Winner of the 2012 Lambda Award.
Set during the height of World War II, The German examines the effect a series of ritualistic murders has on a small, Texas community. A killer preys on the young men of Barnard, Texas, leaving cryptic notes written in German. As the panic builds all eyes turn toward a quiet man with secrets of his own, who is trying to escape a violent past. Ernst Lang fled Germany in 1934. Once a brute, a soldier, a leader of the Nazi party, he has renounced aggression and embraces a peaceful obscurity. But Lang is haunted by an impossible past. He remembers his own execution and the extremes of sex and violence that led to it. He remembers the men he led into battle, the men he seduced, and the men who betrayed him. But are these the memories of a man given a second life, or the delusions of a lunatic?
“Lambda-winner Thomas (The Dust of Wonderland) sets this powerful thriller in a small Texas town in 1944. As a mysterious killer preys on the community’s young men—leaving pro-Nazi notes inside the victims’ mouths—the frightened residents cast blame on the area’s sizable German population. Their chief suspect is Ernst Lang, a gay ex-soldier who fled Germany years earlier. Lang has been an exemplary neighbor, but his nationality and sexuality make him a target for a largely ignorant and panicked populace looking for a scapegoat. The supernatural element of the story is decidedly understated, but the novel’s overall thematic power and narrative eloquence are wrenching. Thomas’s compelling imagery (religion and politics are “gardens of atrocity” that grow “fat succulent flora”) and disturbing portrait of humanity at its worse will haunt readers long after the last page is turned..”
— Publishers Weekly
9781590213094 • 290 pp • trade paper/ebook