John Katzenbach Month #4: Hart’s War, The Analyst

y John Katzenbach is a Novelist who has been awarded multiple times for his exquisite novels. Hart’s War and The Analyst happen to be two more of his outstanding deliveries to readers, the former being crafted into a Hollywood movie.



Set in the backdrop of World War II (WWII) Prisoner of War (POW) camp, Hart’s War is the story of a Harvard law student turned pilot- Tommy Hart, who is held captive by the Nazis when his bomber was shot down. Hart lived a routine life at the German camp, until a black flier- Lincoln Scott joined the camp. Disliked for his color, Scott was accused of killing a very prominent figure at the camp, whom Hart is now ordered to defend during the trial.


In Hart’s War, Katzenbach once again shows his exceptional writing skills by developing an astounding picture in the readers’ minds of the Prisoner Of War camp. The description is so detailed and astute, that the camp serves more as a character in the story than as a backdrop. The setting is flawlessly grim- taking you to the prisoners’ entire world and lends a confined atmosphere to the murder investigation and trial.

Each character is developed very well in this one, chillingly revealing the divisive bigotry that goes on with the soldiers, who are fighting for the same values, as well as some unexpected sources of redemption.

The book compels you to think and draw your own conclusions to connect the puzzle pieces, but this mind boggling story contains twists and turns all the way to the end, leading to a nail-biting conclusion of this suspenseful story.

A great novel, enjoyable at every turn, with well developed characters and a legal case told in a very compelling manner, leaving no ends loose. Although the POW camp setting is a depressing one, the story is outstanding and has some uplifting messages of morality related to friendship, loyalty, survival and duty. A must read!



In The Analyst, the author takes us on a vigorous psychological journey, following the life of a esteemed psychiatrist Dr. Starks. Dr. Starks lives in a dull rut of monotonous routine, which gives him a sense of safety and security. However, his bubble is burst when a psychopath, who calls himself Rumpelstiltskin, threatens Starks with a letter saying that the doctor must figure out his identity in fifteen days or he will pose a threat to the life of someone in the his family. The only way to prevent this is if the doctor wins the game or commits suicide.


The Analyst is an engaging and fast paced novel, with numerous mysteries to unfold and plot twists that keep you turning pages. Initially, the lead character and the plot is established wherein Katzenbach is forced to give a lot of details to the background of the unfolding scene, in order to make the reader understand the psychological aspect involved. This is followed by the advancement of the plot, where the pace slows down for a short while- which is a minor complaint for an otherwise greatly told story. In the third part where the mystery is being solved, Katzenback manages to pick up the rhythm which compels the reader not to put the book down. Usually, in these types of books, the ending can tend to get a little far-fetched. However, this was not the case with this one. The story comes to a satisfactory ending, wrapping up the book impeccably.

Another great thing about this story is that your not only following it with both your eyes and your mind, but you are also constantly thinking, drawing your own conclusions and proposing your own solutions to each puzzle and complication that the character stumbles upon.

The scenes and the environment are described in a very relaxed manner, giving you a pleasant sense of familiarity with the surroundings. You can actually feel that the situation is taking place right before your own eyes.

Finally, the author compels you to think if you would react the same way if you were in the shoes of the lead character. As the lead character evolves, you too evolve with him, imagining how it would be if the safety of you and your family was threatened and how you would react to it by stepping out of your comfort zone!

The Analyst has more twists and turns than one can think of, and the games played by the doctor are intriguing and frustrating at the same time. If you’re looking for a fast-paced, engaging mystery novel, this well crafted suspense novel by John Katzenbach is a must-read!


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