Ten Years Gone

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By Jonathan Dunsky; reviewed by Jeannette Hartman

Private investigator Adam Lapid is a former Hungarian police detective and a decorated soldier who served in the Negev Desert during Israel’s War of Independence.

He is also a survivor of Auschwitz, struggling to find a life in post-war Tel Aviv.

His nights are torn by nightmares. His days haunted by ghosts. His soul heavy with losses and experiences he cannot share.

When a small, faded woman — Henrietta Ackerland — asks him to find her son in July 1949, Lapid listens with a sinking heart. This is a futile and tragic mission, he feels as vividly as he feels the scorching July heat.

As life for Jews in Nazi Germany becomes ever more dangerous, Henrietta gave her baby son Willie to a former schoolmate, Esther Grunewald. Esther was leaving for Palestine in late February 1939. Henrietta and her husband planned to follow shortly.

But Henrietta’s husband was arrested on Kristallnacht (Nov. 9-10, 1938). Henrietta survived on by getting false papers, moving to Frankfurt and leaving as a German. After the war, she followed Esther and Willie to Palestine. But her ship was blocked by the British and she was sent to a refugee camp on Cyprus.

When she finally gets to Israel in May 1949, Henrietta has no idea how to find Esther and Willie. She advertises in a newspaper without results. She talks to policemen. One does a search of the civil register, death certificates for the past 10 years and criminal records. No luck.

To Lapid, that proves that Esther and Willie neither lived nor died in Israel. Henrietta insists she would know in her heart if her son were dead. Lapid, whose wife, two daughters, sisters and mother had been murdered at Auschwitz, can’t refuse her.

His investigation makes startling twists and turns. Lapid digs into the secrets of the Irgun and its efforts to thwart the British for Israel’s independence. As he searches, he must navigate passionate loyalties, lies and domestic betrayals.

In the background of this story is the newborn State of Israel, flooded with immigrants, struggling to feed its citizens and tame a thriving black market. Sitting on a bus, Lapid hears Italian, Yiddish and Polish.

“That was the soundtrack of Tel Aviv, a cocktail of languages and dialects and accents all pouring past and into each other.” He uses metered phones in drugstores or buys a beer in a bar to use a phone. Sympathetic witnesses feed him rugelach and lemonade as he pounds the pavement.

Lapid is a detective in the grand tradition of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe and Ross Macdonald’s Lew Archer. A lonely, quiet watcher, Lapid applies his own style of justice and vengeance.

TEN YEARS GONE was followed by six more Adam Lapid books:

About the Author: Jonathan Dunsky (1978 – )

Born in Tel Aviv, Jonathan Dunsky grew up in a suburb of Jerusalem. He moved around within Israel and spent a few years in Amsterdam before returning to Israel where he now lives with his wife and two sons.

He served four years in the IDF before going to work for various high tech firms, starting his own search engine optimization business and lecturing in Tel Aviv University’s business school.

An avid reader, he wrote his first novel when he was 18. It took another 18 years before he wrote his first two published novels, The Dead Sister and The Auschwitz Violinist, in 2015.

In addition to his Adam Lapid series, Dunsky wrote The Favor; A Tale of Friendship and MurderFamily TiesGrandma Rachel’s Ghosts, Rabbi Shmuel vs. the Lizard Demon Queen, Shootout with Death; A Fantasy Story Set in the Old West, The Omission of Her Majesty’s History, Tommy’s Touch: A Fantasy Love Story and The Payback Girl: a Vigilante Justice Thriller.

#jonathandunsky  #tenyearsgone  #jeannettehartman


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