Eastbourne novelist offers tale of Holocaust survivor with a secret
Eastbourne author Geoff Cook is in print with The Last Rights (Rotercracker Copyrights, £12.99) – the story of a Holocaust survivor who has harboured a secret since the end of the war.
Geoff, aged 75, explains: “I had an idea for a story line about WWII for many years, but could never put the various angles together. It was when I had just published my last novel Deaf Wish in 2019 that the pieces began to fit.
“There were three events which came together to give me the idea for the novel. Initially, I had read a book titled Nazi Gold which covers the transportation of Nazi treasures by train from Berlin to Munich just as the war was ending. By modern day values, the amounts involved were staggering (many hundreds of millions) and vast sums were either stolen or lost during the ensuing chaos as the Allied forces advanced. Secondly, the 75th anniversary of the end of the war and the liberation of the concentration camps generated publicity and the horrific pictures reminded me of an interest I have had for most of my life in the Nazis and the Holocaust.
“It has always amazed me that in a country I knew well from my commercial dealings, how a nation could have been brainwashed to practise or condone genocide on such a massive and premeditated scale within my lifetime. My reading at this level involved the tales of a Holocaust victim and the story of Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor known as The Angel of Death.
“Lastly, I was in Lisbon in 1988, shortly after the devastating fire in the city centre. I thought what if a bank had been involved (it wasn’t) and it was obliged to close its safe deposit facility? Portugal was neutral during the war. Just think what treasures might have been secreted in that safe deposit and were now coming to light?
“From there, it needed only a short fuse to join all these strands together into the plot for my novel, the story of a Holocaust survivor who has harboured a secret since the end of the war that is now in danger of being exposed with financial and political implications.
“For many and varied reasons, there is a continuing interest in WWII, Nazis and the Holocaust. The barbarism and horror to one side, the stories of human suffering and struggle amidst the tragedy are always inspiring and generate interest amongst adult readers.
“It is a stand-alone novel. However, I introduced as private investigators the two protagonists from my novel The Sator Square as the conduit for driving the contemporary era of the plot. It is not necessary for the reader of The Last Rights to have read the previous novel, but there are links to these characters which may stimulate interest.
“I have written four novels and two plays. Apart from the current novel, I wrote Deaf Wish in 2019, the story of a man who deserted his family 16 years earlier and is now trying to make amends. The Sator Square deals with a terrorist plot to kill a member of the Royal family and was published in 2017. My earlier work, Pieces for the Wicked, concerned an accountant embroiled in a money laundering scheme and was released as in 2010.”