Sunday, January 5, 2014

George Clooney and Me

Synchronicity, for a writer this isn't just a big word you use to show how smart you are, sometimes it is a real and exciting coincidence of events. In February The Monuments Men, will be released. This movie, starring George Clooney, is based on Robert M. Edsel's excellent book on those men tasked with finding and protecting Europe's art and history. They also hunted for lost troves of antiquities that the Nazis picked up as they plundered Europe over seventy years ago. The book also tells the story of the greatest robbery in the history of the world.

In early April, 1945, in western Germany, a jeep with a couple of American MP's stopped two women who they discovered were displaced French. This casual encounter lead to the discovery of gold and silver bars, coins, artwork, and paper money, almost the entire Reich's treasury, hidden in caves under the German countryside one half mile beneath their feet. Within days the Americans stole liberated all of it. Later it was used to pay off Germany's war debt. And it also the inspiration and beginning of my Sharon O'Mara thriller Toulouse For Death.

The Nazis are still good for at least two or three Hollywood movies every year. Valkyrie, Inglourious Basterds, The Pacific, Saving Private Ryan, Red Tails, The King's Speech, Pathfinders: In the Company of Strangers, and numerous other movies on the war's affect on the children and even grandchildren of the soldiers. There have been hundreds if not thousands of movies made in almost every country around the world and hundreds more will be made. The era between 1930 and 1950 changed the world far more than any age before.

I've published at least four books, fiction and non-fiction, that have that war as its background or basis for the story. All are available left and right. And I will have out a sweeping thriller of Americans in Italy, trapped by the war, later this year. World War II is an era of tragedy, terror, unspeakable horror, heroes, villains, comedy, human folly and duplicity. It will be the grist for the writer's mill for centuries.

Clooney and Damon
But back to my story. Toulouse For Death is about three soldiers who were in the detail that was tasked to bring up from the caves the gold and art. During that chaos of thousands of soldiers also assigned to the work these three managed to steal about a half ton of gold and a bundle of paintings that they would later retrieve and hopefully return to America. Flash forward to today in San Francisco; Sharon O'Mara is hired by the lone surviving soldier to return four fabulous paintings to their rightful owners in Los Angeles. But there is a twist, a few Nazis are still holding out in Argentina and know there is a "key" hidden with the recovered art, and most especially a Toulouse Lautrec masterpiece. A key that will unlock the greatest horde of gold never found, the WWII plunder of the Nazi SS.

It's a story of people, soldiers, honor, duty, cheating, murder, and Paris. What more could you ask for.

So on the long coattails of George Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Jean Djardin, and Bill Murray I recommend both the movie and my well-reviewed thriller, Toulouse For Death.

More Later . . . . . . . . .

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