I tried The Losing Role without knowing anything about it or its author. I was looking for a historical novel, and the premise sounded interesting. After reading the sample, I was hooked. I found that I really cared what happened to Max, the main character.
Max is German, spent some time in the U.S., returned to Germany just before WWII. He's an actor, not terribly political. He just wants to act. When the war starts, his roles dry up. He's drafted and sent to the Russian front. His only way out of miserable (and futile) duty in the infantry is a dangerous mission that involves disguising himself as an American soldier and sneaking behind enemy lines to do intelligence work. He decides to use the opportunity to try try to find his way back to the U.S. Max is a likable "every man." He uses the one skill he's confident of, his acting ability, to try to regain control of a life that's gone way out of control.
Is "The Losing Role" great literature? No. Is it solid storytelling and a really good read? It definitely is.
Susan Lynn Peterson
author of "Clare: A Novel"
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)