Aaron Wiley’s mother didn’t survive Hitler’s reign of terror, his father has died, his last remaining relative is his uncle Max Weill, still living in Germany. Max was a good physician until he was shipped to Auschwitz and forced to assist Dr. Otto Shramm in his cruel experiments. Max survived, but he put aside medicine to hunt Nazis, seeking some meagre justice for their crimes.
By 1962 Max is ill and tired. Aaron, worried about his uncle, took leave from his job as a CIA analyst to spend time trying to persuade Max to retire, to take better care of himself. But for Max hunting war criminals isn’t a job, it is a calling. He wants to hand off his files to the nephew who is like a son to him but Aaron is a new generation, not so inclined to dedicate his life to seeking aging Nazis. Then Max sees Shramm, a man who supposedly died years earlier, the shock results in a heart attack and soon after he dies.
At first reluctant, Aaron starts sifting the information painstakingly gathered by Max, and is soon convinced that Shramm is indeed alive. Aided by a reporter and the Israelis (efficient Nazi hunters in their own right), and against the wishes of the CIA, Max, a desk jockey with no field experience, goes to Argentina to catch the elusive Nazi. The path to the father might just be through Shramm’s beautiful daughter, Hanna.
Dark secrets, moral ambiguity, and a hell of a good story.— Deon Stonehouse
November 2019 Indie Next List
“Joseph Kanon has produced his best effort yet, bringing us along on a mission to the Buenos Aires of 1962 to hunt down a reputedly deceased Nazi concentration camp doctor. With the backdrop of the earlier elaborate capture of Eichmann, this one is a homemade operation reluctantly carried out by the nephew of a camp survivor (the eponymous accomplice) and involving the CIA and Mossad. The Accomplice explores the life of a socialite in Buenos Aires, the conflicting emotions of the target’s daughter and the reluctant spy, the limits of familial loyalty and of trust, and the danger of playing all sides. Emotional zigs and zags leave the reader spellbound as the cat and mouse game closes in on the capture of a detestable unrepentant Nazi.”
— Darwn Ellis, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT
“Gripping and authentic…Kanon’s imagination flourishes [and] the narrative propulsion is clear. A thoroughly satisfying piece of entertainment that extends a tentacle into some serious moral reflection.” —The New York Times Book Review
The “master of the genre” (The Washington Post) Joseph Kanon returns with a heart-pounding and intelligent espionage novel about a Nazi war criminal who was supposed to be dead, the rogue CIA agent on his trail, and the beautiful woman connected to them both.
Seventeen years after the fall of the Third Reich, Max Weill has never forgotten the atrocities he saw as a prisoner at Auschwitz—nor the face of Dr. Otto Schramm, a camp doctor who worked with Mengele on appalling experiments and who sent Max’s family to the gas chambers. As the war came to a close, Schramm was one of the many high-ranking former-Nazi officers who managed to escape Germany for new lives in South America, where leaders like Argentina’s Juan Perón gave them safe harbor and new identities. With his life nearing its end, Max asks his nephew Aaron Wiley—an American CIA desk analyst—to complete the task Max never could: to track down Otto in Argentina, capture him, and bring him back to Germany to stand trial.
Unable to deny Max, Aaron travels to Buenos Aires and discovers a city where Nazis thrive in plain sight, mingling with Argentine high society. He ingratiates himself with Otto’s alluring but wounded daughter, whom he’s convinced is hiding her father. Enlisting the help of a German newspaper reporter, an Israeli agent, and the obliging CIA station chief in Buenos Aires, he hunts for Otto—a complicated monster, unexpectedly human but still capable of murder if cornered. Unable to distinguish allies from enemies, Aaron will ultimately have to discover not only Otto, but the boundaries of his own personal morality, how far he is prepared to go to render justice.
“With his remarkable emotional precision and mastery of tone” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), Joseph Kanon crafts another compelling and unputdownable thriller that will keep you breathlessly turning the pages.
About the Author
Joseph Kanon is the Edgar Award–winning author of The Accomplice, Defectors, Leaving Berlin, Istanbul Passage, Los Alamos, The Prodigal Spy, Alibi, Stardust, and The Good German, which was made into a major motion picture starring George Clooney and Cate Blanchett. He lives in New York City.
Praise for The Accomplice
“Gripping and authentic . . . Kanon’s imagination flourishes [and] the narrative propulsion is clear. A thoroughly satisfying piece of entertainment that extends a tentacle into some serious moral reflection.” —Joseph Finder in The New York Times Book Review
"Fueled by brilliant scenes of dialogue...Kanon’s latest sophisticated thriller is teeming with suspense."—Kirkus
“[A] novel of historical espionage and intrigue.” —Wall Street Journal
“[Kanon] has an astonishing talent for revealing character, age, type and even appearance through dialogue alone.” —Lee Child, The Guardian, Book of the Year
“Buenos Aires in the 1960s, home to remnants of the Third Reich in exile, is brought chillingly to life. . . . an engrossing read.” —The Financial Times
“Kanon is on adventurous form in his ninth novel, with echoes of Hitchcock’s Notorious… chilling.” —The Times (London)
“Packed with atmosphere and well-developed plot. . . .a splendid, cerebral read, full of moral and emotional depth.” —Alexander McCall Smith in the New Statesman
“Kanon excels with searching examinations of moral concerns—complicity, guilt, retribution—without ever allowing the pace to flag. The result is that rare thing: an espionage novel which quickens the pulse while providing food for thought.” —The Herald
PRAISE FOR THE WORKS OF JOSEPH KANON:
“Kanon [is] an intelligent writer who produces satisfyingly plotted novels that appeal to readers with brains.” —Philip Kerr, The New York Times Book Review
“With his remarkable emotional precision and mastery of tone, Kanon transcends the form. In its subtly romanticized treatment of compromised lives, this book is even better than his terrific previous effort, Leaving Berlin (2015). A blend of Spy vs. Spy and sibling vs. sibling (not since le Carré's A Perfect Spy has there been a family of spooks to rival this one), Kanon reaffirms his status as one of the very best writers in the genre.” —Kirkus (starred review)
“Joseph Kanon’s thought-provoking, pulse-pounding historical espionage thriller [is] stuffed with incident and surprise. . . . Mr. Kanon, author now of seven top-notch novels of period political intrigue, conveys the bleak, oppressive, and creepy atmosphere of occupied Berlin in a detailed, impressive manner. . . . Leaving Berlin is a mix of tense action sequences, sepia-tinged reminiscence, convincing discourse and Berliner wit.” —Wall Street Journal
“Fascinating . . . [Kanon] is a master of the genre. . . [The] roller-coaster plot will keep you guessing until the final page.”
— The Washington Post
"Joseph Kanon continues to demonstrate that he is up there with the very best...of spy thriller writers...Kanon writes beautifully, superbly...he is the master of the shadows of the era."
— The Times
"The critical stock of Joseph Kanon is high, and Defectors will add further lustre to his reputation...There are pleasing echoes here of the “entertainments” of Graham Greene."
— The Guardian