Praise for The Knife-Edge Path
As an ardent, long-time admirer of Pat Leahy’s meticulously crafted and at times almost painterly prose, I devoured his latest work in a couple of nights and am still reeling from the experience. In its mining of the human heart’s darkest corners, THE KNIFE-EDGE PATH is just a tremendous read: the plotting tight as a harp-string and the characters drawn with such beautiful delicacy, the scope and sense of place genuinely stunning. This is a hugely impressive offering from a writer of significant talent, one that deserves the attention of the widest possible audience. If there’s any justice in the world, he’ll have a runaway bestseller on his hands.
– Billy O’Callaghan, author of MY CONEY ISLAND BABY
All too often espionage tales feature a lead character that goes deep undercover, risks everything for the good of their country … willingly. But The Knife-Edge Path is different, here we have a protagonist who is left with little choice but to take on a guise and act as a spy for the SS. Geli Straub plays a dangerous game when she “agrees” to become Mlle. Simone Miroux for an SS officer to spy on one of their own. Asking favours of her new SS friend is dangerous, and initially she thinks nothing of using her connections for information, cigarettes … whatever it is that she might need. However, the life of a double agent is a precarious one, never knowing who’s watching and if everyone is who they say they are. For Geli/Simone this is only one aspect that is making life difficult. Whether as Frau Straub or Mlle. Miroux, she is a target of suspicion, her motives are questioned and her life is in danger. Delving into the world of WWII espionage, the author takes readers on a journey filled with intrigue and danger as his characters face perilous situations and risk everything for what they think is right. As she gets to know SS officer Kurt Langsdorff, Simone Miroux sees there’s a side to him that is at odds with his SS facade and develops feelings for him that she knows she shouldn’t have, clashing with her mission and potentially putting everything as risk. The writing is everything I would look for in a book set in this era, crisp details of the characters and their lives, the unnerving feeling of danger lurking ahead, the harrowing details of atrocious acts carried out in the name of the Third Reich and above all, it’s hugely emotive.
– Quiet Knitter
A powerful story teller. . . Can Patrick Leahy write the heck out of his subject matter! He demonstrates marvelous control, and has an unerring ear for the sights, sounds and horrors of one of the darkest periods in this world’s history. This book feels like an epic tale rather than a mere depiction of one aspect of the holocaust. Every person is defined so deftly, and with such surgical precision, that they appear on the page living and fully formed. Leahy’s affection for the highly complex main character, Geli Straub, is tangible. In the end, this book depicts, above all else, the compassion that can occur in an environment of such unparalleled evil. The only thing wrong with this terrific read is that there has to be a last page.
– Lolly Navolio
The story of this book, and the way it is laid out, is quite compelling I have seen very little written about SS men helping Jews during the Holocaust. It is not completely clear to me if the character set out to help or ended up overwhelmed with conscience and thus tried to help…does it matter? In any case, an interesting read.
– Karin Joffe
The wife of a missing German general on the Eastern Front, learns to cope with danger, treachery and tangled relationships in war-torn Germany. Her prior experience in intelligence work in the North African campaign draws the attention of a minor SS officer who recruits her to spy on a younger SS officer he considers his protégé. This occurs in the waning days of the war and bombings in Germany where hunger and deprivations are rampant. She switches sides as she develops feelings for the object of her spying and faces a series of new challenges. Leahy’s characters are colorful and likeable, despite being “enemies” – eventually sympathizers, who step forward to bear witness to the atrocities of the holocaust. If not a devotee of historical fiction, a reader will also enjoy the story of ill-fated romances and the examples of the daily struggles of people at war. It’s a pleasure to recommend it.
– Hank Lajoie
Praise for Photographs and Souvenirs
A haunting and beautiful story about life, relationships, family, and being human. Leahy’s prose are graceful, with moments of pure meaning weaved throughout the story. A book I will remember always.
-Kimberly J. Bowker
Profoundly lush and haunting, Patrick Leahy’s breathtaking storytelling transcends and transports. Photographs and Souvenirs is a raw and bold exploration of the messiness of family. At once visionary and wholly organic, this strikingly artful and compelling novel resonates wildly. Though it was breaking my heart, it is a wondrously life-affirming read, which I devoured it in one sitting.
Photographs and Souvenirs is a wondrous book, and if you don’t have the time to read it all in one sitting, it’s the kind of book you think about and feel part of, like an unobserved visitor, when you are away from it. Patrick Leahy brilliantly portrays a family in escalating crisis, and in the process depicts its rich tapestry of breakable and unbreakable bonds, passions, rawness, despair, heartache, and finally, resilience and hope in a whirlwind emotional conclusion. You will want this story to keep on going long after you read the last page.
-Lauralie M. Navolio
Praise for The Old Night of Your Name
“A fine and thoroughly enjoyable read, the narrative gripped me from start to finish. Mr Leahy creates wonderful, carefully layered characters, (with the main character, Norma, a genuine triumph) and has an admirable talent for imbuing a scene with tension, but for me the real achievement is his depiction of place. He has made Alaska come alive on the page, and yet it never overpowers the mystery he is unfolding.
This was a story that felt lived, with everything in delicate balance, and it holds its pace all the way to an almost perfect ending. A most impressive debut.”
-Billy O’Callaghan, author of ‘In Exile’, ‘In Too Deep’ and ‘The Things We Lose, The Things We Leave Behind’ (short story collections).
“Delivered in a clean, descriptively rich narrative voice, this excellent book is a carefully managed blend of mystery and a serious psychological portrait of a feisty, practical woman vulnerable to her own desires and struggling to manage her life. A great read from cover to cover.”
-Ian T. Macmillan, Author of Village of a Million Spirits Winner of the P.E.N. USA-West Award for Fiction.
“Enjoyed immensely. Good character and plot lines. Looking forward to more from this author. Description of area and character development are excellent. I can identify with the main character from the first chapter!”
– Mike Woltman
“Based loosely on characters that live or have lived in Yakutat make this book exciting to read. The accuracy of the geography and wild nature of the land makes this novel a winner for those of us who live here. A great who dunnit set in the wilds of Alaska. Looking forward to Pat’s next book.”