New Novel Coming in Fall 2019: The Preserve

I’m excited to announce a new novel. This one’s been a long time coming, after repeated false starts. It began as a far different story nearly fifteen years ago and existed in various guises as I revised and sought a good home for it in vain and eventually threw it back in the drawer, then self-published it later for a short time (under a different title) only to banish it to the drawer for what I once understood as eternity.

The Big Island of Hawaii setting and some basics of story remain, but most is all new, completely revamped by yours truly with more blood, sweat and tears than I thought I still had and a good beer to celebrate. A key step was realizing that the oft-tormented but somehow always surviving Wendell Lett from my novel Under False Flags (2014) needed to be there no matter what, which meant moving things from the present era to the 1948 Territory of Hawaii. Wendell Lett never says die and neither did I!

Coming in Fall of 2019 from Skyhorse Publishing / Simon & Schuster. Oh, and I really like that cover.

Here’s the current blurb from the publisher:

A Heart-Racing Military Thriller Ripped from the Pages of History
Who will reap the rewards of war?
Hawaii, 1948

Troubled WWII hero turned deserter Wendell Lett desperately seeks a cure to his severe combat trauma, and The Preserve seems to be his salvation. Run by Lansdale, a mysterious intelligence officer, and Lett’s ambitious wartime XO Charlie Selfer, the secretive training camp promises relief from the terrors in his mind. Together with Kanani Alana, a tough-minded Hawaiian also looking for a new start at The Preserve, Lett begins to feel hopeful.

All illusions are shattered, though, when Lett discovers The Preserve’s true intentions—to rebuild him into a cold-blooded assassin. The deadly conspiracy runs deep, all the way to General Douglas MacArthur, and his refusal to cooperate is met with merciless punishment. His only hope is Kanani and her dangerous escape plan that would grant freedom from The Preserve—if he can hide while surviving the harsh wilderness of the Big Island.

Based on true events, The Preserve is a fast-paced historical thriller that will leave you breathless.

Published: My Translation of A Thousand Devils


I'm happy to announce that my translation of A Thousand Devils is out today — the second in Frank Goldammer’s bestselling Max Heller series.

In this historical crime thriller set among the ruins of postwar Dresden, a disturbing murder reveals a high-stakes conspiracy leading to the city’s all-powerful Soviet occupiers. Check out my Translation page for more.

Congrats Frank and Max!

Spring '18 Update: New Novel Translation and More

It's been a while since I've announced any news, so I'd like to update you on another aspect of my work. As some of you know, I also translate novels. 

I want to tell you about my latest translation, releasing May 1. It’s titled The Air Raid Killer in English and is the first in a series from German author Frank Goldammer featuring detective Max Heller. The publisher is AmazonCrossing, who have been performing amazing feats to bring more foreign fiction to English (and vice versa). Here’s the official dope:

As World War II ends, a killer’s game begins.
In the final days of the Nazi regime, with the historic city of Dresden on the brink of destruction, terrifying rumors spread about the Fright Man, a demonic killer who exploited the cover of a nighttime air raid siren to mutilate and kill a young nurse. Just as seasoned detective Max Heller begins investigating, the Fright Man kills again…

The investigation seems hopeless. Desperate refugees flood the streets, all of Heller’s resources are depleted, and his new boss is a ruthless SS officer. And like so many others, Heller and his wife, Karin, survive on meager rations while fearing for the lives of their sons at the front. But as tensions mount and enemy firebombs decimate the city, dangerous new clues come to light—and the determined Heller pursues a violent and twisting path to unmask a monster.

One thing I really admire about Max Heller is that he will stop at nothing, even when starving, even when under threat of official persecution or worse. The next in the series, A Thousand Devils, comes out this fall. You can order The Air Raid Killer through most bookstores and the ebook on Amazon, here.  

I’m excited about my recent translations, including The Honest Spy by Andreas Kollender, which came out last fall.

You can always find out the latest about my translation work on my Translation page. 


A quick word about my own writing: I was happy to hear that I’ll have a new novel published in the spring of 2019. I can’t reveal much more since it’s early days and the contract’s barely signed. But I can say that it features a favorite character from one of my other novels, is set in 1948 on the Big Island of Hawaii, and deals with mysterious and controversial real-life exploits during the postwar period in the Pacific. More about this in a future newsletter.


Lastly, meet the newest members of my crack in-house editorial team:

Monty and Trina

Thanks for reading!


PS: This update was taken from my latest newsletter. You can sign up for the mailing list here.

Out Today: My Translation of The Honest Spy

I translate fiction when I'm not writing my own stories. It's challenging yet rewarding work, and I feel lucky to get to do it. Today I'm happy to announce that my translation of Andreas Kollender's great historical thriller The Honest Spy is officially out today.

The story is based on real-life German hero Fritz Kolbe and is as relevant as ever these days. Read more about the actual Fritz Kolbe here or check out my Translation page for more about the novel. 

Congrats Andreas, and vielen Dank Fritz!

The True Yet Unknown Tragedy in Lost Kin: A Novel

Appeasing Stalin: Forced Repatriation After WWII

Grim rumors were spreading among Eastern Europeans stranded in the West at the end of World War II. Those repatriated back home to areas controlled by the Soviet Union were facing treason trials, mass lynchings, labor camps, executions. Word was, anyone who’d ended up in lands run by the Germans during the war was now considered highly suspect. Peasants, forced laborers, refugees, even POWs. To Soviet Leader Joseph Stalin, anyone touched by the West was contaminated. 

Yet the Western Allies kept sending them back to the Soviet Union. In one of the most horrific incidents, the British handed over some 18,000 Cossack peoples to Soviet authorities at the Judenburg collection point in Austria in the summer of 1945. The tragedy has been called the “Betrayal of the Cossacks” and the “Massacre of Cossacks at Lienz.” Faced with overwhelming numbers to send back, the British resorted to subterfuge, then brute force.

Betrayal of the Cossacks at Lienz, 1945. Artist: S.G. Korolkoff (

Roughly 50,000 Cossacks had ended up in Austria in May 1945, some of them tribes that had fought against the Soviets with the Germans and, with their families, retreated westward as the Third Reich collapsed. With the war ending, they now had nowhere to go. British army units intercepted many of the Cossacks near Lienz and interned them, cramming them into a canyon on the banks of the Drave River. The Cossacks surrendered without a fight. The British fed them and led them to believe they would be protected from undue retribution inflicted by the Soviet Army advancing well into Austria, only a few miles to the east. The Cossacks believed the promise. They dared feel something like comfort, like safety.

In late May the British, still pledging protection, disarmed the Cossacks’ couple thousand officers and generals and trucked them to the town of Judenburg, just over the Soviet lines. There the British handed them over. Many of the older officers had emigrated years before — during the Russian Civil War — and were not even Soviet citizens, so they were technically exempt. But the British did it anyway — to appease their wartime ally, “Uncle Joe” Stalin.

Repatriating the Cossack officers was only the start. The British operation had left thousands despairing in the canyon on the Drave — the woman and children, the elderly, the poor regular soldiers who were fathers, sons, brothers. And thousands of their beloved Cossack horses had come with them. Three days later, on June 1, British troops received orders to prod these helpless people at gunpoint into cattle cars and trucks. In the ensuing panic, the British soldiers bayoneted some. Ghastly scenes emerged. Many Cossacks committed suicide, or begged to be shot. The refugees started stabbing themselves, pounding themselves with rocks, whatever they could grab, leaping into the fast river if they could reach it. When the trucks came, people tried to break the British troops’ barrier, great mobs of children and old women — but only so they could jump into the river, off bridges, find the tools to kill themselves. Even after the trucks carrying them started off they leapt out, breaking their backs, or were run over, the trucks not stopping. It was mass hysteria, but not a brief mass hysteria. This played out over days. Similar mayhem was occurring across Southern Austria, involving Cossacks and many other Eastern Europeans.

No matter what the Cossacks did as soldiers, whether fighting to stay alive or even committing atrocities, it’s inexcusable that innocent woman and children should have had to suffer for it. The only sliver of hope in this sordid tale was that some in Lienz managed to escape, helped by British Tommies feeling the strain and looking the other way. A fictionalized group of these escaped Cossacks poses a crucial moral imperative in my recent novel Lost Kin, in which long-estranged brothers Harry and Max Kaspar reunite in war-torn 1946 Munich and resolve to rescue the refugees, who are in hiding but stranded, the Soviet Army hunting them down.

Such was the moral quagmire the Allies faced in the horrid aftermath of World War II in Europe. The tragic fate of these ill-fated refugees from Eastern Europe is rarely acknowledged to this day. Yet the forced repatriations to the Soviet Union are historical fact, and it happened to far more than Cossacks. By early 1947, the United States, Great Britain, and allies had returned nearly two and a half million refugees, forced laborers, and prisoners of war to the Soviet Union as agreed in the Yalta Conference. These people were sent back forcibly, without consideration of their individual wishes and genuine fears. Like those elderly Cossack officers, thousands of émigrés who had fled Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution and the Russian Civil War — well before WWII — were sent back to the Soviet Union they had opposed. People of Russian descent who never set foot in Russia were forcibly sent east as well.

As in Lienz, many of the repatriated were tricked into going or outright lied to. When that didn’t work, they were forced at gunpoint. The bloody sellout was already set in motion by the Unconditional Surrender of May 1945, when the so-called Soviet Repatriation Commissions were roaming Western Europe operated by agents of the NKVD and SMERSH. Sometimes the Soviet officials promised those returning that Stalin would give them amnesty, appealing to a yearning to reunite with family and loved ones. Yet after hearing the grim rumors to the contrary, many knew what would happen once Stalin's agents got to them — they would land in a Gulag, if they were lucky.

Click for Plattling Camp repatriation footage at

Click for Plattling Camp repatriation footage at

The forced repatriations continued, into 1946 and 1947. The Americans ran their own operations, notably at the former concentration camps at Dachau and at Plattling where thousands of Russians were brutally repatriated by US troops. As Nikolai Tolstoy reports in The Secret Betrayal (1977), American soldiers were left “visibly shamefaced” after one nighttime operation where they rousted terrified Russians from their beds at gunpoint shouting and wielding nightsticks and herded them into trucks and, hours later, handed over their prisoners to Soviet trains inside Bavarian woods at the Czech border. The American death march was soon reaping suicide and murder: “Before their departure from the rendezvous in the forest, many [US soldiers] had seen rows of bodies already hanging from the branches of nearby trees. On their return, even the SS men in a neighboring compound lined the wire fence and railed at them for their behavior. The Americans were too ashamed to reply.”

If there’s a lesson in this, perhaps it’s that we should always keep a careful watch on the victors no matter what evil has been defeated. We see it repeatedly, and certainly today, in war and in peace. Peace alone does not spare the innocent. 


Adapted from the afterword to Lost Kin


New Crime Noir Novella: Rain Down

Many of my books were finally published in the last two years, seemingly all at once. The truth is, these stories were years in coming after many revisions. Others won't make the cut and probably shouldn't.

The crime noir novella Rain Down always deserved a fair shot. So I'm happy to announce it just released as Rain Down (Kindle Single)

In Rain Down a nameless man, formerly homeless, goes back on the grim streets of Portland, Oregon to find his day laborer friend who's gone missing. More here

The story takes place in the Portland of 2009. I recently revised it and was surprised to see how much the city I know has changed in the last few years especially — many locations are long gone. But that's all part of the story, too. 

It's great to see this last one get released. Now it's time to get back to writing. 

Rain Down is published by Endeavour Media in London. It's currently available as a Kindle ebook in Amazon's Kindle Singles line and equals about 76 print pages in length. A print version will be out soon.