I’m a bit tardy imploring you to read my friend Eric Dezenhall’s new historical thriller The Devil Himself. This book, which came out in mid-July, is a departure from Eric’s earlier crime/mob/PR-disaster novels, and it is the product of many years of Eric’s particular fascination with the mob’s involvement in WWII and his research into the life of Meyer Lansky. I’ve read it and it really is Eric’s best and most deeply-thought novel. (Don’t feel embarrassed, reader; Eric and I get together for lunch every other month or so for the sole purpose of heaping praise upon each another.)
Here’s what the flap copy says about The Devil Himself:
In late 1982, a spike in terrorism has the Reagan Administration considering covert action to neutralize the menace before it reaches the United States. There are big risks to waging a secret war against America’s enemies—but there is one little-known precedent.
Forty years earlier, German U-boats had been prowling the Atlantic, sinking hundreds of U.S. ships along the east coast, including the largest cruise ship in the world, Normandie, destroyed at a Manhattan pier after Pearl Harbor. Nazi agents even landed on Long Island with explosives and maps of railways, bridges, and defense plants. Desperate to secure the coast, the Navy turned to Meyer Lansky, the Jewish Mob boss. A newly naturalized American whose fellow Eastern European Jews were being annihilated by Hitler, Lansky headed an unlikely fellowship of mobsters Lucky Luciano, Bugsy Siegel, Frank Costello, and naval intelligence officers.
Young Reagan White House aide Jonah Eastman, grandson of Atlantic City gangster Mickey Price, is approached by the president’s top advisor with an assignment: Discreetly interview his grandfather’s old friend Lansky about his wartime activities. There just might be something to learn from that secret operation.
The notoriously tight-lipped gangster, dying of cancer, is finally ready to talk. Jonah gets a riveting—and darkly comic—history lesson. The Mob caught Nazi agents, planted propaganda with the help of columnist Walter Winchell, and found Mafia spies to plot the invasion of Sicily, where General Patton was poised to strike at the soft underbelly of the Axis. Lansky’s men stopped at nothing to sabotage Hitler’s push toward American shores.
Based on real events, The Devil Himself is a high-energy novel of military espionage and Mafia justice.
I bought an additional THREE copies and had Eric sign them at his book party at the Crime Museum. It’s time to give one to YOU. First three people who send me an e-mail will get one mailed to them for FREE. Jump on it!
UPDATE AUG 31: ALL GONE! WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED.