Oktober Heat

Written by Doris Dumrauf
Review by Mary Turner

In a 1958 West German village, twenty-one-year-old German police officer Walter Hofmann wants nothing more than to dance to the latest rock ‘n’ roll tunes at the nearby American air base. But the girls flock to the easy-going GIs, their dollars, and their fancy cars. Worse yet, the entire country—including his younger sister—is ecstatic about the recent arrival of Private Elvis Presley. Old World values and New World pop culture clash, even before a young woman gets killed near the base and the military arrests Walter’s GI friend Jeff for murder. Walter believes in Jeff’s innocence, even after he learns that Jeff has won the heart of the girl he secretly adores. While Walter and his partner are on the trail of an elusive killer, his sister disappears in an attempt to see the famous singer and Walter races to her rescue before she becomes the next victim.”

Oktober Heat portrays the period of the late 50s in post WWII Germany, where the rise of the ‘Cold War’ was becoming prominent. Focussing primarily on young police officer, Walter, rather than the actual murder-mystery case, this makes a nice change. The story is told mostly through dialogue, which brings in a feel for the characters themselves, but slightly inhibits plot twists or surprises.

This is a time when everything was slower than today (amusing that even detectives in the 1950s went home for lunch at lunchtime – this never happens on police murder-mysteries on TV!) The description between the different worlds of post-war Germany clashing with American GI’s is very well developed, but I did find the story itself – like the period – a little slow at times. However, readers interested in this period –especially Elvis and 1950s rock-and-roll fans – will enjoy the read for the detail of the period.

E-edition reviewed