Literary Translation Projects: German to English
The Honest Spy
by Andreas Kollender
During one of history’s darkest chapters, one man is determined to make a difference.
In the tradition of Schindler’s List comes a thrilling novel based on the heroic true story of Fritz Kolbe, a widowed civil servant in Adolf Hitler’s foreign ministry. Recognizing that millions of lives are at stake, Kolbe uses his position to pass information to the Americans—risking himself and the people he holds most dear—and embarks on a dangerous double life as the Allies’ most important spy.
Summoned from his South African post to return to Nazi Germany, Kolbe leaves behind his beloved fourteen-year-old daughter, a decision made for her safety that nonetheless torments him. And as he lives under the constant threat of arrest, he wrestles with the guilt of putting Marlene Wiese, a married nurse and the love of his life, in danger as they collaborate on Kolbe’s clandestine work.
But no matter the personal cost, Kolbe will not be deterred. In scenes that pulse with suspense, he emerges as a towering figure who risked everything to save innocent lives—and Germany from itself.
Short Story: "Pretty Women from Hangelar"
by Sven Heuchert
I had the pleasure of translating this from talented German writer Sven Heuchert's collection of stories titled Asche (Ashes), published in 2015. The translation also appeared in the Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review. It's spare and dark but touching and reminds me of the Pacific NW somehow, or it at least of the way it used to be when no one knew we existed in this far corner of the country.
(Jan Tommen Book 2)
by Alexander Hartung
Late one night, a man calls the local emergency line. He’s in a cemetery, and he’s just discovered a freshly dug grave marked with a wooden cross bearing his name. The dispatcher thinks it’s the ravings of a drunk—until the police find the man’s body the next day.
What seemed like a morbid prank soon becomes a living nightmare for Berlin detective Jan Tommen. Recently reinstated to the force after a harrowing case’s tragic conclusion, Jan enlists his friends—debt collector Chandu, hacker Max, and medical examiner Zoe—to help. Yet the unconventional team can’t get any closer to finding the killer, and new open graves keep turning up, each with a promise of murder. Can they find the cunning killer before the deadly predictions are fulfilled?
From Alexander Hartung, author of Until the Debt Is Paid, comes another heart-stopping installment of the Jan Tommen Investigation series.
Original German version: Vor deinem Grab.
Until the Debt is Paid
(Jan Tommen Book 1)
by Alexander Hartung
Berlin detective Jan Tommen expected to wake up with a hangover—not a murder charge. But a well-known judge has been brutally killed and hard evidence places Jan at the crime scene. When disturbing gaps in Jan’s memory make finding an alibi impossible, the case against him looks open and shut.
Faced with life on the inside, Jan flees police custody to take refuge with an old friend deeply enmeshed in the capital’s seedy underworld. Hampered by a citywide manhunt, Jan soon finds that investigating leads while eluding capture isn’t easy. Before long, he’s relying on a team of misfits for help, including an icy blonde medical examiner and a brilliant but reclusive computer whiz.
When a lucky break leads Jan to connect the murders to a heinous trafficking ring, the team risks it all to find answers. Meanwhile, the body count continues to rise and the police department starts to close in. Desperate to prove his innocence, Jan must identify the true killer—before his time finally runs out.
Original German version: Bis alle Schuld beglichen.
by Mike Powelz
After the doctors tell her that she’s losing her battle with cancer, Minnie reluctantly takes the last bed at Holl House, a hospice in Hamburg, Germany, to confront life’s most unanswerable questions. To her surprise, her new—and last—home could almost pass for a hotel (no white coats and plenty of champagne), if it weren’t for the full-time staff, the hard drugs, and the hearse parked outside. Before long, Minnie realizes that death isn’t the only mystery to be explored at Holl House: each of her terminally ill roommates hides a secret, and as her own departure nears, she begins to suspect that three recent passings are not quite as natural as they appear. But in a place where dying is a foregone conclusion, why would anyone bother to commit murder? With a killer on her heels and time running out, Minnie vows to solve the crime before she, too, says her last goodbye.
Told with surprising humor and frankness, Terminal is a murder mystery in an unlikely place as the dying approach the greatest mystery of all.
Original German version: Die Flockenleserin.
Mark of Cain
by Marcus Hünnebeck
Working for the police had criminal psychologist Christian Moll losing so much sleep that, despite years of successfully helping investigators unwind the twisted minds of murderers, he decided to call it quits. But when a disturbing pattern in recent cases begins to emerge, he chooses to postpone his self-imposed retirement in order to help out an old flame.
Detective Katharina Rosenberg has a new case and a new cop killer on the run. When two colleagues are murdered in rapid succession, a shocking theory emerges: Is someone killing off the detectives Christian worked alongside solving homicide cases? And is Katharina next?
Now, Katharina and Christian must team up once again to catch the murderer before it’s too late. With their buried passion rising to the surface, they give in to their desire while racing against time to find the vengeful cop killer before he finds them.
Original German version: Kainsmal.
Alexanderplatz, Berlin (Kindle Single)
by Georg Diez
Berlin's Alexanderplatz square has long survived as the symbol of a city burdened by its ruinous past. Author Georg Diez pursues the mystery of Alexanderplatz in a narrative at once contentious and sincere. He portrays a city shaking free of the cultural pathos that defined it, even as its citizens wrestle with the legacies of Hitler and an East German regime that isolated the square before the Berlin Wall fell.
The original German version was nominated for the Reporter-Forum 2013 Reporting Prize in the "freestyle" (Freistil) category, rewarding innovative narratives and coverage that transcend conventional journalism.
Journalist and columnist Georg Diez has contributed to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday edition, Der Spiegel, Die Zeit, and the Süddeutsche Zeitung.