Monday, August 8, 2011

{review} the boys from brazil

Ira Levin The Boys from Brazil (1976)


I was so pleased to learn (via random jottings) of the reissue of Ira Levin's works, and even more happy to see that they were out on Kindle. I immediately snapped up The Boys from Brazil since I had LOVED TO EXCESS The Stepford Wives {REVIEW}. 

Levin puts together driven, vivid, cinematic action, filled with sudden shocks and twists and turns in their plotting. The Boys from Brazil is completely gripping, not least because it relies on a fascinating blend of fictional and factual characters and events. 

The hero Yakov Liebermann - based on Simon Wiesenthal, the legendary Nazi hunter - receives a tip that Dr Josef Mengele, the Angel of Death of Auschwitz (who, in real life, escaped justice) has put in place a plan to "fulfill the destiny of the Aryan race". The informant is killed before he can elaborate, but it appears that 94 men who are all aged between 64 and 66 years old will die on specific dates over the next two years. 

Liebermann must uncover these victims' identities. What links these deaths, scattered over so many different countries? Why are their deaths of consequence? Is this somehow bound up with Mengele's horrific 'research' at Auschwitz on hereditary characteristics? And why do so many of the victims have... no, mustn't spoil it.

This is a brilliant mystery from a master of the trade. I love these older style thrillers where technology takes a backseat to plain old-fashioned gumshoe work and brilliant intuition. It makes me want to re-read The Day of the Jackal, a pile of Robert Ludlum thrillers (though he makes my head hurt) and wallow in some John Le Carré while I'm at it. 

Rating: 10/10.
If you liked this...

The Day of the Jackal  The Bourne Identity: A Novel The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

2 comments:

  1. I love this one! I think I've read all of Levin's novels except This Perfect Day. He's really a master of insidious psychological creep.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "master of insidious psychological creep": you've captured Levin perfectly. I'm desperate to read the rest now.

    ReplyDelete

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