The Human Pool

Written by Chris Petit
Review by Mark F. Johnson

If you enjoy assembling really big jigsaw puzzles with really small pieces, you may enjoy this book. Told entirely first person by a parade of characters, the story hopscotches back and forth between WWII and the present as well as between characters. A given scene may be related by three or four characters, each with his or her own thoughts and perceptions. This technique caused the story to drag and found me making excuses not to pick up the book.

The plot revolves around high-level conspiracies and money laundering during WWII. The author paints Allen Dulles, who worked for the OSS during WWII and later became director of the CIA, as a master spy with more than his country’s interests at heart. During secret meetings with high-level Nazis, Dulles becomes involved in laundering German wealth and other decidedly anti-Semitic activities. Petit blends in non-historical characters on both sides to tell the story. These characters survive the war and continue to conspire and commit atrocities in their quest for wealth and power. As the plot focuses on the present, the characters and events become entirely fictitious.

While this puzzle initially held a promise of shocking revelations, upon completion the image was all smoke and mirrors with no substance.