Take a ‘Last Dance with Death’

A conspiracy that can alter the future of humanity is at the center of Last Dance with Death, a faith-based thriller by Duncan Othen, a resident of Hudson and native of Chagrin Falls.

Tod Harding is sitting in his SUV in a Hudson parking lot, grieving the cancer death of his wife when he hears a scream. Investigating, he finds a man trying to strangle a woman in the front seat of her car. Tod pulls the man off and seizes his gun; the man runs.

The woman, Lea McEver, is grateful for Tod’s help but rejects his plan to call the police, as a vague “they” are after her and now will be after Tod, too. The reason: “they” think Lea has access to the cure for cancer.

Lea doesn’t have it, but she knows where it might be — on a flash drive that her brother sent through the mail to a friend, who didn’t know what it was and who gave it away to a homeless man at Akron’s Haven of Rest. The homeless man, known on the streets as the benevolent “Homeless Angel,” opens the flash drive at the library.

When he learns what is on it, he tries to spread the news and the drive passes from hand to hand; meanwhile, Tod and Lea track the Angel as the conspirators pursue all three of them. As some disclosures are made, more questions arise.

Last Dance with Death (262 pages, softcover) costs $15.99 from online retailers.

‘Justice Denied’ at WWII camps

Many Americans know about the shameful internment of innocent Japanese-Americans during World War II; fewer know that tens of thousands of German-Americans also were imprisoned, as well as people of other ethnicities. In his book Justice Denied: An Historical Sojourn, Joe Wendel seeks to bring to light and investigate the U.S. government’s actions toward these people, and to advocate the passage of the Wartime Treatment Study Act, stalled since 2009.

After a thorough history of the contributions of Germans to American culture, literature, philosophy, business and other fields, Wendel describes anti-German sentiment in World War I, which included a spree of housebreakings in Columbus in which the thieves took dachshunds, German shepherds and schnauzers, butchering them and burying them in Schiller Park, which had been temporarily renamed Washington Park.

During the second World War, the 1798 Aliens Enemies Act was used as justification to deport or incarcerate German-Americans, among others, even after the war was over. Most were sent to camps in Texas or to Ellis Island.

Wendel, as host of a WCPN radio program addressing German interests in the Cleveland area, interviewed many former internees and their family members, using them as case studies in the book; other accounts came from a reunion of camp survivors in 2010.

Justice Denied (538 pages, softcover) costs $33.99 from online retailers. Joe Wendel was the WXEN broadcasting voice of Cleveland Stokers soccer, leads the Joe Wendel Orchestra and earned a doctorate in educational administration and school law. He is a native of Austria and lives in Euclid.

Events

Cuyahoga County Public Library (Beachwood branch, 25501 Shaker Blvd.) — Marilyn Miller Skylar discusses Tales of a Mad Man’s Wife, about her husband, Cleveland advertising executive David Skylar, who also owned the Sun newspaper chain, 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday. Call 216-831-6868.

Wayne County Public Library (Shreve branch, 189 W. McConkey St.) — World War II veteran Bill Wynne, 95, signs Yorkie Doodle Dandy, the story of Smoky, the Yorkshire terrier who accompanied Wynne in combat in the Pacific, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library (3512 Darrow Road, Stow) — Terry Pluto joins the library’s “Meet the Author” series, discussing and signing his sports books from 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Register at 330-688-3295 or smfpl.org.

Market District (34310 Aurora Road, Solon) — Adrian Miller, author of Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time, and The President’s Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, From the Washingtons to the Obamas, does a cooking demonstration and signs books, 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday.

Medina County District Library (Lodi branch, 635 Wooster St.) — Beacon Journal beer writer Rick Armon talks about Fifty Must-Try Craft Beers of Ohio, 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Barnes & Noble (4015 Medina Road, Bath Township) — William Considine, CEO of Akron Children’s Hospital, signs Leadership: Listen, Respect, Learn, 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Learned Owl Book Shop (204 N. Main St., Hudson) — Sheilla Reydak signs Helping Hands: A Guide to Helping Others Through Trauma and Tragedy, 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Cuyahoga County Public Library (South Euclid-Lyndhurst branch, 1876 S. Green Road) — “Love is in the Air” brings a panel of romance writers to discuss and sign their work; included are Sara Dobie Bauer (Bite Somebody), L.A. McGinnis (Shadow of Ghosts), Marin McGinnis (Tempting Mr. Jordan), Abbie Roads (Saving Mercy), Lydia Sharp (Whenever I’m With You) and Amanda Uhl (Charmed by Charlie), 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. Register at 216-382-4880.

Mac’s Backs (1820 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights) — Jon Wlasiuk talks about Refining Nature: Standard Oil and the Limits of Efficiency, 7 p.m. Saturday.

— Barbara McIntyre

ABJ/Ohio.com correspondent