Monday, June 4, 2012

"Don't Ever Get Old"

Daniel Friedman's writing has been published at McSweeney's, Yankee Pot Roast, Science Creative Quarterly and The Big Jewel.

He applied the Page 69 Test to Don't Ever Get Old, his first novel in the Buck Schatz Series, and reported the following:
Page 69 of Don't Ever Get Old is actually in the middle of one of my favorite scenes in the book. The hero of the story, 87 year-old WW2 veteran Baruch "Buck" Schatz, is hunting fugitive Nazi officer Heinrich Ziegler. Earlier in the book, his grandson, William Tecumseh "Tequila" Schatz contacted the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and discovered that their dossier on Ziegler is missing. So, they tracked down a former Wiesenthal Center employee named Avram Silver, who had worked on the matter. Silver was living in Israel, now working for the Israeli government in an unspecified capacity Buck called him long-distance, and the conversation turned nasty because Buck thought Silver was withholding information.

Two days later, a six-and-a-half foot tall Hasidic Jew with a Russian accent shows up at Buck's house, claiming to be a dignitary from the Israeli Diaspora ministry. Buck immediately distrusts this guy.

Here's the excerpt:
I looked at the way those big, sinewy hands folded around the coffee mug, and I considered all possible implications of Avram Silver’s good job with the Israeli government. Forty-eight hours had elapsed since the former Nazi-hunter hung up his phone on me and Tequila. Had he set this behemoth loose on us?

“So when did you make aliyah?” I asked.

“I emigrated to the Jewish homeland in 1992,” Steinblatt said.

“Right after the Soviet Union collapsed.”

“Yes. It was tumultuous time. I feared for the safety of my family.”

“Because you were Jews?”

He paused a tick before answering, and I saw feral intelligence flickering in his dark, deep-set eyes.


He had to be ex-Russian military or former KGB. An undercover Mossad assassin, right there at my damned kitchen table. Or maybe he was a simple flack for the State of Israel who just happened to be unusually large. My doctor had warned me to report any paranoid feelings; they were an early sign of dementia among the elderly.

I cleared my throat.

“So, who was it again who told you to come by and talk to me?”

“I spoke to someone with the Memphis Jewish Federation,” he said.

“You didn’t talk to Avram Silver?”

His face hung slack and expressionless. “I don’t know who that is.”

I took a long sip from my coffee.
Learn more about the book and author at Daniel Friedman's blog.

--Marshal Zeringue