Friday, June 29, 2018

EuroMedika: behind every miracle is a blood sacrifice

Greetings, commies!I am pleased to announce my latest release - a retro-speculative medical thriller EuroMedika

Philadelphia, 1982Hazel, a truant teenager, takes refuge in a seedy alley off South Street dubbed “Nicotine Alley” under the protection of Logan Massey, a cannabis activist who dominates the alternative scene. Her most prized possession is an Olympus camera that supposedly has a soul and is able to capture the unseen. Seduced by Logan's anarchist ideology, Hazel aspires to expose the corruption inside the pharmaceutical industry. 

Martin Thomasson is Philadelphia's most eccentric medical student, whose body had been shattered in a car accident and reassembled by the city's top trauma experts using bolts, rods and wires to hold his skeleton together. Despite the constant pain and hallucinations, the young man is studying to become a surgeon under the auspice of Dr. Dean McArthur, a languid, marble-faced sociopath. Such wonders can only happen at EuroMedika, a mysterious and eerie facility where chemical formulas and religious dogma mingle in a Petri dish. 

These two worlds collide when Hazel sets off to infiltrate EuroMedika and bring down Dr. McArthur. Her quest proves to be short lived, as the overreaching urchin quickly realizes that she is no match for a mad scientist. When she finds herself framed for a string of crimes, all of her high principles fly out the window. To save herself, Hazel must give in to Dr. McArthur's demands— which go beyond sexual favors—and assist him in a secret experiment with her old friends as test subjects. Martin Thomasson, whose loyalty to the institute has begun to waver, could very well be her only hope for salvation. Wandering the sinister glass halls of EuroMedika, she learns that behind every miracle there is a blood sacrifice.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Dorchen: A Childhood Lost in War-Torn Germany

About the book
Dorthea Maria Dietrich ("Dorchen" to her family) was just a child of eleven when Germany declared war on Poland in September 1939. She was an ordinary German schoolgirl from an average family thrust into the extraordinary circumstances of war. Her memoir vividly describes the price she, her family, and all the German people paid for Hitler's ambition. Relived through her memories, it is truly a story of childhood innocence lost, but also of survival through grit and courage. She endured air raids, bomb shelters, military training, capture, imprisonment, rape and harrowing escape. The author has created a razor-sharp, clear-eyed and tense narrative about her life during this frightening time, as well as the story of her early struggles as a German war bride settling into a new life in America. This is Dorchen, and she is a remarkable woman.

My thoughts
This book was recommended to me by the Historical Novel Society on Facebook. I asked the members to recommend a WWII memoir written by one of the Germans. There are numerous memoirs by the Holocaust survivors that are widely publicized and discussed. Until recently, it seemed almost distasteful to talk about the experiences of German children who found their lives turned upside down. Anne Frank's diary is still considered one of the monumental accounts that overshadows all others. In fact, I had a few fellow Russians sneer and say, "Who cares about the experiences of a girl from the Hitler Youth?" Personally, I don't like to sneer at anyone's experience. I don't believe that there is such thing as a "secondary experience". I was grateful for the opportunity to see WWII through the eyes of an ordinary German girl, feel her confusion and ambivalence as she was forced to make gut-wrenching choices. I really hope that those who read this book do so without prejudice or grudges. Try not to roll your eyes when Dorchen describes unfortunate events (like having family dogs put down) that seem trivial in the scheme of a global tragedy but nevertheless are extremely traumatic to a child. For a schoolgirl who had never seen a concentration camp, it must have been horrifying to see her father take her beloved dogs into the woods to be shot and buried. It takes her father quite a bit of effort to assure her that she is not next on the list to be shot. That was just one of her first run ins with the war. After experiencing hunger and anxiety, after losing several family members, she goes on to join the army against her parents' wishes and proves herself a rather incompetent soldier. Luckily, she never sees actual combat - the war ends. Yet Dorchen's misfortunes are far from over as she finds herself captured by the Allies. The narrative style is very simple, candid, unembellished. She conveys her feelings without any unnecessary adjectives. Her memoir is a very humbling and eye-opening read for those interested in the German youth experience.