FERDINAND VON SCHIRACH
Pocket Black Lizard
$13.95 US/$16.95 CAN
Rating: 4 Cups
Friedhelm Fähner sets out on a path paved for him by generations of Fähners. The day he meets her, it all changes.
From what she sees in him, Ingrid intends to hold on forever.
On their wedding day, Fähner makes a vow. On his honeymoon, he makes a promise. For over five decades, Fähner endures Ingrid’s ever growing bitter tirades. He loves his wife. He just cannot live with her any longer.
For better or for worse is a life sentence for a man as honorable as Fähner.
Tanata’s Tea Bowl
The job is supposed to be a quick and easy burglary for Samir and his buddies, Ozcan and Manólis.
Tanata’s tea bowl has been in his family since the sixteenth century. There is no question he will get it back by whatever means necessary.
Samir and his friends have no idea what they have brought down on their heads. People associated with their crime begin dropping like flies. Their survival depends on full disclosure.
These men may not be the smartest on the block, but it does seem they do know when to cut their losses.
Showering love and affection on his children is something Tackler considers a waste of time.
Thankfully, Theresa has her cello to escape into. Her brother, Leonhard, is not as fortunate.
As soon as they are old enough, Theresa and Leonhard make a break from their father. The following years are joyful and fun, until the day of the accident. If Theresa is left relatively unscathed, Leonhard is once again not so lucky.
Theresa is such a caring, loving sister that she gives everything to help Leonhard have a better life. Their story is truly heartbreaking.
Everyone has underestimated Karim Abu Fataris his entire life, but family is still family.
From one brother to another, they all look the same. It is a trick Walid and his brothers use time and again.
Karim has been hiding his intelligence since his youth, especially from his family. He will use it to help Walid, though he knows it will change nothing.
He may be the better man, but it is doubtful Karim would get the same if roles were reversed.
Growing up, Irina wants to become a designer. Unfortunately, her life takes a completely different turn.
The clothes on his back and his dog are all Kalle has until he meets Irina.
The death of her customer has Irina running scared, but Kalle will not let her down. His solution, however, creates a whole host of new problems.
Fear changes the perception of right and wrong. Kalle’s love for Irina compounds it even more.
Losing money is something Abbas has become really good at. Now it is time to pay.
She cannot bear to see him hurt again, so Stephanie sells the only thing she has–herself.
Percy Boheim is Stephanie’s one and only customer and the prime suspect. Everything points to him, yet it is easy to believe in his innocence.
It is amazing when the tiniest detail can make the biggest difference.
Boredom is a dangerous state for men like Lenzberger and Beck, especially for those they target.
The man on the bench does not even acknowledge their presence, which incites them only more.
Within seconds, the tables turn on Lenzberger and Beck. His mission not complete, he will say nothing until it is.
The quiet ones often have the most to say. However, it is not always done with words.
Dead sheep are one thing, but Nordeck cannot ignore this kind of severity.
Whatever is going on in Philipp’s head is scaring everyone, especially himself.
When Philipp is arrested, he is confused and terrified. A young girl’s life depends on Philipp getting the help he so desperately needs.
It is so sad to see so much potential being crushed by such an insidious adversary.
He is so thankful to get the job Feldmayer never questions being left on his own.
The museum has a system to rotate personnel. In this instance, this system fails.
Weeks become months, then years for Feldmayer to study and record every minute detail of the room he sits in. The statue becomes an obsession that takes over his life.
Cabin fever takes on a whole new meaning with Feldmayer and his statue.
Her skin is so lovely Patrick really cannot help himself.
Nicole is so traumatized she flees and contacts the police.
She is so beautiful Patrick just has to have her. His desires take on a darker side that demands help, if he accepts it.
Professional help is certainly in order when you love this much.
Michalka never fits in, until he lands in Ethiopia almost by mistake.
The village takes in and cares for the red-headed stranger, but it is Ayana who steals his heart.
Eventually, Michalka gets noticed by the authorities and is sent back to Germany. He is so distraught by losing his family in Ethiopia he makes a very bad decision once again.
It is hard to fault a man who does so much for so many.
The brass band is a group of men whose reputation and respectability precede them.
She is nearly done with school and looking forward to a summer vacation, then on to medical school.
Too much alcohol and too much heat turn a fun afternoon into a carnival of horrors for a young girl. Her attackers maintain silence, and innocence is lost.
You count on the law to be just and fair. All too often it is neither.
Getting out of the cold is Nina’s top priority, but safety is a must.
When she screams, Thomas reacts, maybe too rashly.
That day cements their relationship. They build a family, a home and have friends, but murder has no statute of limitations.
Burying something deep enough makes it easier to forget. Yet, all too often the past has a way of creeping up on you when you least expect it.
School has been a study in horrors for Henry.
The art teacher sees something special that everyone ignores in this boy.
Henry thinks he will finally be absolved and maybe even accepted, if he follows their orders. It gives him a kind of peace that very little else ever has.
This story shows how easy and dangerous young, malleable minds can be.
Life is pretty good for Holbrecht. He has a good job and a nice marriage with the hope0 of having children someday.
Miriam feels the same until the day the police comes and takes Holbrecht away.
The charge of child abuse is denied vehemently by Holbrecht, yet it sticks and he serves his time. Years pass before Holbrecht sees the girl again.
It is horrifying to imagine how the actions of a child can change a man’s life in an instant.
No longer will he let her laugh at him. Today, everything will be different.
She has never really any idea what a simple rejection can lead to.
He studies her, dreams about what he will do when she is his. He never sees it coming.
Ah, sometimes people really do get what they deserve.
The Other Man
They certainly never set out to have an open marriage, yet Paulsberg admits he gets as excited as his wife each time it happens.
Answering an email sent by a swinging couple, this man has no idea he actually knows the husband.
Paulsberg is more uncomfortable knowing the man than entertaining strangers, and it plays on his mind. Quite a long time passes before he sees the man again. Still, it makes something in him just snap.
This couple is building their marriage on a sheet of ice that looks like it is thinning as the years’ progress.
A routine traffic stop shakes up a police officer’s day in a very bad way.
His only job is to take the briefcase from point A to point B, and answer the phone when it rings.
The police question the man endlessly to no avail. No matter the contents of the case, he really has done nothing wrong. They have no choice but to let him go.
No answers, only questions, but a very interesting story nonetheless.
She cannot pinpoint when it starts that she begins to feel…nothing.
Family, friends and even her husband see only the woman she pretends to be.
Much like a store mannequin, she feels like a hollow shell. Suddenly and without forethought, she begins stealing minor items from stores and feels alive for the first time in forever.
Most people experience some form of identity crisis at some point in their lives. This lady just finds a rather unique way of dealing with hers.
Since leaving his wife years ago, his life has never had the same meaning.
Regardless of what Hassan is or does, Jana loves him.
The old man lets them use his home to package their drugs, but it is he who is caught by the police. As easy as it would be to turn them over, the old man knows Jana needs to believe her baby will be taken care of.
Doing the right thing is not always the same for everyone.
Trying to procure a load of pills to put on the market, Frank and Artis get on the wrong side of a Russian dealer.
She works for the Russian and is very good at being invisible when need be.
Artis has been with Frank for years, so when Frank gives him a job, he does the very best he can. Unfortunately, everything is conspiring to get both Frank and Artis killed.
Criminals are not all masterminds, and these two make for one very entertaining read.
Children like Larissa have so much going against them it is no surprise when things go from bad to worse.
Her parents spend more time at the corner liquor store than with their daughter, so it is all too easy for Lackner to make his move.
Larissa struggles and fights against Lackner, although there is no help to be had. The resulting pregnancy ends in tragedy as well, and will haunt a young girl for the rest of her days.
There is nothing sadder than to see a child stripped of her innocence, especially when it results in even greater heartache.
At the age of forty-one, Turan is already a withered old man.
A daily walk with his dog results in a bloody assault on Kowski.
The charges against Turan are utterly ridiculous, but his disregard of legal notice snowballs his problems with the law.
Even something as simple as a misunderstanding can turn a man’s life into chaos.
Alexandra thinks she has met the man of her dreams. She cannot be more wrong.
Seeing the misery she is in every day of her life, Felix will do anything to help her.
Thomas knows exactly how and where to hit to inflict the most pain. For years, Alexandra takes every blow silently until he turns his sights on their daughter. Now she knows the time has come.
Some people never quite get what they deserve. Thomas is one of them.
Working hard and living frugally, Waller has amassed quite a fortune.
His half–brother, Fritz Meinering, knows nothing of Waller, and Waller wishes to keep it that way.
Meinering is a rather pathetic criminal, but Waller would like to help him if he can. He is family, after all.
Some people are beyond any help, even when it comes with no strings attached.
Two weeks of having the man show up in his office and Ferdinand cannot take it any longer.
The story Fabian Kalkmann weaves is incredible and completely insane.
Getting the man help is the best Ferdinand can do for him. Ironically, Kalkmann turns the tables.
If this were a practical joke, it would be hilarious, although maybe not so much for Ferdinand.
The world is never in black and white, but always in shades of gray. It is all too easy to condemn when you know nothing of the story behind the crime, and this is a sample of those stories. Many people are driven to take matters into their own hands, while others are just too inept to get out of trouble’s way. This is a great example of the innocent, the guilty and all the in between.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More