Title: The Odessa File
Author: Frederick Forsyth
Forsyth, Frederick (1972). The Odessa File. New York: Viking Press
Date Updated: April 3, 2015
On the first page of the best best-selling The Day of the Jackal’s successor there is a reference to “corroborative details”—they are a very strong attraction in this kind of documentary suspense story, down to the blood-group tattoo under the left armpit which identified the SS. Or the fact that according to the foreword, the Odessa “Organization of Former Members of the SS” has survived to reinfiltrate its old members in high places. Peter Miller, an ordinary young man, a feature writer, happens to read the diary of a Jew who has just gassed himself and has come across the name of the man who once was the Butcher of Riga, a concentration camp, and now is the head of a military-industrial research project. Miller, seemingly quixotically, decides to bring him in and with the help of a revanchist organization is dubbed into an entirely new identity while others are following his old one with orders to “locate and liquidate.” This is certainly as well paced as the earlier book although lacking some of the refined instrumentation (that gun—those contact lenses) and perhaps boldness of design. But it’s all very exciting—Achtung.