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The Devil's Bookkeepers 1: The Noose


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A prisoner in the Jewish ghetto of Lodz, Poland with access to devastating information must balance ethics with personal survival.

The author of this tense historical novel is uniquely suited to write the award-winning The Devil’s Bookkeepers: The Noose, for Mark Newhouse’s parents were two of the few survivors of the infamous Jewish ghetto of Lodz, Poland during World War II. Through a few characters and based heavily on true events recorded by ghetto residents in The Chronicles of the Lodz Ghetto (Yale University Press), Newhouse brings to life the psychological, moral, and physical struggles of hundreds of thousands of Jewish people incarcerated behind barbed wire within the city of Lodz before deportation to the infamous Nazi death camps. 

Told in the first person by a fictionalized version of one of the real Lodz chroniclers, Bernard Ostrowski, this relentlessly harrowing narrative portrays the relationship between Ostrowski and three other prisoners hired by the Jewish authorities to write reports of daily ghetto occurrences. The book is impressive in its determined reliance on the Chronicles record, and in the author’s skill at dialogue between the four chroniclers while working on their reports, the dynamic which forms the backbone of the story. Four distinct temperamental types agonize to interpret and record what the prisoners are suffering, in hopes that the outside world might eventually know, while keeping the dire details cautiously sanitized to satisfy a compromised ghetto government. The reader is offered a very human look at how angry idealists, long-suffering realists, and everyone in between might have handled the horrors of the Lodz circumstances. Each person must find his or her own way through a nightmare, and Newhouse compassionately allows for every possibility through his well-developed characters. And while the chroniclers sweat out their gritty ethics over statements about suicides, rampant disease, and food shortages, the character of Ostrowski’s emotionally fragile young wife, Miriam, serves as a powerful barometer of the toll deprivation and chronic danger wreak on the human psyche. If at times arguments and discussions between the characters feel circular, this only adds to the sense of helplessness and despair the Lodz prisoners must have felt, cut off from the world without rights or recourse. 

Readers who like closure might be disappointed by the cliff-hanger ending, though there is a sequel to the book (The Devil’s Bookkeepers: The Noose Tightens). But anyone seeking an informed, sober gaze into this overlooked strata of World War II history will not be disappointed.

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I am a freelance copyeditor and the author of four books. Ashes Like Bread won the 2019 Readers' Favorite bronze medal for Christian Fantasy. I love fog, dancing (it's the twirl, darling), reading, and church.

About the author

My novel, The Devil's Bookkeepers, set in the Holocaust ghetto my parents miraculously survived, won the Gold Medal Historical Fiction and top honor of Best Published Book of the Year from the Florida Writers Association, 2019. A former teacher, I write a humorous award-winning mystery series. view profile

Published on April 10, 2019

Published by Newhouse Creative Group

100000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Historical Fiction

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