Voices of the Dead takes some brave steps into a difficult period of history and actually sees the book focus on two periods of time: both the Second World War and the 1970s. As a child, Harry was sent to Dachau. He managed to escape but lost so many of those he loved and his life was change irrevocably. Years later he has managed to overcome the tragedies he has faced and make a decent life for himself. However, when another tragedy befalls him he not only loses his beloved daughter but finds that the past has returned to haunt him yet again. The man who kills his daughter is a powerful diplomat – and he too has ties to Dachau.
Leonard has the key elements of an excellent mystery/thriller here – remarkable coincidences, a complex plot, a stubborn lead character who refuses to be browbeaten – and he uses them adeptly to put together an entertaining tale. Harry seems a relatively straightforward character early in the book but as the novel progresses you realise that he is much more complex and extreme events have shaped him to adapt a persona that is, in part, a protective facade. However, he demonstrates a remarkable capacity for love and caring.
When it comes to thrillers I like situations that are farfetched but not impossible, characters who are strong and even arrogant but not above a little weakness every now and again and a story that unfolds bit by bit to keep you enthralled and – where possible – a little bit of a twist to the end. Voices of the Dead delivers all of these and left me very satisfied with the conclusion.
Voices of the Dead was a very entertaining read, which – given some of the subject matter – is a feat in itself. I felt Leonard handled it with sensitivity borne of genuine respect for the history, rather than the callousness that can sometimes come from using true life events to simply add ‘shock value’ to a book. An all round good read from a writer who has an excellent command of action and dialogue within his work.This review was originally published on Book Bags and Cat Naps. I received a copy in exchange for my fair and honest review. I did not receive any additional compensation and all views are my own.