Congratulations on your latest book!
Let's check out the details, shall we?
Here is the book blurb for The Noose, book one of The Devil's Bookkeepers.
Never again to anyone.
"What Ann Frank's Diary did to put a face to the plight of Dutch Jews in WWII, The Devil's Bookkeepers does for the Jew in the Lodz ghetto." – Rita Boehm, Award-Winning Author
“We need this book now more than ever.” – Wanda Luthman, Award-Winning Author
Love and courage in the face of unrelenting terror as four men in the Lodz Ghetto struggle to document the tightening of the noose under Nazi rule. Written by the son of Holocaust survivors, this stunning novel based on events described in the Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto (Yale University Press, 1984), asks what you would have sacrificed to be one of the few to survive.
Desperate people do desperate things…
“…an emotionally riveting account of life inside the ghetto… You cannot read this story and remain unaffected.” – Kimberlee J Benart, 5 Stars - Readers’ Favorite
“… a riveting, emotionally charged novel… an amazing accomplishment… This is a must-read...” – Louis Emond, English Professor
Release Date: February 6, 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction
Sounds like an intriguing read here!
Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/3GxJnK
Let's hear from the author, Mark H. Newhouse, about his new book.
This is a novel of love, friendship, and courage, which follows the timeline of the tightening of the Nazi noose that took place in the Lodz Ghetto in Poland, beginning in 1941, as described in the Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto, edited by Lucjan Dobroszycki, (Yale University Press, 1984). Some character names are real, while most attributes, conversations, and actions are fictitious since little is known about the authors who wrote this little-known record of the suffering, they and those they loved, experienced. The characters’ behaviors and relationships are figments of my imagination, unfortunately, the historical facts are real. These men, hired to record the daily events in the ghetto - my parents were among the few who survived of more than 250,000 residents - wanted to survive, love and enjoy life, but sealed off from the rest of the world by barbed wire and armed German guards, they risked all to serve their dictatorial leader, whose actions to save the ghetto are hotly debated even today. Was he a saint who saved the ghetto or the devil who to save himself enslaved others, helping their enemy?
Friends and loved ones vanished without explanation, and hope flared and was extinguished by terrible uncertainty and desperation. Of approximately two hundred thousand human beings who suffered in the Lodz ghetto, less than five thousand survived. Two of the survivors were my parents. I dedicate this work to them, the grandparents and relatives I never knew, and all victims of hate and genocide past, present, and future. The Holocaust is not only about Jews during World War 2, but a warning and call for tolerance for everyone. I hope this story will melt your heart, touch your soul and keep you awake at night. I hope it will inspire readers to read the original Chronicle, written under the noses of the Nazis, so we may say:
“Never again to anyone.”
SUMMARY OF BOOK 1: THE DEVIL’S BOOKKEEPERS: THE NOOSE
An engineer, in love with his much younger wife, is thrilled when he is offered a job working for the mysterious and powerful Chairman of the Jewish ghetto, a sealed-off slum in Poland created by the Nazis as a holding tank for Jews with a purpose known only to them. His joy to be finally employed is tested when he meets the ‘difficult’ men he must work with on a secret task that if discovered by the Nazis working in the same building, will get him expelled to one of their labor camps, or executed. His support for the drastic policies of the Chairman, using his police to brutally enforce German demands, is tested by a young and adventurous coworker and his wife, who now pregnant, sounds as if she's echoing the criticisms of the younger man he introduced to her. As their situation verges from hopeful to horror, the engineer becomes desperate to save his loved ones from the uncertainty of their fate with the Nazi noose tightening. Can anything save the ghetto? Is the Chairman a saint or the devil?
What would you do if faced with these life and death decisions?
The Devil’s Bookkeepers is a love story, a story of friendship, and sacrifice that readers have called “grippingly suspenseful”, “an amazing accomplishment”, and “it kept me up all night.” As one reader said, “This book made me mad…in a good way.”
What else does Mark have to say?
THE STORY BEHIND THE DEVIL'S BOOKKEEPERS
The inspiration for The Devil’s Bookkeepers was a mysterious accident. I was cleaning out a closet in my office when a book I had placed in the thrift store pile opened. I looked down and saw it was autographed for my mother, an Auschwitz survivor, who never talked about her experiences during the Holocaust with my brother and me. The book was a monster she gave me shortly before she passed away, which I never looked at until it opened. I looked at the cover and was surprised to see it was The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto, translated and edited by Lucjan Dobroszycki, a mouthful-of-a-name, published by Yale University Press in 1984, about the ghetto my parents had survived.
I began to read the collection of entries, almost all anonymous and brief statements about the daily events in the ghetto. Most of it would have been boring, depressing details of their existence, to many readers, but I was getting a timeline of the desperation of the ghetto dwellers who were herded into this slum surrounded by barbed wire and brutal German guards, not knowing it was a holding tank for the Nazis from which more than two hundred thousand Jews were sent to their death. It was the first time in my life I had a sense of what my parents, two of the less than 5,000 survivors of the Lodz ghetto, experienced. It was also my introduction to the mysterious and still controversial Jewish ghetto administrator, Rumkowski, who brutally used his police to enforce German demands and turn the ghetto into a supplier for the enemy.
Bitten by his story and eager to learn more about how my parents survived, I began to research the writers of this incredible account, but soon found there was very little known about them. As Dobroszycki said, they were largely lost in anonymity. Something inside told me I had to try and capture their story, but it was so out of my league as a children’s writer that I decided to do it for my children and grandchildren, as a way to get them to learn about my parents and what they went through. With extensive notes and the Chronicle at my side I began to type and to my amazement, within thirty days, I’d written the first draft of 700 pages of a novel that made me angry, laugh, and cry. When I shared chapters with my writing group, their gasps and eagerness to hear more convinced me that I had to change my mind and share this book, the most challenging and important work of my life, because it touches souls and melts hearts with a very human story of love in a time of terror that is a tribute to the Holocaust victims and survivors, but also a call for tolerance for all people.
I decided to publish the book in three suspenseful parts and test it on Readers’ Favorite, where it received a 5 Star review and was “Highly recommended”, and on Kindle, where it is also receiving 5 Star reviews and has been my self-selling book ever. Beta readers have called it “Mark’s masterpiece”, “Gripping suspense”; “An amazing accomplishment” and reported, “It kept me up all night.”
I feel grateful I was given the privilege of sharing this story, but honestly, after writing 700 pages in 30 days, I think it was the spirits of the relatives I never knew, who wrote this book for me. As readers have said, it is a story that “will haunt for the rest of their lives.”
Here is an an excerpt...
Lodz Ghetto, Poland – December 10, 1940
It was the Devil’s signature on the note. Hands trembling, I hid it from
Miriam, my young wife, in my coat pocket. We were relatively new to the ghetto,
and I was afraid the summons meant we would be driven out of the barbed wire
enclosed slum, as we had been chased from the city that surrounded it. Miriam’s
parents had given their daughter to me to protect, but there wasn’t any safety
for Jews in Europe, only uncertainty under Nazi
The thin soles of my shoes were little protection from the cobblestone
gutters as I walked to the headquarters of the Jewish ghetto administration. I
thought back to any actions, any statements I might've made that could have
gotten me this unwanted attention. The rumors were that Chairman Rumkowski’s
spies were everywhere. Had one informed on me? Had a neighbor turned me in to
curry favor? What would Miriam do if I were imprisoned? How would she manage if
I were sent away? People disappeared, and nobody ever heard from them again.
The headquarters of Chairman Rumkowski, the Eldest of the Jews, was as run-down
as the rest of the ghetto’s buildings. The double doors had yellow Stars of
David crudely painted across their rough wood surface. The star, a symbol
of what was once the famous Jewish kingdom, was now used to brand us as
undesirables by the Nazi regime.
There was a small crowd outside. Everyone wore yellow stars on their right rear
shoulders and on the chests of their tattered coats. Some men were seeking
work, any kind of work. A few were there to protest the stream of decrees
issued by the Chairman to enforce the occupier’s rules. I steered clear of
politics. Miriam had to be my first concern, my only concern.
Two guards in black
caps, wearing thick coats with wide armbands, stared balefully at the crowd.
Members of Rumkowski’s Order Service, his personal police force, they were
armed with thick black rubber clubs. Like all Jews, the police were forbidden
to have other weapons by the Germans. They did not hesitate to use the clubs and
were almost as feared as the Gestapo that were observing nearby.
“Identification?” A guard demanded.
“I’ve been summoned to
see the Eldest of the Jews.” I held up my letter, hoping my hands weren’t
The Jewish policeman took it, examined the document, returned it, and said,
I pressed between the burly guards, eyeing the black clubs.
“Your business?” Another policeman ordered in the lobby, which had an odor of
rotting fish. Ah, what I would have given for a piece of fish, even partly
I handed him my summons. I felt nauseous. Nerves.
“The Archives.” He shoved my documents toward me and pointed down the hall.
“Thank you, sir,” I said.
He didn’t respond.
I walked past a long row
of closed doors, searching for the Archives. None of the people rushing through
the hall smiled. None said hello. Some appeared dazed. In a way, we all were.
At the end of the hall,
I spotted a cardboard sign. I wanted to leave but couldn’t ignore the
Chairman’s summons. I knocked lightly on the door.
A tall man, with a clean-shaven face, shiny black hair, and slender build,
greeted me. “I’m Henryk Neftalin, Deputy to the Chairman, The Eldest of the Jews.
Please come in.”
The room didn’t look as if it was set up for interrogations. There
were three half-empty shelving units along the walls. I was surprised to see
books stacked in short, uneven, piles on the floor, with more on a desk near the
far wall. “You have books?”
Neftalin smiled. “You
may look at them. Books are my passion.”
“I thought all books
were confiscated by the Germans,” I remarked, afraid to touch any lest they
crumble to dust.
“We preserve what we can while they allow.”
I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t understand why I was here.
Neftalin settled in his chair. “Please sit. I organized the Archives, or more
formally, The Department of the Archives, a year ago.” He shoved several folders
aside and then flipped one open. “I’ve studied your work registration. We are
looking for someone who is highly organized and discrete.”
“A job, sir?” I hadn’t worked since being forced into the ghetto six months
earlier. Miriam would be ecstatic.
Neftalin peered at me. “You didn’t answer my question.”
“I’m sorry, sir. What was the question?”
“Are you discreet? Are you someone we can trust?”
Strange question, I thought, squirming on the hard seat of the chair. “Oh, yes
sir. I’m very trustworthy.”
Neftalin said, “Even if it means risking your life?”
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share The Devil’s Bookkeepers with you. It has been an extraordinary
experience for me and I hope you will share this story of love, courage and
suspense with your friends and family, so together we may say, “Never again to
anyone.” Book 2: The Noose Tightens,
will be out soon. The ending is a shocker that you will not believe happened,
but it did.
Sadly, all of the events did happen, but must never happen again.
Other offers from Mark...
THE FUNNIEST MYSTERIES EVER!!!
Please visit Mark's Amazon author page for all his award-winning books
Welcome to Monstrovia: Can you help the lawyer for mythical monsters solve his case?
The Case of the Disastrous Dragon: Disaster awaits if you can't help Jasper Doofinch save a dragon.
The Case of the Crazy Chickenscratches: He turned his house into a zoo, but is he crazy?
SOON: The Case of the Killer Knights
LOOKING FOR A GREAT WRITING CONFERENCE?
Visit floridawriters.net for the Florida Writers Association and Florida Youth Writers conferences in Orlando, October, 2019. Check out our contests which started on February 1st.
So, what else are readers saying about The Devil's Bookkeepers, Book 1: The Noose?
Love and courage in a "gripping" novel that makes you feel as if you are living in a ghetto under Nazi occupation.
"An amazing accomplishment..."
"I couldn't go to sleep."
"This book makes me mad in a good way."
5 STARS READERS FAVORITE - "Highly recommended."
Read it on Kindle. Soon in print. Your reviews are appreciated.
Get your copy of this historical fiction novel today, readers!
Love and suspense in a time of terror as the Nazi noose tightens around them and their loved ones…
About the Author:
Mark is a multi-award-winning author of books and stories for children and adults. He was born in Germany to Holocaust survivors. His parents lived through the Lodz ghetto, Auschwitz and Buchenwald, but he lost his grandparents and most of his relatives during the Holocaust, which caused him to devote his career and life to helping children as an award-winning teacher, and with books that feature underdog young heroes overcoming obstacles with intelligence and courage rather than violence. His mysteries, Welcome to Monstrovia; The Case of the Disastrous Dragon; The Case of the Crazy Chickenscratches, are the adventures of a young boy, sent to live with his strange uncle after his parents’ divorce, only to find he must become the assistant to the lawyer for mythical monsters and fictional folk in comical cases that could only take place in Monstrovia, a secret sector of the United States where anything can happen. The series has won awards from Readers' Favorite, The Royal Palm Literary Awards of the Florida Writers Association and was voted a Top Ten Children's Book in a Readers Poll. Book 4, The Case of the Killer Knights will be published soon. Teacher of the Year (New York State Reading Association, 1989,) he is state Chairperson for the Florida Writers Association Youth Program and enjoys helping other authors, parents and children.