The Keeper, The Paperback – 20 May 1999
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PAPERBACK - Some creasing and other signs of handling/storage. Pages clean and in good condition. Available by email for queries.
Top customer reviews
The downside of this book is definitely the atrocious work - or lack of it - done by the editors. I totally agree with the other reviewer about the mix-up of the dates - how could any editor possibly have let such glaring errors get by? For example, we are told on several occasions that Maggie (Jack's girlfriend)has been living with him for 22 years - yet she is only 34!!! Also, in parts the grammar was pretty bad - Maister, who is a German living in the U.S.A., uses expressions usually found in native Irish speakers like confusing the verbs "bring" and "take". All of this was very annoying and spoilt what was otherwise a good story with an unexpected twist at the end.
I enjoyed that part of the book, about half of it. The West Cork missing person part that is, which would have made a nice book of about 200 pages.
But the author obviously wanted more pages, more contents and some international appeal.
Thus he introduced the nazis (always good baddies), the Jewish nazi-hunters a la Wiesenthal (hello "Odessa-File"), the IRA and Arab terrorists (a passing mention at least is compulsory, hello Jack Higgins and Tom Clancy), Baader-Meinhof (again compulsory, hello "Die Hard") and the Irish government (even more compulsory due to the tribunals ...).
With these introductions the story becomes annoyingly bad.
The author whirls through history with a disregard for dates that is amazing. Just one example: Maggie is 34, the date is 1998, year of birth thus established at around 1964. But she is an orphan, her father went to the Russian front in 1942 and went missing there, her mother was shot by the nazis for helping jews ... frozen embryo??? Her personal timeline is as crooked as it can get ...
The historical facts are haywire as well: Josef's father (a Jewish tailor) travels to Berlin from Poland to strike a deal, then is bundled off with his whole family and gassed immediately. This "final solution" would have been only in place in a time when travelling from Poland to Berlin would have been impossible for a Jewish family.
Add to this small details like the Baader-Meinhof character's overt nazism (I guess that's why they called themselves "Red Army"), muddled-up histories of the characters (who served in the Foreign Legion, who founded Girundbach?), stereotyped names and blunders like the banker's wife (she, being German, is called Ethel and asks her husband what national-socialists are ...) and you have moments where you simply sit there and shout "this is bad writing!"
And, to be blunt, you do not care whether characters live or die in the end.
The solution to the riddle "Who is the Keeper and why is he hiding?" is plain to see after about 150 pages. No surprises there. I only kept reading to see how much more blunders the author would make, how much more stereotyped names I could discover ... and to find out whether the author will manage to surprise me. He did not.
This mish-mash of the "Odessa-File" and assorted thrillers never gets off the ground, never leaves you breathless. Even the Phil Rickman'esque priest and his apocalyptic midsummer service seem to be a pastiche. Assorted quotes from the scriptures are strewn in without purpose - maybe a nod to "Pulp Fiction"? I don't think so ...
The head nazi, his henchmen and some helpers get away in the end, so does the Jewish vigilante ... potential for a follow-up, certainly. Please, Gareth O'Callaghan, resist this temptation!