A respected retired businessman in Winnipeg, well liked by his neighbors, is shattered to receive mysterious photographs in the mail.Photos of him as a young man, in his SS uniform.The Special Prosecutions Unit in Ottawa is dedicated to investigating and indicting Nazi war criminals in Canada. However they never manage to successfully prosecute a single one.Dozens of lawyers, historians, policemen, and clerk amass hundreds of files on suspects, most of whom inconveniently die.Increasingly demoralized by the prospect of the inevitable closing of the unit, many at SPU begin to look forward to the prospect of prosecuting criminals who are not wheel-chair bound.Dennis Connor, a historian, is eventually left as the last employee of the SPU, charged with the closing all of the files.But one file he cannot give up.The crimes Friedrich Reile committed with an SS unit on the Eastern Front are so terrible that Connor cannot close the file and forget them.And so with no legal recourse, Connor begins to send anonymous letters to Reile.The letters and photos bring back memories, and Reile tells his story of how an ordinary seventeen-year-old boy gradually turns into a war criminal, a mass murderer.But Reile, for all his monstrous crimes, is not a monster.Just as Connor, who wishes to be a crusading knight in shining armor, is in fact a cynical bureaucrat leading a joyless life.By showing the human aspect of both these men, Peter Hogg brings a new, deeper element into what could have been a familiar story.With surprising occasional satire, juxtaposing mundane office life with terrible crimes against humanity, this deserved winner of the Robertson Davies/Chapter prize explores the complexities of two men`s relationship with evil.AUTHORBIO: Peter Hogg is a Criminal Prosecutor in Vancouver, Canada, specializing in gang and drug related prosecutions.Originally from Manitoba, he has worked for the Department of Justice in Winnipeg and Calgary.From 1993 to 1995 he worked in Ottawa for the War Crimes Unit.This is his first novel.
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