Lost Kin by Steve Anderson
Occupied Munich, 1946: Irina, a Cossack refugee, confesses to murdering a GI, but American captain Harry Kaspar doesn't buy it. As Harry scours the devastated city for the truth, it leads him to his long-lost German brother, Max, who returned to Hitler's Germany before the war.
Max has a questionable past, and he needs Harry for the cause that could redeem him - rescuing Irina's stranded clan of Cossacks who have been disowned by the Allies and are now being hunted by Soviet death squads - the cold-blooded upshot of a callous postwar policy.
As a harsh winter brews, the Soviets close in and the Cold War looms, Harry and Max desperately plan for a risky last-ditch rescue on a remote stretch of the German-Czech border. A mysterious visitor from Max's darkest days shadows them. Everyone is a suspect, including Harry's lover, Sabine, and Munich detective Hartmut Dietz - both of whom have pledged to help. But before the Kaspar brothers can save the innocent victims of peace, grave secrets and the deep contempt sown during the war threaten to damn them all.
Review by Brittany:
I requested this book on NetGalley because it appealed to the part of me that has been completely invested in WWII fiction. I have grown to love that time period and pretty much any book that deals with it.
It turns out that this book is actually part of a series, which I can happily say I didn't know. I love when books are part of a series but don't necessarily rely on the previous books to make sense. I can recognize that my reading experience might have been enhanced by reading the other books in the series, but I don't feel like I missed out on anything or fell behind in any part of the current story. It is primarily with Harry and Max's relationship that the extra reading would have been helpful.
There were parts of this story that moved a little slowly for me. In times when there was slower action, the story took on more dialogue, and I got a little lost in the terminology and the technicalities of the time period. I'm by no means an expert, so that did make some of the reading challenging for me.
I also wouldn't have called Harry and Sabine lovers. Reading that in the blurb seems to indicate a passionate affair of some sort, but to me it felt more like a quickly developed, one-time thing. I didn't buy into the relationship much at all, which was a bit of a letdown for me since I love the romance part of most books.
By the end of the book, I couldn't tell if things ended happily or not. The main goal for both Harry and Max was to rescue the Cossacks, but in the end that was tricky to do and only some of the people could be saved. While I guess that means there was some happy here, it definitely isn't a book that leaves the reader feeling as if everything is complete.
Overall, I found this book a bit difficult to read. It seems fairly historically accurate, with just enough fiction thrown in, but that makes it a bit dry at times. If this time period appeals to you, it's definitely worth picking up one of Anderson's novels.