While exploring a flooded mine shaft in Sweden, seven hundred feet below the surface, cave diver Erik Hall, finds a well preserved body holding an ankh, the Egyptian symbol for eternal life. The press appears and for a few days the story is a sensation. Erik contacts Don Titelman, a psychiatrist and expert in religious symbols and Nazi history, wanting to meet with him to discuss his finds. Don finally decides to visit with Erik, but arrives at his home only to find him brutally murdered. The police, of course, decide that Don is the murderer and promptly arrest him. Attorney, Eva Strand, appears on the scene to defend Don. Unexpectedly, the Swedish Security Service takes over the case and transfer Don and Eva to Stockholm, but they are taken to a villa outside of the city. They manage to escape and this begins their frantic chase across Europe to understand what’s going on. Anything more and this brilliantly layered story will be ruined for the reader. The plot twists and turns need to be surprises.
Don Titelman is an anti-hero. Emotionally scarred by his Jewish grandmother’s accounts of the horrible medical experiments performed on her by Nazi doctors, he becomes a drug addict. Since he is a medical doctor he has an unending supply of all mood changing drugs and pops handfuls in every situation. Much of the time he seems to just go with the flow, and at times things seem surreal. Unlike most adventure mysteries where the reader is sure the hero will triumph in the end, in this book a successful conclusion is always in doubt.
Jan Wallentin is Swedish so the locale has a nice authentic feel. The story grabs you at the beginning and won’t let go. I couldn’t put it down and stayed up reading way too late. This book is not meant to cross over into the teen market, it is meant for adults.
NetGalley review Publication date 5.24.12