Author:Rich DiSilvio

Publisher:DV Books of Digital Vista, Inc.

ISBN:Paperback Print Edition ISBN-13: 978-0-9817625-7-9 Hardcover Print Edition ISBN-13: 978-0-9817625-8-6 Kindle Locations 19-24).

Faced at the outset with two confusingly conflicting first-person accounts of parachuting over Poland during World War II, the reader of Rich DiSilvio’s novel, My Nazi Nemesis, is duly warned early on not to take anything happening thereafter at face value. Good advice.

With Scheherazadian teasing of his 15-year-old daughter (remember, take nothing for granted), the paratrooper recounts, with a delightfully light touch, how he met, discussed politics in depth while being hunted by wolves and Germans, fell in love with, and produced a child with a lovely Soviet pilot named Veronika. Unfortunately, the pair was separated by the Nazis with Veronika being shipped off to Auschwitz.

At the point where the narrator of the tale till then is separated from the story, the first-person narrative is replaced with third-person past (a/k/a omniscient pov) story telling. Then follows an absolutely harrowing account of the Holocaust, retellings of which can never be too numerous, as reminders of the human race at its most heinous. Whether this might be a bit pungent for a teenager who was munching cream cheese and jelly sandwiches with milk is debatable. When the initial narrator returns to the scene, he reverts, actually mid-chapter, to his first-person story telling responsibilities only to give way to third-person omniscience in later scenes when he is present. In some literary circles, this shifting is called “head-bobbing.” I’ve never considered it felonious, but it can sometimes be distracting.

To summarize more of the story would constitute this review a spoiler. Suffice it to say that there’s never a dull moment as events are presented and later represented with important modifications. The story is painted on a global canvas reflecting the author’s firm grasp and meticulous research of many international locales.

Considering the chameleon-like quality of some of the principal characters, the author’s vivid depiction of them is especially admirable. He also has rich reserves of vocabulary and imagery resulting in fresh and vibrant similes and metaphors. For example: “A faint glow illuminated the open meadow as a sliver of the crescent moon pierced through the undulating clouds, like a scalpel cutting cotton.”

Occasionally, however, the author’s addiction to adjectives spins out of control. The following is regrettably fairly typical, principally in the Holocaust accounts, where excesses can surely be forgiven:

He yanked her into his clammy chest as her forearms pressed deep into his sweaty belly, her face being only centimeters away from his rank and hairy pectorals.” Also: “…the gooey mixture of slimy jelly, pasty cheese, and salivary bread.”

The author is similarly fond of using brand names, which are useful in establishing context, time, and place, but can be overdone, as in:

Jack popped open a can of Black Label and lit up a Camel as Betty slipped a Newport cigarette into her mouth. She leaned toward Jack, who flicked his Zippo…”

At other points, the author’s grasp of tense (past v. present v. past perfect) is less than perfect.

The author could/should have been better served in the editing department. Errors infect even parts of the book that are supplementary to the main text: “Any resemblance…are (sic) entirely coincidental.”

The indiscretions range from the grammatical,“…on between Alois and I?” “…it is to them that I take my hat off to” to spelling, fagot v. faggot, Negros v. Negroes (both used on same page), brake v. break, you v. your, bugged v. buggered, their v. they’re. All of which could be forgiven but for the reference to the Queen of Warner Brothers as “Betty Davis.”

These quibbles aside, for a story that will keep readers on their toes and provide them with a well-researched and vivid account of one of worst eras in human history, time will be well spent with My Nazi Nemesis.