From Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com
“So much has been written in the realm of fiction concerning holocaust survivors that I didn’t expect anything unique when I picked up a copy of Allen Malnak’s debut haunting thriller, Hitler’s Silver Box. Was I in for quite a surprise!
The fictionalized story follows Dr. Bruce Starkman and his uncle Max Bloomberg, a survivor of the Theresienstadt concentration camp. While Max was in the camp, and owing to his silversmith skills, he was commanded to craft a small silver box that was to be given to Hitler as a present from his hideous henchmen. Apparently, the box was to be used to hide some extremely important Nazi documents. Most horrendous was that the silver Max used was extracted from the teeth of the thousands of Jews that were slaughtered by these barbarians.
As the yarn unravels, we learn that Bruce, after both his parents had died when he was a young lad, had a very close relationship with his uncle. Bruce is extremely distraught when he receives a phone call from his uncle’s attorney and is informed that Max had died and his body transported to a non-Jewish funeral home, where he was cremated.
According to Bruce, all of these details were very much out of character, as his uncle was an orthodox Jew and cremation is strictly forbidden under Jewish law. He is also dumbfounded when he discovers that the death certificate didn’t contain any clear cause of death. Apparently, there were needle punctures and bruises on his uncle’s body and furthermore, someone claiming to be the medical examiner, completely by-passed performing an autopsy. Another troubling element was that his uncle left money and written instructions concerning the care of his dog that he knew was already dead and buried. Something surely didn’t add up. To complicate matters, Bruce believes he is being followed.
While all of this is materializing, Bruce finds himself in the middle of a relationship breakup with a smart beautiful woman who unfortunately becomes enmeshed in his troubles and, after disappearing for a few days, is found dead. Is there a connection between his uncle and girlfriend’s deaths?
Determined to find out what is going on, Bruce comes across his uncle’s personal journal concerning his prison experiences in the Theresienstadt concentration camp, some fifty years ago-something he had never discussed with him during his lifetime. Also discovered is a white manilla envelope with a crude, yellowed map with names he didn’t recognize. And what really shakes up Bruce is his uncle’s note mentioning that if he should find the envelope, he would already be dead. Poring over the personal journal, Bruce uncovers more about the mysterious box and what it contains, particularly, as stated by his uncle, “the thought that he was actually reproducing the dreaded swastikas on a present for the fiend whose grandiose goal was the total destruction of my people.”
Half way through the book Bruce meets up with an attractive aggressive Israeli woman, Miriam, who works for security in the Israeli Embassy in Paris. Upon learning what Bruce is up to concerning his uncle’s silver box and the secret document therein contained, Miriam insists on helping him track it down. The couple find their way to the Czech Republic and at the same time they are being hunted down by a bunch of nasty and savage neo-Nazis killers bent on finding the box and the document before Bruce and Miriam have the opportunity to destroy it. Let the games begin!
What really sticks out in this novel is that Malnak serves up just the right balance of nonstop chills and thrills. His scenes are crystal clear, permitting the reader to picture every detail, as he deftly weaves together a plot with unexpected twists and turns that never gets boring, thus providing great entertainment. It is a novel that it isn’t as if you can’t put the book down, but rather you don’t dare put it down as readers are hurtled toward a chilling climax replete with plenty of action. In the end, Malnak has succeeded in creating a great intoxicating and breathtaking read that will keep you up at night.”
—Reviewed By Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com