the added effect of raising
a moral dilemma. By the time you finish the final page of THE LAST
NAZI you will be mentally out of breath, yet wishing that this fine
novel had another 300 pages to go.
Pottinger excels in so many areas that it is very difficult to pick
one that stands out from another. My favorite is his uncanny
ability to explain complex and complicated medical matters in a way
that even someone who was totally lost on the first day of biology
class (beginning with the curriculum after roll was called) can
understand. Pottinger, through one of his characters, presents a
"comic-book model" of how a virus invades a person's system and
what forces the immune system marshals to expel it. Pottinger's
skill in this regard is not what makes THE LAST NAZI a keeper,
however. The man is a marvel at quietly threading the plot of his
thrillers with social and medical issues that create real-world
dilemmas for the individuals involved.
The result is a thriller that ratchets the suspense level up with
each rapidly turning page, while simultaneously creating a
heartwarming effect that provides an element of hope and beauty in
the face of irrational hatred. Pottinger with THE LAST NAZI
continues his rapid rise up the 'A' List of thriller writers with
this unforgettable, "impossible to put down" novel.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 22, 2011