Daniel Friedman’s Dont Ever Get Old starts when Buck Schatz is asked to come and see Jim Wallace in his death bed. Buck is in his eighties, fearing dementia, and not in a good mood but Jim wants to confess a shameful secret. As you can guess from his name, Buck Schatz is Jewish, lives in America and was a soldier in the World War II.
One bad day, he is imprisoned and put in concentration camp Chelmno. There he was repeatedly humiliated and badly hurt by the camp sergeant, Heinrich Ziegler. Now, on his death bed, Jim Wallace confesses that he let Heinrich Ziegler go with a car full of gold. As you can imagine, Buck is not amused. The son in law of Jim Wallace, Norris Feely, thinks he is entitled to a part of the treasure, so he insists Buck tries to find the former camp guard.
The reverend, Lawrence Kind, has severe gambling debts, so of course he also wants a part of the treasure. Then, a day or two after the funeral of Jim, the reverend gets murdered in a gruesome way. All and all, Buck starts to hunt the treasure, along with his grandson Tequila.
He finds Heinrich Ziegler, since he came to America known as Henry Winters and gets access to his bank Vault (Heinrich Ziegler/Henry Winters lives at a home for the elderly and suffers from severe dementia). They succeed in getting the gold, but Buck realizes he won’t be able to exchange the gold bars because of the swastikas on the bars.
After a chase, another two gruesome murders, the story gets to a climax. Is his grandson really guilty of the murders or is there another murderer??
Reading this book, I frequently had to think of the movie Grumpy Old Men. I have never seen it, but I suppose the main character in this book could easily have been casted for the leading role. And he wouldn’t have to act much. Still, I enjoyed reading the book. Sometimes, a bit wordy, but most times very amusing. Read an excerpt online.
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