The Locksmith - Lafe Metz
And when he gets to Heaven To St. Peter he will tell:
'One more Marine reporting, Sir -- I've served my time in Hell.' - Sgt. James A. Donahue, First Marine Division

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity. - General Dwight D. Eisenhower

as a teenager, Kurt Kann witnessed the atrocities committed by the Nazis. his determination to survive and flee from the horrors of the Third Reich bears fruit when Kurt and his family begin a new life in the United States of America. years later, he enlists in the Army and returns to Germany to confront a man who betrayed his family during Kristallnacht.
author Lafe Metz' novel is a biographical account of Kurt's experiences during the Second World War. it is a moving true story of a boy whose innocence was shattered, whose world suddenly lost its beauty and whose beliefs were compromised.
Kurt's story, though, is not all about hate, revenge and man's propensity for destruction. there are also tender and amusing recollections from his childhood and his job as a plumber's assistant. one particular incident that really struck me was how Kurt recounted his first taste of Coca Cola with his younger brother. i found this memory so poignant somehow and something i kept in mind and returned to as i continued to read about Kurt's life as a soldier. it was such a striking contrast - the boy that was and the man that he had become.
among the highlights of the book are graphic descriptions of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France at Omaha Beach, rescuing concentration camp survivors and women who were kept in cages. women caged like animals during the war was something i have not heard of before. their inhuman treatment and living conditions were downright appalling and set my teeth on edge.
overall, Kurt's memoir is a spectrum of warm and dark colors that reflect darkness and light. i did not see him asking for compassion or forgiveness. neither did i sense that he was asking for understanding. he just wanted to share his memories as he recalled them to anyone willing to listen.
i listened and i have read and i make no judgment on Kurt's actions. life dealt him with a different deck of cards. he did what he had to do and he lived to tell about it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: i received a copy The Locksmith from the author himself. i did not receive any payment in exchange for this review nor was i obligated to write a positive one. all opinions expressed here are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of this review. this disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.