Rosenheim, Andrew. Fear Itself. Overlook. Nov. 2012. 432p. ISBN 978-1-4683-0072-7. $25.95. Fiction
Rosenheim’s sixth book (after Without Prejudice) is a historical thriller set at the start of World War II before the United States had fully committed to the Allied cause. Many German Americans supported the Nazis by forming groups collectively called the Bund. When the Bund opens training camps in the upper Midwest, 26-year-old FBI agent Jimmy Nessheim wants to infiltrate the group but meets with resistance from Director J. Edgar Hoover, who is more interested in rousting communists than fascists. After one of Nessheim’s informants reports submachine guns at one of the camps and is then found murdered, Nessheim begins to work against the Bund in secret. Meanwhile, from Berlin, security agent Walter Schellenberg prepares to activate a potentially lethal deep-cover threat, a German orphan raised in the United States and now in a position to change the fate of the war. VERDICT A former Rhodes scholar, Rosenheim has lived in England since 1977, where Fear Itself was published to acclaim in 2011. Announced as the first of a series of novels that will chronicle young Nessheim’s wartime adventures, this book, reminiscent of Frederick Forsyth’s The Day of the Jackal, gets off to a rousing start.