on 23 January 2013
A really good story and although part of it involved details of the horrific events at Dachau...I managed to read it without having nightmares...because it was touched with humanity too. Although I guessed the answer to the problem quite early on, it did not detract from the story. Indeed if anything, the end was a bit of a wet squib really - the only negative comment I have. I enjoyed the use of parallel chapters present time/ past. If you are sensitive, do not let the nazi symbolism shown on the front page put you off
Dinallo came up with a good plot concept for The German Suitcase and he succeeded in executing his plot in a manner that held my interest from beginning to end. While it has what I considered to be some flaws, they are not enough to keep me from recommending The German Suitcase to readers who enjoy WWII thrillers and mysteries.
As can be seen in the Book Description above, The German Suitcase revolves around a vintage suitcase that is pulled from the trash by a young female NY advertising copywriter brainstorming a campaign on her way to work. The account is for a Steinbach Luggage, the German answer to Louis Vuitton and Hermes. The problem with the vintage bag is that, like Steinbach's CEO, it is a Holocaust survivor, as evidenced by the name and other personal data painted on it. The holocaust survivor turns out to be an 89 year-old member of NY's Jewish aristocracy, a prominent philanthropist and surgeon. When he gives his consent, the documents found inside the suitcase piques the interest of a NY Times reporter, whose investigation begins to unravel a devastating secret that has been locked away since the day Dachau was liberated.
In executing this plot, Dinallo's does a nice job in using an alternate chapter approach, in which one chapter takes place in the present and the next in past (circa 1944-1945). While all of the chapters held my interest, I was particularly captivated by "the past" chapters, in which Dinallo very effectively creates a vivid "you are there" atmosphere (without being too graphic) as well as characters that are well-developed, credible and interesting.
I deducted one star from my rating because: (1) I felt that Dinallo did just an okay job in creating characters that were anything more than serviceable and (2) I had some minor credibility issues with the way Dinallo concluded the "past" and "present-day" chapters.
Besides being a book that kept me turning the pages at a pretty fast pace (despite the few flaws mentioned above), Dinallo deserves credit for delving into some weighty issues such as: What is a war crime? What is guilt? and finally asks if a lifetime of mostly good deeds can make up for past acts of evil?
My bottom line is: Give The German Suitcase a read. I think you'll be glad that you did.
on 6 March 2013
Not really my normal read, but it kept my attention from start to finish like a good wartime movie. The suitcase was a very clever link to the story told in the present and the past. In the past a tale of love and extreme hardship during the Nazi war years, in the present business and ethics. It also deals with some moral issues related to the Holocaust, in that you cannot tar everyone with the same brush, some people are different and do not conform to their label. Recommended