Author: Robert Neff

Publisher: Old Stone Press

ISBN: 978-1-938462-25-2

A page turner of a thriller!

This original novel focusses on everyday humanity of people caught up in the conflicts of WWIIÜber Alles has a plot and characters living through the turmoil of the events that lead up to Hitler’s political aims in dominating Europe. The author finely draws out how many with upward mobility and sophisticated lives were terminated when the holocaust agenda of the Nazi’s rose to dominate the domestic agenda after 1938, the time when Germany was put on a war footing.

Neff’s two lead characters are our guides through this thrilling drama. One, Dieter is a Polish Jew with musical talent as a pianist, but has low self esteem. He plays in a local tavern where students hang out. There he comes to the attention of Sofie, an adventurous young woman who has many opportunities and advantages in life due to her father’s rank as a career General in Hitler’s war cabinet. Sofie’s character is drawn from a fictional angle. She is a protagonist serving as our guide into the inner machinations of Hitler and his deputies, Göring, Himmler and Heydrich’s despotic minds that orchestrated the holocaust.

Sophie is the author’s muse of his musical imagination, taking us into the inner circles of Europe’s jazz scene and its major influencers: the gypsy jazz guitarist, Django Reinhart, Chanteuse, Josephine Baker, Berlin’s counter culture icon Marlene Dietrich and jazz violinist, Stephane Grappelli. Nevertheless, we hear the ominous dissonance of the Gestapo working covertly, spying on Sophie and Dieter, building a dossier designed to entrap them.

The author’s sequencing of the story moves like jazz, creatively, descriptively and con troppo between vignettes. There are hidden conversations, spying, suspicions, lies, murder, hasty retreats, a daring escape and jazz in locations in Berlin, Prague, Paris, Lodz and London. As in any good thriller, there’s a series of inevitable demises as Sophie and Dieter attempt to escape danger. Sophie’s privilege and singing career in Paris may not provide immunity. Dieter’s adoption by a renowned Romani doctor proves futile as he was deported to Theresienstadt, the notorious concentration camp that housed artists and musicians, which provided a showcase for Nazi PR. The war that threw them together, may tear them apart.

Readers of history are sure to enjoy the author’s meticulous details. As a thriller, readers will find much to intrigue. As a love story it captivates. Über Alles is a page turner of a book!