Title: The Torah of St.Nicholas
Author: Myron Crespin
Release Date: Available Now
Reviewer: Maria Josey
Myron Crespin’s mystery/thriller novel, The Torah of St. Nicholas Church immediately catches attention with its intriguingly contradictory title. Rabbi Max Rabinowitz is called on to help restore a vandalized Torah. While examining the damage and assessing how his skills would be used to repair the damaged scroll, Max notices his father’s watermark. This opens the mystery as Rabinowitz’s father, also a rabbi, was captured by the Nazis who invaded their Czechoslovakian homeland during World War II. Other clues within the sacred scroll prove that this is Max’s father’s last Torah which leaves his son with many questions surrounding his father’s last days in Auschwitz and the scroll’s own path to Eugene, Oregon. With the help of his son, Avi, Max begins the journey back to Prague to unravel the rest of the mystery, with hopes to uncover the details of what really happened to his father as well as uncover hidden treasure that had allowed for Max’s passage to America.
Crespin takes particular care in describing the intricacies of the Jewish Torah, and has a distinct authority in his prose. The research and descriptions of both Jewish family life and the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia are quite thorough. This family mystery involving hidden tunnels in Prague is woven in such a way that one can’t help but to continue reading on to the end. The book’s weakest point, however, lies with its grammar and mechanics. The rough edges, misspellings, and incorrect punctuation distracts from what would otherwise be a compelling and engaging narration. The fundamental requirement of a good book is good storytelling, and Crespin clearly has that in his blood. The heart of this novel is fascinating and editing would only help readers be able to fully enjoy this riveting story. The dénouement, while a bit slow, does bring a satisfying ending to the story.