Saturday, August 4, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Don't Ever Get Old by Daniel Friedman

Warning: This is not a book for my usual Christian fiction readers. Not because it isn't an interesting book and not because it isn't as inspirational as the books I usually review. I loved it. But, it involves some pretty ugly murders and what I think may be typical police language, including the four-letter words not found in family fiction.

Okay. So if you're still reading you may wonder why I read the book in the first place. Actually, it was by mistake. I get most of my books free from several Christian publishers and when I received an email about this book, I assumed the message was from one of the regular publishers. Then, by the time I figured out it wasn't, it was too late. I had to read the rest of the book to find out what happens.

This story is about an eighty-seven year old Jewish retired policeman by the name of Baruch Schatz, who  goes by Buck Schatz. The advanced age and the Jewish angle are both important because Buck and his friend Jim Wallace were prisoners of war in World War II.

On his deathbed, Jim Wallace confesses to Buck that he had accepted a bribe from Heinrich Ziegler, the SS officer in charge of the POW camp where Buck and Jim where held. After the war, Buck searched for Ziegler to get revenge for the way he had been treated. Jim, while working as a guard, allowed Ziegler to pass through a road check for a gold brick. Before his death, Jim asks Buck for forgiveness.

The rest of the book is about Buck and his grandson Tequila tracking down Ziegler, who is now living in the United States. Tequila and Jim's son-in-law, Norris Feely, as well as Jim's pastor, Larry Kind, are mostly interested in what gold may still be in Ziegler's possession, but Buck would still like to find him for revengeful reasons. Buck, who has been retired from the police force in Memphis for more than thirty years, knows nothing about computers and the latest investigative techniques. But, he still has his instincts for finding criminals.

The gold worth millions is an incentive for all sorts of evil human behavior and this takes the story off in that direction. But, Buck is not distracted by the treasure.

As a story teller, I've worried about making my main character too old out of fear of limiting my readers to people of a certain age. But as I read this book I realized it didn't matter how old the person is. What matters is his or her character. Buck is a one you'll not soon forget.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255. 

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