Praise for THE CRATE

“”Our church has had the joy of hosting Debbie as a speaker both for our adult book club and for our high school youth group — and in both settings, Debbie held the audience spellbound with her stories. ‘The Crate’ is a remarkable book: deeply moving, utterly engaging, and a powerful reminder of all that we must not forget about injustice, war — and compassion, too. I commend the book — and its author! — to any audience.”

  • Rev. Alida Ward, Greenfield Hill Congregational Church

“I finished THE CRATE last night, and I am overwhelmed. It is so beautifully written, so evocative. I can see why it has received so many accolades.”

  • Jewish News of Northern California

THE CRATE is the kind of book that you zip through because it’s a true-life page-turner, but then you need time to process it all because there’s so much depth. This compelling story will leave you gutted. You almost have to read this in a book club (or at least with a buddy) because there’s so much you’ll want to discuss afterwards.”

  • Lori Banov Kaufman, author of REBEL DAUGHTER

“I read THE CRATE twice – and loved it both times. THE CRATE is one of those unique books that takes you on a thrilling journey through a true story, while at the same time linking it to the lived experiences of people with difficult family histories.”

  • Marilyn Sinclair, Founder, LIBERATION75 Global Conference on the Holocaust

Remarkable detail, very well written… this was a compelling story.

  • Heidi Slowinski Book Reviews

I always tell [people] to keep books which are meaningful and relevant. THE CRATE is one such book. It should be used as a text in high school and university literature courses. I strongly recommend reading this exquisite yet haunting and memorable work, a testimony to survival.

  • The Jerusalem Post

THE CRATE is an impressive and important piece of work. I’m glad it was written, and I’m glad I read it.”

  • Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Jack Reacher Series

Some stories are like a gut-punch, hitting you broadside with such harrowing moments that you have to put the book down and take a breath. THE CRATE is such a tale. Throughout this book, you’ll find anecdotes both horrifying and uplifting, leading readers to a final resolution that feels earned, rewarding, and ultimately with a poignant sense of hope—for who we are and who we might be. Treat yourself to this journey and be transformed.”

  • James Rollins, #1 New York Times bestseller of Crucible

“Levison is a gifted, insightful and evocative writer. She delivers a brilliant story.”

  • New York Journal of Books

“Although it is her first book and she is highly ambitious in the way she weaves in and out of the various narratives, Levison pulls all of the various strands together with the deftness of an experienced novelist. Reading THE CRATE was a compelling and ultimately moving experience and should Levison turn to writing a novel, I will be most anxious to read it.

  • Ottawa Jewish Bulletin

“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

Here is a wonderful debut, full of mystery and intrigue. This is a profound novel I could not put down.” 

  • Checking Out Chapters

Although she is an award-winning writer in national and international media, this non-fiction book her first. This crime story is riveting as Levison entwines both the story of a murder victim that was buried on the family’s lakeside property in Canada and her parents’ experiences during the Holocaust.

  • Killingly Villager

“THE CRATE is an intense read. It is not a beach book, nor a gentle summer read. It is a book to be read slowly, and gently digested. There is a lot of detail, all worth soaking up.”

  • The Newtown Bee

“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

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

“THE CRATE is a beautifully written true story written by the daughter of Hungarian Jewish Holocaust survivors. It reads more like a novel than nonfiction. The author’s storytelling [is] extremely well done… eloquent and descriptive. I felt as though I was actually with her, sharing her experiences. The description of her parents’ experiences was one of the most powerful and heart-wrenching accounts of the Holocaust that I’ve read.”

  • Good Book Fairy

“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

True Crime aficionados, take note. By astutely weaving the thread of a recent murder with the atrocities of Nazi concentration camps through the connecting link of Levison’s aged parents, the author compellingly exposes the lifelong effects of violence on the human experience and the courage of those who survive violence and struggle to move on.”

  • Cottage Country Hideaways

“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.  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. 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 WOUNDED ANGELS

An ambitious and bracing true tale about survivors.

  • Book Trib

A sensitive portrayal of the effects of violence.”

  • Vanessa’s Picks

“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, Ontario Provincial Police, 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, Holocaust Educator

If you love a good true crime memoir, you won’t be disappointed!

  • Game of Books

“I really felt like I was sitting next to Debbie. She writes with such passion and spirit that as I read her detailed descriptions of her family’s past, I felt tears trickle down my cheeks. Reading Debbie’s incredible story and knowing it is her own personal family history, made me feel a few extra goosebumps. We highly recommend this story to anyone who loves true crime and stories about the Holocaust time period.”

  • Two Girls and a Book Obsession