Book Review–“Scoville” by Marlene Lee

–Review by Linda Bethel–

 A copy of this book was provided for free and the review and opinions are mine alone.

Welcome to Brooks Beach home of Detective Scoville

Trade Paperback    256 pgs              List price $14.99    Our Price $11.25

So, Becky and Doug offered me the opportunity of a first read of a new collection of short mysteries and, of course, I couldn’t refuse.  The author lives here is Columbia and Holland House Books has published two of her earlier books, The Absent Woman and Rebecca’s Road, which have been well received.  However, Scoville is Ms. Lee’s first venture into the mystery genre.

The volume contains three short stories: Three Blind Mice is the tale of a mysterious disappearance; murder most foul is the core of Always on Thursdays; and the kidnapping of a child is central to Recesses of the Mind, but the plot of each is driven by loving relationships gone sideways.

Ms. Lee has taken an interesting turn on the familiar small town locale familiar in traditional cozy mysteries by placing her tales in Brooks Beach, Oregon, and introducing the reader to Humboldt and Maggie Denton.  Brooks Beach is not the usual upscale, often touristy locale so familiar now, nor are the Dentons, a retired couple, the expected upscale, often intellectual and always tasteful protagonists who reside in such well groomed small towns.  Brooks Beach has some grit and the Knotty Pine Tavern is the town watering hole-providing pool, shuffle board and illegal black jack in the back room.  Maggie Denton is a strong woman, the necessary counterweight to her husband, Humboldt Denton.  The title character, Scoville, is the town sheriff, who appears only briefly in the first two stories but whose laconic and often cerebral approach always cuts through the traditional red herrings to solve the crime.

Stylistically the writing is always good and often much better than good.  The author enjoys giving her readers short but resonant descriptions, instance on a dark and stormy night (what else): “Down at the harbor the voice of the disinterested for horn alternated with the wash of surf, systolic and diastolic pulse of Brooks Beach.”.  Her characters, not only the Dentons and Scoville, but the court reporter married to the town philanderer and Eppie Epperson who deals black jack every night at the Knotty Pine hold the reader’s interest for their very familiar qualities while suggesting of a darker back story.

I really hope that Ms. Lee will find the time to write a book about Brooks Beach and it’s residents.  She has created a wonderful twist on the traditions of the cozy mystery with the darker, less than tidy lives of her characters and the town, especially the Knotty Pine Tavern.  Both characters and location are appealing in these short stories, but I think they could be a great deal more given a larger stage on which to act.

 Be sure to drop by the store and see Columbia’s very own Marlene Lee on August 23rd from noon to 2p.

Fangirl Becky lovin’ on Nalini Singh

I’m a fan of Nalini Singh.  I can’t tell you how happy I was to meet her at the Romantic Times Convention.  Here was someone who I enjoyed tremendously who had traveled halfway around the world and I got to say thank you to them for being a very good author. I got to thank her on behalf of the many people who have bought her books from our store over the years (By the way she thanks all of you for buying the books too).  It was a pretty magical experience for me.

Early June saw the release of the latest Psy-Changling book Shield of Winter and I very much want to tell you about that, but for those of you that haven’t read the series I’m going to do a brief glance at the first book in the series Slave to Sensation as well.

Slave to Sensation

Slave to Sensation

In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation”—the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was…

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy coexistence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion—and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities—or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation…

If you’re a fan of paranormal romance and I haven’t at least had you look at Slave to Sensation then shame on me.  It is a wonderful world that combines romance with a dash of mystery, muddled into a delightful cocktail of characters from shape shifters of all sorts to a Psy race functioning on multiple planes of existance who have renounced emotions, served next to a chaser of what humanity may look like in the future.  Oh, and did I mention the serial killer?

Beginning with Slave to Sensation, released in 2006, the Psy-Changeling series has evolved beautifully through 13 books adding depth and color to the world building that only a master of the craft can accomplish.  All of which leads us from the beginning of a story arc with the first book to somewhat of a completion and a glimpse at where we may go next in the latest hardback release Shield of Winter.

Shield of Winter

Shield of Winter

Assassin.  Soldier.  Arrow.  That is who Vasic is, who he will always be. His soul drenched in blood, his conscience heavy with the weight of all he’s done, he exists in the shadows, far from the hope his people can almost touch—if only they do not first drown in the murderous insanity of a lethal contagion.  To stop the wave of death, Vasic must complete the simplest and most difficult mission of his life.

For if the Psy race is to survive, the empaths must wake…

Having rebuilt her life after medical “treatment” that violated her mind and sought to suffocate her abilities, Ivy should have run from the black-clad Arrow with eyes of winter frost. But Ivy Jane has never done what she should. Now, she’ll fight for her people, and for this Arrow who stands as her living shield, yet believes he is beyond redemption. But as the world turns to screaming crimson, even Ivy’s fierce will may not be enough to save Vasic from the cold darkness…

When writing a review the hardest question I tend to deal with is how do I say enough without saying too much.  Where do I go to avoid spoilers?  There are so many things I want to talk about, leaving me practically vibrating with untapped energy, yet unwilling I know that it’s unfair to give too much.

Having said that, what I can tell you is that, as with Heart of Obsidian, Shield of Winter helps pivot us into the next arc of the series.  How do you build and move on from the ashes of a system that’s fallen. These very concepts are so well suited to the lead characters in this book. By design or happenstance (and I’m willing to bet some really brilliant outlining by Nalini Singh) we are dealing with a hero and heroine who have both been terribly abused by the system yet have come out of all their personal pain devoted to making life better for their people. Within these 429 pages we are lead on a lyrical literary journey of not only what it is to love someone else, but more importantly how do you allow yourself to be loved.

As an ongoing series I remain impressed with the depth of the world building and the attention to detail that Ms. Singh brings to her writing.  For all that this is a known series that I can pull around me with the familiar comfort of an beloved childhood blanket, there is still a freshness in the writing that consistently has me running eagerly to explore each shining facet. The only downside to finishing Shield of Winter is the wait for the next book.

Beat the heat with some cold blooded murder

Summer in Mid-Missouri is hot like everywhere else, except for the humidity.  It’s the 70-80% humidity coupled with the 90 degree heat that makes the Ozarks truly enjoyable for 3 months of the year.  The Village Books staff was reminded of the sweating, the mosquitoes, the headaches, the short tempers, more damned mosquitoes, and before you know it someone has lost their temper and BOOM!

Sweet Cold Blooded Murder on a hot summer day done

the Village Books way.

Top Secret Twenty-One                                                           by Janet Evanovich

341 Pgs                List Price $28.00                       Our Price $20.99  (25% off)

 

Trenton, New Jersey’s favorite used-car dealer, Jimmy Poletti, was caught selling a lot more than used cars out of his dealerships. Now he’s out on bail and has missed his date in court, and bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is looking to bring him in. Leads are quickly turning into dead ends, and all too frequently into dead bodies. Even Joe Morelli, the city’s hottest cop, is struggling to find a clue to the suspected killer’s whereabouts. These are desperate times, and they call for desperate measures. So Stephanie is going to have to do something she really doesn’t want to do: protect former hospital security guard and general pain in her behind Randy Briggs. Briggs was picking up quick cash as Poletti’s bookkeeper and knows all his boss’s dirty secrets. Now Briggs is next on Poletti’s list of people to put six feet under.
 
To top things off, Ranger—resident security expert and Stephanie’s greatest temptation—has been the target of an assassination plot. He’s dodged the bullet this time, but if Ranger wants to survive the next attempt on his life, he’ll have to enlist Stephanie’s help and reveal a bit more of his mysterious past.
 
Death threats, highly trained assassins, highly untrained assassins, and Stark Street being overrun by a pack of feral Chihuahuas are all in a day’s work for Stephanie Plum. The real challenge is dealing with her Grandma Mazur’s wild bucket list. A boob job and getting revenge on Joe Morelli’s Grandma Bella can barely hold a candle to what’s number one on the list—but that’s top secret.

 

Any Other Name: A Longmire Mystery                                by Craig Johnson

317 Pgs                    List Price $26.95                    Our Price $20.25 (25% off)

Sheriff Walt Longmire is sinking into a high-plains winter discontent when his former boss, Lucian Connally, asks him to take on a mercy case outside his jurisdiction. Detective Gerald Holman of neighboring Campbell County is dead, and Lucian wants to know what drove his old friend, a by-the-book lawman with a wife and daughter, to take his own life. With the clock ticking on the birth of Walt’s first grandchild in Philadelphia, he enlists the help of undersheriff Vic Moretti, Henry Standing Bear, and Gillette policeman Corbin Dougherty and, looking for answers, reopens Holman’s last case.

Before his mysterious death, Detective Holman was elbow-deep in a cold case involving three local women who’d gone missing with nothing to connect the disappearances—or so it seemed. The detective’s family and the Campbell County sheriff’s office beg Walt to drop the case. An open-and-shut suicide they say. But there’s a blood trail too hot to ignore, and it’s leading Walt in circles: from a casino in Deadwood, to a mysterious lodge in the snowy Black Hills of South Dakota, to a band of international hit men, to a shady strip club, and back again to the Campbell County sheriff’s office. Digging deeper, Walt will uncover a secret so dark it threatens to claim other lives before the sheriff can serve justice—Wyoming style.

 

Destroyer Angel: An Anna Pigeon Novel                                  By Nevada Barr

342 Pgs                 List Price $26.99                     Our Price $20.25   (25% off)

Anna Pigeon, a ranger for the U.S. Park Services, sets off on vacation—an autumn canoe trip in the to the Iron Range in upstate Minnesota. With Anna is her friend Heath, a paraplegic; Heath’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Elizabeth; Leah, a wealthy designer of outdoor equipment; and her daughter, Katie, who is thirteen. For Heath and Leah, this is a shakedown cruise to test a new cutting edge line of camping equipment. The equipment, designed by Leah, will make camping and canoeing more accessible to disabled outdoorsmen. 

On their second night out, Anna goes off on her own for a solo evening float on the Fox River.  When she comes back, she finds that four thugs, armed with rifles, pistols, and knives, have taken the two women and their teenaged daughters captive. With limited resources and no access to the outside world, Anna has only two days to rescue them before her friends are either killed or flown out of the country.

 

Death in Saratoga Springs: Gilded Age Mystery          by Charles O’Brien

294 Pgs                      List Price $15.00               Our Price $11.25  (25% off)

From the slaughterhouses of Manhattan to the elite enclaves of Saratoga Springs, private detective Pamela Thompson follows a trail of death and deception left by a Civil War hero.

New York City, 1894.  Captain Jed Crake is a decorated veteran of the Union army and a successful mogul in the meatpacking industry.  But this powerful man also has a hidden private life as a predator of young women.  Working for attorney Jeremiah Prescott, private investigators Pamela Thompson and former NYPD detective Harry Miller are engaged to search for a maid allegedly abducted by the captain…

Before they can find the missing woman, Crake’s dark history catches up with him and he is murdered in a posh hotel in Saratoga Springs.  As fate would have it, Pamela’s ward, Francesca Ricci, working as a chambermaid in the hotel, is accused of the crime.  Now, in this pastoral playground of the idle rich, it’s up to Pamela and Miller to find Crake’s killer–as well as his victim–and save an innocent girl from a fate worse than death.

Stop! Drop! Roll! Into… R.G. Alexander

Stop! Drop! Roll! Into…

Often people ask what we’re reading. What’s hot? What’s exciting? Who is someone new to try? This lead in is where you’ll get some of those answers. So stop what you’re doing, drop everything that is going on in your life, and roll into these books/authors/subgenres if you want to know what is lighting our fires!

We are soon going to be able to sell e-books through our website! (Small break for Doug & Becky to do The Dance of The Happy Booksellers.) What does this mean for you? Well part of this means a whole new world of recommendations, and I’m going to jump the gun to start just a bit early.

If you’re a fan of erotic romance you should be reading R.G. Alexander. Now let me stop here for a moment to clarify. If you do not like: funny heroes and heroines; adventurous intimate relations; or really hot sexy fun then these are not the books for you. However if you’ve always wanted to be on a dating show with superhero, be ravished by a sexy guy possessed by a voodoo spirit (possibly with his friend there and yours watching), or be a part of a magical menage these will be your cup of tea.

Hitting all points from contemporary settings to fantastical worlds R.G. Alexander has published books in print from Berkley, Ellora’s Cave, and Samhain as well as e-books. I stumbled upon Wicked Sexy, the first book in the Wicked Series, and fell in love with two sexy, magical brothers that were courting the ‘human’ girl of both of their childhood dreams while setting a sting for a killer. From that book on I was reeled into her worlds and her words.

From werewolves to vampires, bikers to bondage, her books reflect a sly sense of humor packed around a hot sexy center with an underlying layer of love. These are books that turn up the heat while touching the heart. Also I have to say that I’ve had a very Merry Christmas the last few years reading the Kinky Christmas Carol box set from R.G. and fellow Smutketeers Eden Bradley & Robin L. Rotham. (It beats the dickens out of Dickens!)

So stop, drop what you’re reading, and roll on into the store to talk about which series you want me to order for you first. I think you’ll fall in love with R.G. Alexander as well.

Check out  R.G.’s site at www.rgalexander.com/

Additional fun can be found at The Smutkeers site http://www.smutketeers.com/

2014 Columbia One Read–The Boys in the Boat

One of Columbia’s literary traditions, sponsored in part by the Daniel Boone Regional Library, is the Columbia One Read.  The past few years selections have spanned both fiction and non-fiction titles including, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The Weight of Water, The Tortilla Curtain, The Tiger’s Wife, and last year’s winner The Ruins of Us.

This year the One Read committee has chosen The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown.

Trade Pb / 416 pgs / May 2014 / List Price $17.00 / Our Price $12.75

Out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.

It was an unlikely quest from the start. With a team composed of the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team was never expected to defeat the elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain, yet they did, going on to shock the world by defeating the German team rowing for Adolf Hitler. The emotional heart of the tale lies with Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not only to regain his shattered self-regard but also to find a real place for himself in the world. Drawing on the boys’ own journals and vivid memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, Brown has created an unforgettable portrait of an era, a celebration of a remarkable achievement, and a chronicle of one extraordinary young man’s personal quest.

For more information on the Columbia One Read Program follow the link below.

http://oneread.dbrl.org/

Bob Binges on…. Stephen King

One of the things that we love is hearing what you think of books. It keeps interactions intimate along with helping us to find more literary lanes to lead you on. One of the things our friends hate is when we start nagging and begging for them to write reviews for us. Bless Bob’s heart though, after listening to us whine for longer than a person should have to, he has written us reviews on the last three Stephen King books he’s read. (On a side note he did try bribing us with sodas which did delay, but not halt the stream of whine.)

Here are both a quick summary and reviews for 11/22/63, Under the Dome, and Joyland. Please note we are not responsible for spoilers, so if you don’t want to know something then we recommend that you don’t read beyond the book blurb. When you see the title followed by the author’s name you are entering into the review itself, and the recesses of Bob’s mind.

11/22/63

Receiving a horrific essay from a GED student with a traumatic past, high-school English teacher Jake Epping is enlisted by a friend to travel back in time to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy, a mission for which he must reacclimate to 1960s culture and befriend troubled loner Lee Harvey Oswald.

“Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” – Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park

11/22/63 by Stephen King

For a retired man, Stephen King puts out an impressive volume of work.

11/22/63 takes the reader on the perils and pitfalls of stopping the most talked about assassination of the 20th century. As a man who lived through through the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination Steven King certainly has enough details to draw upon to create a vivid picture of what the world was like leading up to that fateful day in 1963.

The protagonist is given a charge to stop the murder by a friend of his. He can no longer physically make the arduous journey. The time portal that allows this to happen opens in 1958 and requires that any would be hero wait five years to be in place.

The main question of this story is can you prevent the assassination and if you, should you?

I don’t want to spoil the story, because the world is so rich. I especially appreciate that King does not gloss over the racism that prevalent during the time period. This is made apparent by a few clear scenes as the character moves south from Maine towards Dallas.

As a writer (Hey! I can pretend.) I love the way King creates characters and makes them live and breathe.

A special shout out to King for his acknowledgments. He thanked quite a few people and then thanked his son, Joe Hill (a fine fellow and an excellent writer) for his help with perfecting the ending.

Under the Dome

On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester’s Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener’s hand is severed as “the dome” comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when — or if — it will go away. 

Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens — town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician’s assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing — even murder — to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn’t just short. It’s running out.

Under The Dome by Stephen King

Lord of the flies in a bell jar. That is the most succinct description that I can give people when they ask what I am reading.

Without warning the people of Chester’s Mill are cut off (pun FULLY intended) from Maine, the United States of America, and the world. The transparent dome cuts animals and people in twain, causes vehicles to crash (there are air planes flying), and wrecks havoc. People go through the five stages of grief.

While Chester’s Mill is only cut off for a week, oh yeah, spoiler alert, they get out! This is one of the truly transformational weeks there is. This is the equivalent of being stranded after surviving a shipwreck. You’ve survived, but you’re not out of danger.

As in all of Stephen King’s work, there is much going on below the seemingly calm surface of the small town and they are exposed in the most unseemly of ways.

I feel a word of warning must be given here. The television program is, by its very nature, a different story then the novel. Many of the characters are muted for the show. Junior Rennie is made much more palatable for the viewing audience.

Also, you cannot have the more definite ending that the novel has if you wish to continue on for multiple seasons. Having said that, many of the elements, themes, and ideas are present in the television series.

I enjoyed the name check. Stephen King refers, several times, to Jack Reacher as a character in the same universe. I find this funny as Lee Child, creator of Jack Reacher, has a featured quote on the front cover.

I agree Stephen King is a master of the craft. His characters are vibrant, vital, and real. His pacing and structure only get better the longer he writes.
Joyland
In a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.

Joyland by Steven King

Stephen King a behind the scenes view of what a regional amusement park in the early 70s. From what he shows us, I gather it was pert summer camp, part hell, and all hard work. The central murder mystery is not the focus of the tale. Instead, we follow our protagonist as he remembers having his heart broken, learning to recover and love again, and enjoys his time at Funland.

I had concerns about how well King, as if I should ever doubt the Master, would wrap up the mystery. The novel is short and he doesn’t dwell on the murder at all. But, Mr. King expertly weaves the threads of his tale to an exhilarating and satisfying conclusion.

I must confess I was somewhat disappointed Joyland, as the previous entry in the Hard Case Crime series [The Colorado Kid], failed to deliver. The novel is not a classic story of the hard boiled private eye slugging against all odds to solve the case. Instead we are treated to a lovely slice of life that shows us an Average Joe just trying to cope with the shift from adolescence into adulthood.
I enjoyed it and think you will as well.

To keep track of what Bob may be saying out in the ether of the webs you can check out @celticorca on Twitter.

Mr. Mercedes — Stephen King

Hot on the heels of Under the Dome, Doctor Sleep, and Joyland, Stephen King brings his typical chipper, up-beat writing style to Mr. Mercedes his first “hard-boiled detective tale.”  Just released in Hardback at the low, low price of $22.50 (25% discount)

In the gloomy pre-dawn hours of a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of unemployed hopefuls are lined up for a job fair. Without warning, a merciless driver plows through the crowd in a roaring Mercedes. Eight people are killed; 15 are wounded. The killer escapes into the early-spring fog never to be seen from again. Until now…

Detective Bill Hodges is a battle-hardened and streetwise crime fighter originally assigned to the Mercedes killings. Now retired, Hodges has lost his way in boredom and depression craving the thrills of taking down the region’s most notorious criminals. When a disturbing letter from the Mercedes Killer arrives at his door, Hodges soon finds himself uncontrollably drawn into a cat-n-mouse pursuit with stakes beyond comprehension.

If you are looking for more Stephen King it can be said that the VB staff believes that there is “no school like the old school.”

Becky recommends Eyes of the Dragon

Doug recommends Dead Zone, and Salem’s Lot

ReTales: Life Behind the Counter

Most of us have worked in retail, or a service industry, for at least a small amount of time, and if you haven’t you should have. If asked about their experiences most often the reply would be, “The best thing about working retail is the people, and/or the worst thing about working retail is the people.”

As a small business we have an amazing amount of wonderful people we come across, plus the added bonus being able to have in depth conversations that are rare at a box store. (Since I was “most likely to own a bar” according to several of my high school friends it seems Village Books would be a version of Cheers for the bibliophile set.) Some of the best conversations stem from that joint profession in retail and the ability to trade horror stories. One of these surfaced into the middle of a sale the other day when I was thanked for asking about identification with a credit card purchase. We talked about the people who appreciated being asked for ID, those that hated it, reasons, motives, and all the emotion behind pulling out that dreaded DMV photo.

Today’s story came after a nice long discussion about magazines on the topic of, and specifically the magazine,  “Off Grid.”  Everything was jovial until the person refused to show an ID for a credit card purchase………. We’re going to let that sentence sit there for a bit, let it simmer in the back of your mind.  They were so incensed that purchases were thrown on counters, before storming to the door to yell that parting shot. “I’m not showing my ID to anyone because I’m staying off the grid!” At the end of retelling of this story is when we both started laughing. FYI if you’re staying ‘off the grid’ and using a credit card then you’re doing it wrong.

New Non-Fiction on our Shelves — A Higher Call

Now available in Trade size “A Higher Call” by  Larry Alexander and Adam Makos.

Four days before Christmas 1943, a badly damaged American bomber struggled to fly over wartime Germany. At its controls was a 21-year-old pilot. Half his crew lay wounded or dead. It was their first mission. Suddenly, a sleek, dark shape pulled up on the bomber’s tail—a German Messerschmitt fighter. Worse, the German pilot was an ace, a man able to destroy the American bomber in the squeeze of a trigger. What happened next would defy imagination and later be calledthe most incredible encounter between enemies in World War II. 

This is the true story of the two pilots whose lives collided in the skies that day—the American—2nd Lieutenant Charlie Brown, a former farm boy from West Virginia who came to captain a B-17—and the German—2nd Lieutenant Franz Stigler, a former airline pilot from Bavaria who sought to avoid fighting in World War II. 

A Higher Call follows both Charlie and Franz’s harrowing missions. Charlie would face takeoffs in English fog over the flaming wreckage of his buddies’ planes, flak bursts so close they would light his cockpit, and packs of enemy fighters that would circle his plane like sharks. Franz would face sandstorms in the desert, a crash alone at sea, and the spectacle of 1,000 bombers each with eleven guns, waiting for his attack. 

Ultimately, Charlie and Franz would stare across the frozen skies at one another. What happened between them, the American 8th Air Force would later classify as “top secret.” It was an act that Franz could never mention or else face a firing squad. It was the encounter that would haunt both Charlie and Franz for forty years until, as old men, they would search for one another, a last mission that could change their lives forever.