The German
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The German

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4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  126 ratings  ·  32 reviews
From the Lambda Literary Award and Bram Stoker Award-winning author Lee Thomas come a new thrilling novel. 1944 - Barnard, Texas. At the height of World War II, a killer preys on the young men of a quiet Texas town. The murders are calculated, vicious, and they are just beginning. Sheriff Tom Rabbit and his men are baffled and the community he serves is terrified of the mo...more
Paperback, 290 pages
Published March 15th 2011 by Lethe Press (first published March 2011)
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Paul Nelson
I read The German by Lee Thomas immediately after Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon, both were fantastic for different reasons and The German is altogether a much darker coming of age story.

The story takes place in a small town called Barnard in Texas during the Second World War, as you would imagine the war casts a big shadow over even the smallest towns, patriotism is prevalent in a town with more than its fair share of German ex-patriots and like all foreigners, more than anything they just want...more
Kate O'Hanlon
First things first, goodreads has for some reason indicated this book belongs to the genre 'mm romance'. I cannot stress how much I do not want to have a discussion about the rise in popularity of mm romance in recent years, how as genres rise in popularity books that really ought to fall outside them become identified with them, either deliberately to boost sales, or more haphazardly as reflects the essential fuzziness of human made categories, I most especially do not want to discuss the relat...more
Ellen
The German by Lee Thomas (Lethe) is a chilling, well-told novel about a mysterious German ex-soldier living in a small U.S. town during the height of World War II, when tensions and suspicions are at a peak against German refugees, and even citizens of German ancestry. Who better to scapegoat for the brutal murder of a young man than a foreigner, who is also considered a sexual deviant?
Nick Cato
Set in a small Texas town during World War 2, THE GERMAN twists racial and sexual prejudices into a tightly woven thriller that had me guessing until the end.

A couple of young men are found dead, one disembowled and the other hanged, both with snuffboxes stuffed in their mouhts that contain messages written in German. Naturally, the German citizens of the town are suspect, especially Ernst Lang, a quiet yet authoratative man who lives across the street from young Tim Randall.

Tim's father is over...more
Erastes
It took me a good while to read this book, since I started it in July 2011 and finished it in December! In my defence I wasn’t reading it all the time, I don’t read that slowly, honest. It was that I was expecting it to all go a lot darker than it did (although it does go to some dark places) and I’m happy that my anticipation didn’t match what actually happened. Although, as I say, it’s not full of fluffy rabbits.
Ok, so basically it’s set in 1944 in a smallish Texan town and is told in three di...more
Hilcia
Whoa! Fantastic thriller/suspense.

The German captured my attention with its bone chilling prologue set in Germany and once begun, I couldn't put it down. However, this fantastic thriller by Lee Thomas is set in a small town in Texas during WWII where two young men are found skinned and disemboweled with snuffboxes stuffed in their mouths and inside them, notes written in German. You can only imagine how the townspeople react, particularly since there is a small German community residing among t...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
Ernst Lang is a middle-aged German immigrant living in a small Central Texas town during the last years of WW II. In 1933, Lang was executed in Munich during HItler's purge of those Stormtroopers whose devotion to the "socialism" of National Socialsm was proving to be a problem. Lang, after being shot three times in the chest, found himself a night later standing naked beside his grave. A resourceful and trained soldier, he got himself from Munich to New York, then New Orleans and finally to Tex...more
Adam Dunn
I loved this book more than I’ve loved any book in a while. I highly recommend it and Lee Thomas is definitely on my authors to watch list.

The book is an original story that is extremely well written, I found myself wondering how Thomas wasn’t more well known. He earned a well-deserved LAMBDA award nomination for this novel so I suppose he’s getting there. The book reminded me of two other stores, at first for the slightly creepy narration and possibility of something supernatural I was reminded...more
Gerry Burnie
Gerry B's Book Reviews - http://gerrycan.wordpress.com

I first spotted The German by Lee Thomas [Lethe Press, 2011] in the fall of 2011, but it is only recently that I got around the reading it. At first blush it appeared to be too dark to prompt my immediate attention—and it is quite dark in places—but overriding this is its insightful and uncompromising look at human nature, of which the gory violence is only a symptom.

In his own words, Thomas describes it this way:

Cruelty is not taught. It is...more
Steve
The book consists of several characters, whose silken tales of their own remembrance of the story, enter twine to create a webbing of mystery, shock, confusion, anger, and sadness.
The book begins with a somewhat confusing start, but as it continues, it entraps the reader into the aforementioned web. You want to know what happens next, what the views of the other characters saw & felt, and what would happen next.
If I had some things to be critical on this novel, it would be that each chapter...more
Paul
The German is an accomplished, gut-wrencher of a novel. Ernst Lang is a former German soldier who fled the Nazis and relocated to a small town outside of Austin, TX. The year is 1944 and someone is killing boys and leaving pro-Nazi notes in the victims mouths. The locals quickly display an all too familiar and realistic display of xenophobia and homophobia in accusing/confronting Lang and other Germans who live in the area.

Lee does a fantastic job with wide cast of characters and shifting POVs,...more
Clay Scott Brown
This years LAMBDA winner of the Best Speculative Fiction Novel, The German By Lee Thomas lacks the goods.

Surprising was my reaction to Mr. Thomas’ winning entry. There is very little of Fantasy/Horror or Science Fiction to The German, ostensibly a period piece with a serial killer.

Told from a 3 person first person perspective, The German actually reminded me of The Cypress House By Michael Kortya there as here the period is about the same, America during the Hitler years. In the Kortya review I...more
Dwayne Baird
A true tale of prejudice, ignorance, and murder. Once the story got rolling its hard to stop reading.
Debra
This was my first book by Thomas, and he reminded me a bit of Jack Ketchum. He doesn't avoid the gruesome stuff and keeps your, sometimes unwilling, eyes glued to the pages, in spite of everything on the pages. This book was tightly plotted and had great character-development. I couldn't figure out whether I liked Ernst or not; maybe he deserved what happened to him. I'll leave that for you to decide. An excellent read.
Barbara Elsborg
It was a nightmare finding this book on GR - no matter what I typed in, it wouldn't come up!! But here it is. A very unusual story that for a while I wasn't sure I liked but the more I thought about it, the more the book's strengths became apparent. Though liking it is maybe a step too far. I admire it more than like.
There's a metaphysical aspect to the tale - how is the German still alive? From what we are told, we have to assume he's dead and yet he's not. I came to think he was a symbol for...more
Chris
4.5 stars. Very good historical gay suspense/horror set in small-town Texas during WWII, when the brutal murder of two boys has emotions running high against the Germans in town. Be prepared for a very disturbing read.
Lee Thompson
The German is a layered book full of sub-text that I loved the hell out of. It's an easy reminder of why Lee Thomas is on my list of favorite authors.
Rena Mason
This is one of the best books I've read in at least five years. I loved every bit of it, particularly the prose. It was beautifully written. The storyline and overall concept are excellent, and the author does a fantastic job of making it more than believable. I really got to know and love the characters, The German and the sheriff.

The story takes place in a small town in Texas where there is a German subgroup that is under close scrutiny because of the war. Murders of young boys begin occurrin...more
Chris
The German, a psychological thriller and serial murder mystery set in a small Texas town during the aftermath of World War II, is a grisly, engrossing page-turner from Lambda awarding-winning author Lee Thomas.

The year is 1944 and the residents of Barnard, Texas have been shaken by a series of gruesome murders, where the victims are all young boys and the assailant has left behind clues written in German. Tempers flare as the town becomes divided among the sizable number of Germans in Barnard an...more
Indie Reviews

The German by Lee Thomas had been on my reading list since its release by Lethe Press in March 2011. I was finally able to get to it in late 2012 and read it in virtually one sitting. As a long-time reader of the suspense/thriller and horror fiction, over the years I've read my share of both well-written and utterly forgettable stories in these sub-genres. However, it's been a long while since I've read a story of this calibre of excellence.

Set in 1944 at the height of the Second World War, the...more
Kenneth Ingram
I really liked this book. Mr. Thomas weaves together history with some interesting characters which he develops as the story unfolds. This was a great read for me. The storyline caught me, and kept me interested. I highly recommend this one.
Vince Liaguno
In The German (Lethe Press, March 2011), a savage serial killer forces the denizens of a small World War II-era Texas town to confront their own homophobia and xenophobia in this unsettling portrait of small-town Americana at its most insidious from Lambda Literary and Bram Stoker Award-winner Lee Thomas.

This richly atmospheric period piece follows a trio of alternating narrators...

Read the rest of the review at the Lambda Literary Foundation.
Cynthia
I love it when I finish a book and it changes me. I am a better person for reading The German. Now we just need to get ALL The Humans to read it.
Chris Cangiano
It's 1944 right after the Allied invasion of Normandy and a serial killing is stalking young men and boys in and around small town in Texas. Could the killer be a member of the town's sizable German immigrant population? How, if at all, is young Tim Randall's mysterious German neighbor Ernst Lang? In addition to crafting an interesting thriller, Thomas manages to touch on some important themes regarding human violence and the need to simultaneously hate and fear the outsider. Recommended
Gef
Jun 07, 2014 Gef rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: mystery
In a word: superb. I'll come up with a wordier review later.
Don
Stunning and well written book set in a small Texas town in WWII that deals with several subjects to include institutionalized homophobia, fear, and the evil that lurks within all of us. Brilliantly told from the perspective to three main characters it flows very well and keeps you on the edge of your seat turning the page. One of the best books to come out of 2011.
Nithu
Would love to read this, but it's not available in the UK for the Kindle and the paperback is very expensive.

Update: Have discovered that this book is available in the UK on the Kindle, but the Kindle version doesn't show up Amazon when you bring the paperback up. I did manage to stumble across it by accident and really enjoyed the book.
Phil
This an excellent read and well recommended. For some reason I thought I was buying a horror novel, but I wasn't unhappy to discover that this was more a dark coming-of-age tale. The characters are well formed and it does what all good books should do - it makes you want to turn the page and find out what happens next.
Damian Serbu
I am writing a review of this for Lambda Literary, so I don't want to steal my own thunder! :) Suffice it to say, Lee has done it again with a tremendous novel. Every bit as good as The Dust of Wonderland.
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LEE THOMAS is the Bram Stoker Award and the Lambda Literary Award-winning author of STAINED , ASH STREET , THE DUST OF WONDERLAND , and THE GERMAN . Recent and forthcoming titles include LIKE LIGHT FOR FLIES , and BUTCHER’S ROAD .

ADDITIONAL TITLES:
TORN
IN THE CLOSET, UNDER THE BED
FOCUS
THE BLACK SUN SET
CRISIS
PARISH DAMNED




More about Lee Thomas...
Torn The Dust of Wonderland Turning White: A Memoir of Change In the Closet, Under the Bed Stained

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“Cruelty is not taught. It is as certain as a compass point. One can be instructed in the specifics of cruelty, like one can be taught to use a spoon, a knife, a fork, but even without these skills a man will still eat. The need is with us.” 6 likes
“Over the years I had convinced myself that brutality required motive, but this is a fool’s deceit. Cruelty is the motive; religion and politics and resources are simply the cloth man weaves to curtain his desires for violence.” 4 likes
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