Author: Campbell Jefferys
Publisher: Arima Publishing,
ISBN:  978-1-84549-333-2

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Where did all the Nazis go?  The young died in the field and the top brass got theirs at Nuremberg, but hundreds of Nazis just vanished.  Since science assures us people don’t just go up in smoke, we have to wonder how they escaped.  Hunter by Campbell Jefferys gives us a shocking answer.

Eric Messer is living the teenage hell.  He has had to leave his friends to go to a new school where chasing him is a class sport.  His dad is a real jerk and his mom is clueless to how miserable he is.  To top it all off, he has to earn the money for a surfboard on his own.

He begins doing yard work and soon meets two very interesting old people.  Christian Baum has hired Eric to help in his war room, a room dedicated to the glory of the German army.  If that isn’t strange enough, he is overly interested in another client of Eric’s, Peter Fischer.

Fischer doesn’t hide his disgust for the Nazis, but is there something behind his overly strong objections?  Baum thinks so and wants Eric to spy for him to figure out who Fischer really was in WWII.  Who can Eric trust, Fischer or Baum?

The story itself is interesting, but the telling is limp and rather colorless.  Jefferys does well presenting the tale of the anguished teenager, but his connecting of Baum and Fischer leaves something to be desired.  Jefferys does use past remembrances in the book to tell about Fischer’s war experience, but not to create a relationship between them in the past which would explain Baum’s obsession with Fischer.  Baum’s vendetta seems to come out of the blue and leaves the reader wondering what he missed.  It is good and could potentially have been great, but failed to reach the mark.

 However, this story is based on fact.  After WWII, many countries sponsored intelligent Nazis, ones they felt would add to the brain trust of their country, in immigrating.  Australia, where the action of this story takes place, was one of those countries and the government protected these Nazis.  In 1987, the Menzies Inquiry was set up to hunt out these war criminals and bring them to justice.  By 1992, 800 cases were still being considered, 27 of which could have went to trial.  In the end, Australia chose to protect the old secrets and not turn the men over for trial.

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