In the dwindling days of World War II, a pack of renegade Hitler Youth children find themselves lost and alone in the mountains of Germany, struggling to survive and claim their victory before the war renders them useless. But, under the combined forces of hunger, exhaustion, and nationalist pride, their leader Hans finds himself having visions of a wolf . . . a wolf who demands a blood sacrifice to ensure victory.
“I ain’t no coward. Just never fell in love with all the blood and guts. All those no good, rotten sights and smells . . . I fear they’ll always be with me, like ghosts. And, talk about mean old b------s . . . ”
Meanwhile, in 1971 Chicago, haunted by his past, John Summer rides the rails of the El, awaiting the arrival of a vicious youth gang, bearing violence and brutality . . . and the question of whether John is seeking redemption . . . or release. And begins to wonder . . . can he even die?
Keaton’s writing draw sharp and clear delineations between the young characters, allowing each to have their own defining characteristics. While some cling to rationality, others draw their resolve from unflagging belief, and still others find themselves slipping into delusions and fantasy as their world changes around them. And, in John Summer, he captures the stoic anguish of a man whose past is eating him alive, even if he can do nothing about it in the present. His violent confrontation with the street gang aboard the El throws his struggle into chilling relief, offering the barest glimpse of possible redemption before that chance is brutally beaten down.
With this intelligent and probing storytelling, Keaton and Herbst have created a tense and moving tale that adds layers of richness with each new piece, and you won’t go wrong in adding this to your "buy list."