Review: Voices of the Dead by Peter Leonard
In Voices of the Dead, Peter Leonard has created a gripping story of mystery and intrigue built on a framework of fate, coincidence and sheer happenstance. The incredible story of Harry Levin, his daughter, a Nazi SS officer and the confluence of events that brings them together on a full scale collision course thirty years after its beginning would have not been credible in the hands of a less gifted storyteller.
Leonard’s novel reads like a good old-fashioned, gritty crime drama in the tradition of Dashiell Hammett. Brief passages and small bits of dialogue flesh out characters in a way that paragraphs of exposition could not. For instance, our first introduction to Harry Levin shows- in the context of one brief altercation- that this man is a survivor. That first glimpse character foundation is what makes his later actions not only believable, but understandable.
The depth and realism of all the characters in Voices of the Dead gives an additional weight and truth to a plot-line that may seem, at first glance, too fantastic to be believable. However, Leonard pulls the whole seemingly convoluted stream of events together in such an interesting and entertaining way that by the time you’ve reached the final chapter you find yourself believing that the whole thing could very well have happened in real life- and it very well could have. In Voices of the Dead, Peter Leonard flips that old axiom “truth is stranger than fiction” on its side- leaving you to wonder just how much truth was the inspiration for this riveting tale of intrigue and reckoning.
On a personal note, I will admit I found myself having to get used to Leonard’s writing style. If you’ve never read his work before (and I had not) you may need to get used to his writing tempo, which can feel a bit staccato – at least until you get used to Leonard’s storyteller voice. It may not be an issue for every reader, but it was for me. In any case, like a great song that has to grow on you at first, I eventually picked up the beat and realized it was well worth the effort. I can’t recommend this one enough. A riveting, wild ride of a story, with enough twists and turns to keep you glued to the edge of your seat.
As an added bonus to those of you who enjoy Voices of the Dead as much as I did… there’s a sequel coming behind the January 17th release of this book. I- for one- can’t wait.
Review by, Brenda Seward
Simple Pleasures Books
Voices of the Dead by Peter Leonard and published by The Story Plant- and imprint of Random House releases on January 17, 2012.
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