Publisher: Shadow Work Publishing
Publication Date: 1st June 2016
So very late in the year last year I got sent Thomas S Flowers’ first book in the Subdue series, Dwelling, for review. In case you missed it, I absolutely loved it and you can find a link for the review at the bottom of this page. You can also check out my review of book two in the series, Emerging. If you want a pure overdose of Thomas S Flowers, then you can also check out the Confessions’ interview with him at the link below.
Reinheit is one that I heard so much about so I really just wanted to pick it up for my own reading pleasure instead of it being a review request.
Another reason for stating all of the above is because all of that was done before I read Reinheit, which was before I was asked to write the foreword for the current version. Just getting it out there that I loved this man’s writing before I was asked to do the foreword. I know there are some people out there that would throw an accusation of favouritism about. The rest of you that know me, know that isn’t true.
Anyway, on with the review.
Rebecca Moss has one mission in life; to please her husband, Frank. This generally means her life is easier and she has less bruises to cover.
When she sees an antique Queen Anne high back chair, she just must have it, no matter the cost. When she discovers that the chair’s last owner was a Nazi General responsible for some of the worst atrocities during World War II, she is still not put off and buys it for her beloved Frank.
Although Major Eric Schroder is long gone, he owned the chair for a reason.
That reason is still very much alive.
One thing I always comment on in a book by Thomas Flowers is his flawless character writing. Reinheit was his first novel and I am so happy to see that this element of his writing was present from the very beginning.
This story is set in two different eras in time. We have a section set on the front line during the second World War spanning 1941 and 1942. In this we have only two main characters. Major Eric Schroder and his lieutenant, Braun. Major Schroder is a dedicated SS officer who believes totally in the Furhrer’s cause and what he is trying to achieve. Vicious in one sense, he also has secrets. Secrets that would have him executed without trial in the world he serves. Braun is a man trying to do his duty but when that duty involves the total destruction of any Jew living, the sense of duty is overtaken by his sense of humanity.
In the present day, our two main characters are Rebecca Moss and her husband, Frank. Rebecca is a timid woman in one sense but more powerful than she could ever imagine in others. The sort of person that would flourish in a totally different way if she was in a totally different situation. Frank is just vile. An over confident, self-righteous prick who believes he is better than everyone and dishes out abuse to Rebecca whenever he feels like it, just to teach her lessons.
There is one other, mysterious old man who keeps popping up. You have no idea who he is or what his purpose is until much later in the story. I had an idea early on who he was. I was sort of right but it in no way spoilt the story for me.
The plot? As well as the story being set in two different eras in time, the plot also has two very distinct sides to it.
The easy part is the story of the chair. It changes ownership throughout time and creates its own history due to something that is connected with it. Something evil. The chair may move around the world and have many owners but the inherent evil remains. If it obviously falls into the hands of someone who is evil in themselves, like Frank, well, you can only imagine the effects it might have.
The difficult bit is the direction in which the story moves but it is also the clever bit. This bit is also a trait you will see in other books by Thomas S Flowers. He likes to tell a good story but he likes to tackle stories while dealing with subjects that a lot of other authors wouldn’t touch in a million years. In his later books, for example, we see many people dealing with PTSD. Not an easy subject to write about let alone do it in a sensitive manor.
Reinheit deals with two types of abuse. In the World War II scenes it deals with the Holocaust. Not the sort of subject that a lot of us like to think about never mind read about. Imagine what it must be like to write about it? Thomas Flowers pulls it off spectacularly. He makes it horrific. He makes you want to cry. He makes you ashamed. But within all of that, he does it in such a way that sensitivity just oozes from the pages. It’s not glorified in any way shape or form. It shows the struggles within the minds of the people involved in carrying it out. It shows the sickening reality of what could have happened. It is described perfectly to give you a sense of horror and despair, without you feeling it was overboard at all. Bravo Mr Flowers.
In the present day scenes, we see images of domestic or physical abuse. Whatever you want to call it, it’s wrong. Again this is not a subject I can imagine a lot of people feeling confident writing about. Again, Thomas S Flowers pulls it off masterfully. You want to do all of the above from the War scenes. Cry, feel horror, feel anger, feel ashamed. For a writer to make you feel genuine anger towards a fictional character to the point where you have to walk away from the book for a while to calm down, that’s some pretty powerful writing right there.
These scenes highlight the plight of many women who have to suffer this type of abuse daily. Highlight being the appropriate word. Not once did it come across as anything but brutal for the victim. Bravo again Mr Flowers.
But with all the hidden messages and deep and meaningful thoughts that this story will plant in your head, it is a bloody fantastic read, again.
It’s like old skool horror in the sense of having an object that is possessed by some sort of inherent evil that travels everywhere with it. It touches on the occult from the Nazi perspective right through to the good old fashioned scare the pants off of you present day horror, where people can’t control or stop the evil.
Add into that mix the beautifully written scenes with the sensitive issues and when you have finished this you will look like a cartoon character who has just had a bomb go off in their face. Your hair will be everywhere and your face black and you will have no idea what just happened to you.
To summarise: an ancient evil spans decades to bring terror and despair to anyone who comes into contact with a chair. Adding in the sensitive issues, this is a very powerful story that will hold your attention and your emotions to the very end.
★★★★★ yup, superb!
If you would like to help support Confessions of a Reviewer, then please consider using the links below to buy Reinheit or any other books from Thomas. This not only supports me but also lets me know how many people actually like to buy books after reading my reviews.
Rebecca Moss never questioned the purchase of the strange seductive armchair. She wanted to please Frank. But the armchair has a dark purpose. Nazi officer Major Eric Schröder believed fervently in Hitler's vision of purity. Now the chair has passed to Frank, an abusive thug who has his own twisted understanding of patriotism. There are those who want to destroy the armchair, to end its curse. But can the armchair be stopped before it completes its work?
CONFESSIONS REVIEWS OTHER BOOKS BY THOMAS S FLOWERS
Thomas S Flowers was born in Walter Reed Medical Center, Maryland to a military family. He grew up in RAF Chicksands, England and then later Fort Meade, and finally Roanoke, Virginia. Thomas graduated high school in 2000 and on September 11, 2001, joined the U.S. Army. From 2001-2008, Thomas served in the military police corps, with one tour in South Korea and three tours serving in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. While stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, between deployments, Thomas met his wife and following his third and final tour to Iraq, decided to re-join the civilian ranks. Thomas was discharged honorably in February 2008 and moved to Houston, Texas where he found employment and attended night school. In 2014, Thomas graduated with a Bachelor in Arts in History from University of Houston-Clear Lake. Thomas blogs at www.machinemean.org, commenting and reviewing movies, books, shows, and historical content.
Thomas is living a rather simple and quite life with his beautiful wife and amazing daughter, just south of Houston, Texas.