THE SIEGFRIED CONTINGENCY, a work of historical fiction by first-time author Steven H Laskin includes mystery, thrills, and romance surrounding a possible Nazi conspiracy that has frightening implications many years later.
Normally the central character’s sexual preference wouldn’t be of crucial importance in a historical mystery thriller, but Carl Traeger’s homosexuality is an important plot point, and the story is told from his first-person point of view. In addition, although the gay sex scenes are not graphic, they will not appeal to everyone. That said, the mystery elements of THE SIEGFRIED CONTINGENCY are intriguing, and the writing flows smoothly with touches of light humor.
Still reeling from the death of his beloved aunt and Paul, his lover and business partner, Carl runs his bookstore with the help of a small staff. One night while working alone in the store, he finds his life threatened by an intruder demanding that he hand over an unnamed item. At first he plays along before realizing the seriousness of the situation. After attacking the intruder and calling the police, Carl is shocked to see the strange demands and threats on his life increase.
Aided by Randy, the handsome policeman who comes to his rescue initially, Carl develops a romantic relationship with him, and together they try to understand why a gang of foreign thugs is chasing them. They soon learn that an important document is hidden within a book left to him by his aunt. Angry Nazi sympathizers are popping up everywhere in an attempt to get their hands on that book.
As Carl and Randy work to solve the complicated mystery surrounding the document inside the book, their lives are repeatedly put in danger. At one point when Carl believes that Randy has been killed, he seeks refuge in a gay-friendly shelter and enjoys comfort in the arms of another man. The romantic subplot (which occasionally feels contrived and the language artificial) is almost as complex as the main story about the Nazi conspiracy.
Overall, THE SIEGFRIED CONTINGENCY is fast-paced and interesting with a few nice surprises toward the end that keep things lively. The brisk writing should make sure readers stay engaged, despite a few minor flaws, such as perhaps being a little too ambitious with the plot and not allowing enough space to develop characters thoroughly.
Though occasionally lacking in character development, this intriguing historical fiction will keep readers turning pages with an engaging writing style and intricate story about a possible mystery concerning the death of Adolf Hitler.
~Carol Michaels for IndieReader