“A deftly crafted and inherently riveting account from beginning to end, “The Crate” is a true story showcasing the complexities of the human experience in the face of genocidal horror and the striving for singular human justice in the face of a specific and horrific act of ultimate cruelty… very highly recommended.”
- Midwest Book Review
“The book is written so sympathetically to the horrors it tries to portray, and with such affection and some of the language is so evocative… phrases like that pepper the book, and create such a sense of atmosphere and tragedy.”
- It Takes a Woman
“Levison is a gifted, insightful and evocative writer. She delivers a brilliant story.”
- New York Journal of Books
“There are true crime stories and then there are books that delve so much deeper that they embed themselves under the skin and burrow into the psyche. The Crate is the latter. Levison may be new to the writing world, but she has been at it for years as a journalist, which shows in prose that’s cut clean and yet conversational in tone.”
- Monster Librarian
“An emotionally wrenching and riveting tale that bleeds heartfelt emotion on every page.”
- Providence Journal
“A heart-wrenching true crime, but it reads like a novel.”
- Well Worth a Read
“Gorgeous, poetic writing.”
- Books, Life, and Everything Nice
“The Crate is author Deborah Vadas Levison’s first novel and she has made an incredible impression in the published world. What truly brings The Crate to life is really Levison herself. Her writing style will make readers feel as if she is sitting in the room with them. Readers are in for quite the emotional and powerful journey.”
- Roll Out Reviews
“Terror has no boundaries, not of time nor place. Deborah Levison proves that in her marvelous true crime debut, THE CRATE. Her parents survived the Holocaust, only to find their cottage sanctuary held a dark secret nailed up in a hidden crate. What follows from that discovery is the tale of their survival, the rippling effects of violence, and the devastation wrought by a modern-day murder. THE CRATE is equal parts detective story, history lesson, and family memoir, each searing in its own telling. A unique and important book.”
- James Benn, author of the Billy Boyle WWII mystery series
“Levison opens wide the door to her world full of memories. That is where we read of Hungarian survivors of the Shoah, of escape from oppressive regimes, of brutality and murder, but also of bravery, love and beauty. Two main true stories, with a time gap of some fifty years in between, converge as they happen to the same family. With the writing shifting between documentary and memoir, it becomes hard for the reader to put down this book.
THE CRATE has one problem: sadly, it has to finish. But you can always go back and start rereading it.”
- Immanuel Mifsud, Ph.D., recipient of the European Union Prize for Literature, poet, and author of IN THE DARK NIGHT WE LOOKED
“Escaping the horrors of the Holocaust, Levison’s parents nestle into a quiet cottage in Muskoka. But trauma ripples into their new life when they discover a crate hidden beneath their sanctuary.
Seamless prose, profound emotional texture, and a very human voice help chronicle this unforgettable story. THE CRATE is true crime at its best.”
- K.J. Howe, bestselling author of THE FREEDOM BROKER and SKYJACK, and Executive Director of ThrillerFest
“Evocative, and inspiring … so much more than a true crime.”
- Steve Jackson, New York Times Bestselling Author
“THE CRATE combines the horror of one murder with the terror of historical mass murder. A family retreat in the dark woods north of Toronto, once a haven for a young girl, is soiled by a heinous act of violence. Behind the scenes, survivors of the Holocaust, who outlasted the Nazis, the Russian communists, and even their own neighbors, try to raise the next generation free from the atrocities they witnessed.
THE CRATE is a vital and necessary book that should be read as much for its historical content as for its entertainment value.
Once you begin reading, this book is hard to put down. Once you are finished, it is impossible to forget.”
- Ron Winter, Pulitzer-nominated author of MASTERS OF THE ART, GRANNY SNATCHING, and THE HYPOCRITE
“In THE CRATE, Debbie Levison takes us layer by layer, into the core mystery of her story. From the creation and history of her family’s deep-woods cottage where the box was found, to the lives of people who built and seasonally inhabited the place, to the tragic history of the person whose corpse was found inside the crate, she carefully knits the interrelationships of all of these elements. Each time she looks backward, into what in the hands of a lesser writer might devolve into the mundane, she instead draws us further into the story. She does this by connecting each detail of her nostalgic memories of the family’s summer getaways to the violation wrought by the murder that invaded their private sanctuary. Levison manages to slip between the past and present with ease and never loses us in the process. Then she looks even further back in her family history to connect the unsettling impact of the modern-day murder to the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust that her parents just barely survived and most of her ancestors did not. Her description of the Nazi atrocities is uncomfortable and often painful to read. As the story progresses, Levison digs deeper into her own emotions as well and brings them raw to the surface to share with us.
In the end, THE CRATE is as informative as an investigative news report yet as intimate as a personal diary. Compelling … first-rate … the kind of book that makes us want to read.”
- Chuck Miceli, poet, playwright, and author of AMANDA’S ROOM
“Levison captured the accuracy of this real life horror. She and her family were thrust into a police investigation by the very person they trusted. The angle of this story is one not often told. THE CRATE hands us bone-chilling facts weaved through a story of survival.”
- Detective Dave Allen, Lead Investigator (Retired)
“Author Deborah Levison has played a critical role in touching our hearts and minds through retelling the Holocaust stories of her family. She is a truly gifted author with a very important message to communicate through her writings. And she is an equally gifted speaker, leaving her audience members spellbound, deeply moved, and riveted to their seats. At a time when the last survivors of the Holocaust are passing away, Levison has preserved through THE CRATE important stories for future generations to read.”
- Al Treidel, Educator