Publication Date: 2nd February 2021
Publisher: Mascot Books
Page Length: 263 Pages
Page Length: 263 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
It’s 1955. David stands on the courthouse steps in Cleveland, buttoning his overcoat, when his gaze catches the martial stride of a passerby. He recoils. It’s Dr. Gerhardt Adler, a brutal ex-S.S. Major who David sent to Nuremburg shackled in the back of a U.S. Army jeep. Determined to discover what that war criminal is doing in the U.S., David reverts to old habits he mastered in the Office of Strategic Services and pursues the Nazi. Feeling cheated by his role during the war, safe behind Allied lines, he sees another chance to be a hero. But how much will it cost?
Chasing the American Dream captures David’s quest for justice against those who committed crimes against humanity during World War II. To his horror, it transforms into a fight with the U.S. Government which threatens his own American Dream.
David paused on the courthouse steps to button his overcoat against the cold wind off Lake Erie. He hefted his bulging briefcase and was trotting down the steps when he noticed the long, rhythmic stride of a tall man in a well-cut black overcoat. It made him think of the final parade of Nazis in Berlin after the surrender: that heavy clomp of boots, the metronomic regularity of swinging arms and legs. But this was downtown Cleveland, and the war’d been over for nearly 10 years.
He inspected the man’s face and froze. That straight jaw, dark blond hair parted and combed to the side, squared shoulders. And, under that muffler, David suspected, on the left side of his neck, a jagged scar. That damned S.S. Sturmbannführer, right here on Lakeside Avenue. The last time David had seen Major Gerhardt Adler, he’d been in handcuffs, head held high, bouncing in the back of an Army jeep on his way to an interrogation. A trial in Nuremberg. The bastard should be behind bars—or dead. David stared at Adler’s back, his anger boiling with increasing certainty this was his man. Had to be, and yet…
Glancing to his right and left, David saw no one interested in himself or Adler, so he fell into step behind him, keeping several people between them. After Adler’s brutality to prisoners in the labor camp, how could the Allies have let the bastard go? Had he escaped? Snuck into the U.S.? Was he a wanted man? God, he could be sabotaging the country’s rocket research. Spying for the Germans—or worse, the Russians. He had to be stopped.
David’s war-honed skills tumbled back into place. He dragged his hat down to cover more of his face and followed Adler toward Public Square, into the Rapid Transit station under the Terminal Tower. He hovered behind one person, and then another, in the crowd on the platform. Several carried boxes and shopping bags, which broadened their bodies into good cover.
When the eastbound train pulled up, David slipped in behind Adler and stood, swaying from an overhead handle with his back to the man. He pretended to read the ads around the top of the car while checking that Adler stayed in his seat. The German pulled a newspaper from his pocket, opened it, apparently found something of interest, and folded the paper into quarters, flattening the folds into solid creases.
What happened back in ’45? David got a nice pat on the back for bringing Adler in. Must have been a fuck-up somewhere along the line for him to be here now. Whatever it was, this time David’d make sure Adler was adequately punished for his crimes against humanity.
He swayed with the movement of the train car like any average Joe on his way home from a long day at work. Adler didn’t seem to notice him. The man relaxed into his seat, slowly turned, and folded the next page to meet his rigid requirements. He looked absorbed by some story.
David had the urge to haul him out of the train’s seat and break his teeth. How arrogant and insulting Adler had been on that road to Dresden. Covered in mud from trying to dig his car out, he’d dared to boast to David of his genius in rocket fuels, how every country in the world wanted his talent. It hadn’t occurred to David to check on Adler’s sentence after the trials. Maybe he should have.
David felt cheated by his war. He’d pictured so much more: days full of risk, of excitement, of daring. He’d enlisted the morning after Pearl Harbor was attacked, eager to get into the fight, be an officer, lead his men to victory. But the Army had other plans. Oh, he’d been through officers’ training, but the Army picked up on his background in chemistry and physics, put him in the Chemical Warfare Service, and gave him a stateside assignment at the Sun Rubber Company in Akron. Instead of heroic combat, he helped design gas masks for children with the rubber face of Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck. It was humiliating. He was ashamed to tell the guys shipping out about his cushy assignment.
It wasn’t until 1944 that he made it overseas. He’d thought OSS was his ticket to a real fight. And his spy training was superb: he proved to be an expert in stripping down weapons and reassembling them in the dark, excelled in the Fairbairn techniques of dirty fighting, and managed to be halfway fluent in German. But the job he got assigned? An administrative assistant for Secret Intelligence in London. He’d argued with his supervisor to send him to the continent, let him work with the Resistance in France. He lost. Next assignment: a photographer, microfilming documents. No chance to show off his physical strength and mental acuity. Damn it, nor his bravery, loyalty, or commitment to human rights.
Since 1996, Dr. Brush has worked in international education, spending 2006 to 2008 managing a large USAID-funded education project in the northwestern part of Pakistan, an area that was seriously affected by an earthquake in October 2005. During her years abroad, she directed a staff of about two hundred seventy and completed her Doctor of Ministry degree, which included an intensive study of Islam. The Pakistani women with whom she worked inspired her first novel, Uncovering, a tale of a group of Pakistani women confronted with the severe restrictions of fundamentalist Islam.
Along with two gentle cats, she lives outside of Washington, D.C. in a community of good neighbors, friends, and fellow writers. Like so many empty nesters, she loves her short, intense visits with her son (a sommelier) and his fiancée, her stepdaughter who found her French husband during her junior year abroad, and her three French grandsons. In her spare time she reads novels, sings alto with a chorus, hikes, cares for her flower and vegetable gardens, and shows up for healthy workouts at the gym.
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