Harvill Secker editorial director Michal Shavit has bought world English language rights to a Danish novel that explores the mentality of young Nazis in World War II.
Simon Pasternak's Death Zones was acquired from Jenny Thor at Gyldendal Agency in Denmark. Harvill Secker will publish in summer 2015.
Death Zones is set in Belarus and Hamburg in 1943, with a young Nazi police detective asked to investigate the murder of an SS officer. The testimony of a six-year-old Belarusian girl who witnessed the crime leads the detective to a Belarus Gulag in search of the murder – a Jew who had been imprisoned in the camps.
Death Zone is described as "an extraordinary novel that explores the mentality of young Nazis; that is, how young men from bourgeois backgrounds become murderers, and how, on a personal level, they dealt with the evil system they became a part of." Shavit called it "not a book for the faint-hearted, but…written with an intelligence and an emotional pull that will have readers gripped from beginning to end."
Pasternak has written three previous literary crime novels, but Death Zone is his first to be published in the UK.