From the publisher:
Stag Maguire, a burnt-out journalist hardly able to prop himself up in the wake of tragedy, agrees to help a friend move. They find an urgent message—HELP ME—written on a piece of silk tacked behind a long-forgotten portrait.
The message from an address in Berlin is urgent; though it had to have been written pre-World War II. Curious, Stag and his friend begin to research the address and whomever might have written the message. They trace the address to an apartment, a sealed time capsule that has not been lived in since 1942. And from one phone call to that apartment, the men unleash a nefarious plot and brutal security forces long thought vanquished.
Events begin to cascade without mercy, and Stag—a broken man from the Midwest—finds himself pitted against a vestige of the Third Reich with powerful forces ensuring the propagation of Heydrich’s infamous SD—Nazi’s intelligence agency—in today’s world. Will ordinary-man Stag Maguire prevail in his lone stand against evil?
Indicated as the author’s first published book, it certainly represents the completion of a monumental, well researched and written novel, and a definite introduction of Kenneth to the top of the literary world.
Stag Maguire, the principal protagonist is first met as he approaches rock bottom in a less than successful career as a journalist. He is filled with inertia and not motivated to publish any articles that can enhance his reputation. A friend asks Stag’s help in moving out from the bar he had run and our reluctant hero agrees to do so.
The task opens up an enormous can of worms and provides the basis for a story that is quite distinct from most novels. A portrait taken down from a wall in the bar reveals a piece of paper from long ago saying “help me”. The two are galvanized into action in attempting to find the origin of the paper and determine that it was written by the long-dead mistress of Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi official that was infamous as the architect of the Holocaust which guided the Third Reich into the systematized slaughter of millions of Jews.
Following clues from a variety of sources, the two find that the paper was probably written while the woman that was Heydrich’s mistress was living with him in an apartment in Berlin during WWII. Stag obtains the phone number for the building which is still up and places a call to it, gets no information other than someone offering to deliver a message. The next thing that happens is that someone comes looking for those that made the call, finds Stag’s friend and kills him.
Instead of backing off in the light of his friend’s death, Stag plunges headlong into a situation that includes a worldwide company buying and selling information and the existence of cells of Nazis still active and scattered around the world. From an opening that appears to prelude a story about World War II the novel ramps up to a head rush of events that run through the midpoint of the second world war to today’s world and move from New York to Germany, England, and Bali. A very welcome entree for the author who has already set up the ending in this book to become the basis for more Stag Maguire novels.
4/2020 Paul Lane
A ROOM FULL OF NIGHT by TR Kenneth. Oceanview Publishing; None edition (March 17, 2020). ISBN: 978-1538748145. 352p.