By Stacey Longo
Leonard Rosen’s The Tenth Witness is an intriguing and at times heartbreaking mystery surrounding the family history of both our protagonist, Henri Poincaré, and his new girlfriend, Liesel Kraus. The book takes us through the twisted path of their relationship and Henri’s search to learn more about the life of a man he considered an uncle, Isaac Kahane.
The Kraus family will make you as uncomfortable as they make Henri. With an estate populated with artifacts stripped from history, references to “superior bloodlines,” and a warehouse in Dachau, there’s enough here to make any visitor uneasy. When Henri attends Isaac Kahane’s funeral and learns a little more about Isaac’s years during the Holocaust, he decides to investigate. The problem? Isaac was once forced to work as a prisoner under horrific conditions at a steel mill owned by Otto Kraus, Liesel’s father.
As Henri digs deeper into the history of what really went on Drütte, a steel mill and concentration camp, he finds a record of slave labor and cruelty. This goes against an affidavit published in Otto Kraus’s biography, signed by ten Drütte prisoners, affirming that Kraus was a good man. Henri begins tracking down these witnesses, only to find that they are dying off at an alarming rate. Evidence that Nazi Germany was still flourishing during the late ‘70s arises throughout the novel, and the reader can empathize with Henri’s despair and disgust as he recognizes the evil in his fellow man and even himself.
The Tenth Witness will capture your curiosity from the first page. A captivating, compelling mystery, you’ll find yourself riding shotgun with Henri Poincaré, a bit afraid of what you might find out next, but unable to stop until you unearth the whole truth, no matter how disturbing.
The Tenth Witness is scheduled to be released on Sept. 13.