Dreidel to the Grave, by Yoel Bereket

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to Yoel Bereket for providing me with a copy of this novel, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Having enjoyed Yoel Bereket’s debut novel, I happily accepted a request by the author to read an early copy of this book as well. Bereket mixes history with politics in a quasi-thriller that pits a man with a troubled past against the behemoth known as Nazism, with a figure at its core that is the embodiment of hate. This journey takes the reader across two continents and explores post-war sentiments about fascism while seeking to close the book on one of the darkest moments in 20th century history. Entertaining and gritty, Bereket’s book will likely appeal to those who like dabbling with a little alternate history while garnering thrills and spills along the way.

David Gal has a unique talent for being able to infiltrate groups to which he would not usually have access. Gal’s sole focus is to extract information and kill those involved, particularly if they still hold firm to their national socialist views. It is nine years since the fall of the Third Reich and many of those men who espoused the eternal nature of Germany’s new way of life are on the run, but still collaborating as best they can. Gal’s goal is to eradicate them as best he can, no matter the amount of bloodshed.

When called to meet with Israel’s prime minister and a handful of others, Gal is tasked with taking down the greatest threat of all; Adolf Hitler. It would seem his suicide in a Berlin bunker was a misdirection and the Führer is still alive, hidden away in Argentina. Armed with his determination, Gal finds his way there and is given a local errand boy to help traverse the vast terrain.

As they hunt, Gal and his companion learn a little more about one another and the intensity of the battle ahead. Hitler’s whereabouts is not widely known, nor is it advertised on roadsigns. Gal will have to use his intuition and some violent outbursts to follow the trail into the rural environs, determined to put a bullet into the head of the man who espoused such hatred. However, there is more than nationalistic pride on the line, as Gal reveals throughout. This is personal and nothing short of complete annihilation will be accepted.

Yoel Bereket does well pulling all the needed elements together in this piece. Part alternate history, part adventure story, the novel keeps the reader connected throughout the narrative. The entertainment value of the story provides something for the reader to enjoy without getting farcical out outlandish. There are certainly some strong sentiments throughout, which become more prevalent as the story advances to its climactic revelations.

David Gal is a strong protagonist and the reader discovers much about the man throughout the narrative. His sole focus is the extermination of the Nazis left over and in hiding, though he is calculating in his approach. Bloodletting is no concern to him, though he seeks to be discreet, so as not to alert too many to his plan. With a more personal undertone woven into the story, the reader gets a glimpse of a delicate backstory that helps propel the larger plot forward.

Bereket also peppers his piece with some strong secondary characters, each of whom plays an essential role in the larger story. Revealing much about the history of the time and the sentiments around Nazi hunting, Bereket develops these characters to push the story along and reveals certain sentiments that are important to better understanding the themes of the novel.

The story itself is a mix of serious and lighthearted, with a definite darkness as it relates to world history. Bereket does well to balance both, while telling a thrilling story that keeps its momentum throughout. With a mix of chapter lengths, the reader is pushed forward, hoping to be a part of this hunt for a ruthless dictator, while also seeing some of the side trips that the protagonist is forced to take. The narrative flows well and there are certainly some moments of gritty dialogue, which only adds to the realism of the overall piece. While this is not high-brow literature, Yoel Bereket can surely entertain throughout, which is surely his primary goal with this piece. I am eager to see what else he has in store for readers in the coming years!

Kudos, Mr. Bereket, for an entertaining piece. I have enjoyed both your novels and hope others soon find out why for themselves!

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons