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The Odessa File Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 1983

135 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Every bit  as exciting as its noted predecessor and even  eerie."--Cosmopolitan.

"A carefully thought out, meticulously researched,  documented... highly suspenseful work of  fiction."--Chicago Tribune.

"Much more complex than the Jackal...  intriguingly fact packed with relentless exporting, a  protagonist propelled by an unstoppable force as  suicidal as that of a lemming, and a time-factored  chase ticking off to an explosive  climax."--The Cleveland Press.

"A highly  superior combination of real-life facts and suspense  fiction."--Publisher's Weekly

From the Publisher

"Much more complex than the Jackal... intriguingly fact packed with relentless exporting, a protagonist propelled by an unstoppable force as suicidal as that of a lemming, and a time-factored chase ticking off to an explosive climax."--The Cleveland Press.

The suicide of an elderly German Jew explodes into revelation after revelation: of a Mafia-like organization called Odessa.

"A carefully thought out, meticulously researched, documented... highly suspenseful work of fiction."--Chicago Tribune.

...of a real-life fugitive known as the "Butcher of Riga"

...of a young German journalist turned obsessed avenger.

"Every bit as exciting as its noted predecessor and even eerie."--Cosmopolitan.

...and, ultimately, of brilliant, ruthless plot to reestablish the worldwide power of SS mass murderers and to carry out Hitler's chilling "Final Solution."

"A highly superior combination of real-life facts and suspense fiction."--Publisher's Weekly

See all Editorial Reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books (September 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553271989
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553271980
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,222,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Frederick Forsyth is the author of fifteen novels and short-story collections. He lives in England.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Edwin C. Pauzer VINE VOICE on September 29, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Even the start of the novel is gripping, and it is fraught with coincidences. If John F. Kennedy hadn't been shot, Peter Miller would not have pulled over to listen to the radio announcement. He would have missed the ambulance that he eventually followed. As an investigative journalist he thought he might be following a story. The ambulance's destination was the suicide of an old Holocaust survivor. "No story here," the detective advises him. Shortly thereafter the detective calls to tell him that the old man left behind a diary that describes the unspeakable cruelty he experienced in a concentration camp. Miller reads the story into the night. His attention is turned to one incident he reads over and over again. The diary ends with the old man's plea that someone please say Kaddish, the Jewish Prayer for the dead, for the sake of his soul. The coincidences build from here. The next day Miller decides to hunt a Nazi camp commandant, but not for the reasons we suspect. The story takes Peter Miller through other parts of Germany and Austria where he is being chased by the people he is pursuing. The journalist eventually finds and confronts the Nazi. The ultimate coincidence is revealed. His personal mission has far-reaching consequences.

In the end we learn about the fate of the characters, some fateful and some ordinary. This was the most stirring part for me. A young Israeli paratrooper enters the Hall of Remembrance in Jerusalem. His red beret satisfies the requirement of a yarmulka, and he fulfills the request of the old man whose soul died years earlier in a concentration camp near Riga.

With Forsythe's ability to mix fact with fiction, 1964 was a year in which a number of Nazis were found and brought to justice. Stirring.

This novel is lesenvergnuegen.

Alles Gute!
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 6, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After reading "The Day of the Jackal", I thought that there couldn't be a better suspense thriller than this, but I still hadn't read "The Odessa File". Its set in the early 1960's, where a young freelance German journalist comes across the personal diary of an old German Jew who's committed suicide. Reading the diary through the night, the journalist, Peter Miller finds out that the Jew was a prisoner in the Nazi concentration camp at Riga, Latvia during World War II. As he reads on, he's shocked by the graphic description by the Jew of the atrocities committed on the camp inmates by the camp commandant, Eduard Roschmann. Millers vows to track down Roschmann and bring him to justice. But while doing so, he comes across a super-secret organization known as Odessa, which protects Nazi ex-SS members from being captured and brought to justice. When Miller starts getting too close to the Odessa, his life is in grave danger. But he decides that it will end with him bringing Roschmann to justice for his crimes, or with his death.
"The Odessa File", as with all other Forsyth books, has a super-shocking twist in the end, where we get to know the real motive behind Miller wanting to find Roschmann. In the process, Forsyth manages to include The Beatles' short stint in Hamburg, the background of the brief Arab-Israeli war and last but not the least, Kennedy's assasination. As usual, Forsyth's factual knowledge is accurate to the point, and his research is deep and minute. "The Odessa File" is undoubtedly Frederick Forsyth at his very best.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Konrei on October 30, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
THE ODESSA FILE is one of Frederick Forsyth's classics. Cleverly written, meticulously researched, and absolutely readable, THE ODESSA FILE recounts the story of Peter Miller, a young German crime reporter who decides to infiltrate the secret Nazi support network in the early 1960s in order to discover the whereabouts of Captain Eduard Roschmann, "The Butcher of Riga," who sent some 80,000 people to their deaths in the Riga Ghetto.While Miller's outrage at the twisting of Germany by the Nazis is real and intense, his motivations are unclear...until the O. Henry ending.
This is fine historical fiction, melding historical figures (like Roschmann)and fictional characters (like Miller) together seamlessly.THE ODESSA FILE is an intense thriller, and rates as one of the finest and most memorable works of its genre anytime and anywhere.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 4, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Master thriller writer Forsyth delivers big-time in this story of an intrepid freelance journalist tracking down an ex-Nazi in postwar Germany. Grounded heavily in research and reality, the story is based upon the disappearance of hundreds of wanted SS war criminals. As plenty of historians have since documented, there were organized efforts to help wanted Nazis disappear, especially to South America (see, for example, Uki Goni's book The Real Odessa). Here, Forsyth imagines the Odessa, a well-funded organization of former SS men who are taking the reins of German industry as it rebuilds, and helping Egypt with rocket technology with which to destroy Israel.

One day freelance German photojournalist Peter Miller comes into possession of the diary of an old concentration camp survivor who has recently committed suicide. The diary details the man's physical and mental torture in Riga, and claims that the camp commandant is still alive and living in Germany. Miller is simultaneously appalled at the atrocities described and eager for a big scoop, and so sets out to track down SS Captain Roschman (the real life "Butcher of Riga"). He quickly discovers to his surprise that the newsmagazines aren't interested in the story, it's explained to him that no one wants to pay to read about horrors perpetrated on Jews in some other country.

Miller decides to proceed on his own, and the book turns into a kind of procedural thriller as he doggedly pursues sources of information across Germany and it starts to dawn on him that no one is particularly interested in hunting down ex-Nazis. The combination of former Nazi influence in the police, along with the the realpolitik of the situation (live ex-Nazis vote, dead Jews do not), mean that the official channels are largely window dressing.
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