Ten Years Gone

Previous article
Next article

By Jonathan Dunsky

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 survive post-war life in Tel Aviv.

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

When a small, faded, thin woman — Henrietta Ackerland — asks for his help finding her son in July 1949, Lapid listens with a sinking heart. He feels, as vividly as he feels the scorching July heat, that this is a futile mission that will end in heart-break.

Ackerland tells him she last saw her infant son Willie in late February 1939. She gave him to a former schoolmate, Esther Grunewald, who was leaving Germany for Palestine on a ship. Ackerland planned to follow them shortly after. Her husband had been beaten and arrested on Kristallnacht (Nov. 9-10, 1938).

She evaded arrest by getting false papers, moving from Berlin to Frankfurt and living as a German. Because of her blonde hair and blue eyes, she survived the war. She boarded a ship for Israel, but ended up in a refugee camp on Cyprus when the British blocked the ship before it reached Israel.

When she finally arrives in May 1949, Ackerland has no idea how to find Grunewald and her son. She places an ad in a newspaper without results. She talks to policemen. One searches the civil register, death certificates for the past 10 years and criminal records without finding Grunewald.

To Lapid, that just proves that Grunewald and Willie had neither lived nor died in Israel. Ackerland insists that if her son were dead, she would know it in her heart. Lapid, whose wife, two daughters, sister and mother had been gassed at Auschwitz, can’t bring himself to refuse her.

Lapid’s investigation takes readers on startling twists and turns. He finds himself digging into the secrets of the Irgun and its efforts to thwart the British for Israel’s independence and navigating passionate loyalties, lies and domestic betrayals.

His search for Grunewald and Willie takes place against a backdrop of 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 from childhood, 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 the summer of 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.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here