An epic and hauntingly topical geopolitical thriller spanning six decades and three continents, The Human Pool confirms the journalist and award-winning filmmaker Chris Petit as the heir to John le Carre and Robert Harris.THE HUMAN POOLRumors about Willi Schmidt's actions during the Second World War were enigmatic, to say the least. He worked for U.S. Intelligence out of Switzerland; he cut black-market deals on the side; he rescued scores of Jews from the Nazis. Saint or sinner? Either way, Schmidt was strictly murky waters -- and reports of his death in 1945 surprised no one. Sixty years later, Joe Hoover is convinced Schmidt is still alive, armed with a false name and a fortune in pharmaceuticals. For years, Hoover, former Intelligence courier for the American spymaster Allen Dulles, has been haunted by misgivings about his own wartime role in his boss's top-secret financial partnership with the Third Reich. Now, someone wants Hoover dead. Back in Europe, Hoover discovers that operations he thought had ended long ago are still being played out. Forming an uneasy alliance with Vaughan, an undercover journalist investigating neo-Nazi traffic of Kurdish refugees, he begins to unravel a conspiracy that leads deep into his past, to his days mixing with Nazi officers in the supposedly neutral cities of Zurich, Istanbul, and Budapest, where enemies did deals over cocktails. At each step, Hoover finds the shadow of Willi Schmidt and the specter of World War II's most grotesque and enduring legacy -- a trade in people: the human pool.Set against a vivid historical backdrop, "The Human Pool" mixes fiction and fact to explosive effect. Chris Petit has crafted his finestnovel yet -- a cosmopolitan, thinking-person's thriller that turns the world inside out and traces its veins: It spells nothing less than the rebirth of the great espionage novel.
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Chris Petit is the author of The Psalm Killer and Back from the Dead. The former film editor of London's Time Out magazine, his film-directing credits include Radio On and Chinese Boxes, and his documentaries have won several awards. He lives in London.From Publishers Weekly:
Conspiracy freaks with nothing to do can pop a Haldol in jubilation upon the publication of this third book from former Time Out London film editor Petit (The Psalm Killer; Back from the Dead). Joe Hoover, a widowed, aging wartime double agent with a mysterious disease, is summoned from Florida to Frankfurt via his old WWII call sign from Karl-Heinz Strasse, a former SS officer, 60 years after the fall of the Third Reich, for reasons that possibly involve the agent's duplicitous (and promiscuous) former boss Betty von Heimendorf. Alongside this tale of wartime pros gathering at journey's end is the tense, sweating parallel story of Vaughan, an English investigative journalist undercover in a group of neo-Nazi skinheads, investigating Karl-Heinz's life story for his boss, a bored media tycoon, while trying to get his mind off his incestuous relationship with his half-sister, Dora. As the story oozes in all directions through an increasingly disjointed series of letters, secret memos and drunken ravings by every member of the shifting cast, Petit conjures up a vague, amorphous hijack of humanity by vested political and economic interests perpetuating a warped biological testing program (on "the human pool") ... la Einsatzgruppen. The reader will be lost long before the realization that there is no clear resolution to the novel, just an ever-increasing background volume of paranoia, manifested mainly in poor Vaughan ("The second time I crawled back into the box voluntarily. The third time I didn't come out"). As Hoover himself puts it to the curious Vaughan in the novel's clearest exchange: "Why not leave it alone?" "Because I'll be dead soon and it's about time I knew." Readers may well echo his sentiments.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Atria, 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0743417062
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