what evil lurks
The German, by Lee Thomas; Published by Lethe Press; Available in Paperback (2011)
The German is the first horror novel that I've reviewed for OutVisions, so I suppose I ought not be surprised that it is easily the most difficult book I've reviewed. True to genre, The German is full of rising tension and profoundly disturbing - but I wasn't prepared for it to disturb precisely because it is so focused on human experiences, with only the suggestion of supernatural influence. But the human hearts on display here are plenty shadowy enough.
Set in small town Texas in 1944, the story is told from three points of view. Tim Randall is on the cusp of adolescence, watching as the boys and men of his generation disappear to the battlefields of Europe. Ernst Lang is a refugee of sorts - once a soldier and nationalist thug in Weimar Germany, he fell afoul of the rising Nazi party (possibly because of his unwillingness to disguise his homosexuality...) and found his way to a quiet life in small town America. Tom Rabbit is a small town sheriff, a pillar of community life with perhaps too keen a commitment to personal ethics. All of their worlds are shattered when a rash of murders begin among young men in the town - the bodies are mutilated and marked with taunting notes written in German. As the killer baffles police, anyone different becomes a suspect, whether the difference is where they’re from or who they love...
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