Rob Cairns sits down with author KGE Konkel about his book Who Has Buried The Dead?
- About the Author KGE Konkel.
- Thoughts about Russia in World War 2.
- How the events of World War 2 Mirror today’s events.
Hey everybody, Rob. Cairns here and today I’m going to do something a little special. I’m here with my guest KGE Konkel and we’re going to talk about his new book who was buried the dead. How are you today?
I’m fantastic, I couldn’t hope to be better. I’m looking forward to all the Christmas hush and Bush and rambling. Around the holiday season. Happy Hanukkah. All those out there this fall. In Christmas and it’s the time to be sad, but the time to be happy I’m happy I’m alive.
No, I I will and your stories are pretty compelling story. You’ve gone through a bit of a health battle do. You want to share it a little bit or.
Well, in terms of health, I mean I was healthy. I’ve been a police officer for a long time, almost quarter of essential, more than 1/4 of a century. close to 45 years here in the Aloha Complice and I was going on. I was in Abu Dhabi or was it? Maybe maybe I don’t remember what country but my family doctors just come home. I said I’m not coming. I’m on vacation, but I.
Need a holiday?
And he said you better, it’s urgent. So I take one every normal person does. I wait till my home the end of like went home and he says we have a small problem. We thought it was kidney stones but it’s just just global intestinal. Tumor and we get. Rid of it, I said that’s great. So we had surgery. And then two months later he says we all been screwed up and I said what are we gonna do? He said, well, you can see me. I said I’m not in the business assuming let’s work together and make it work. Let’s get rid of it. OK, so I had 7 hours and it metastasized for that time to all parts of the liver, all four segments. And they weren’t successful as they wanted to be. And so it was given a very short period of time to live less than two months, and so that’s called the oh boy. This idea, like a hole in the head. But I’ve survived three major surgeries 22X. Embolizations and of 53 chemo treatments. I go to work after every chemo the same day. That does not make me extraordinary. I think that makes me typically Canadian. I I have friends in New York who say how do you do it? It’s simple watch. These Canadians and T-shirts shoving them off the roof of their cars, and that’s how they do it. That’s how we live. We just get over it.
No, it’s so it’s so true and and the. Interesting thing about all this is you wrote a lot of this book while you were facing those surgeries and facing those chemo treatments.
That is correct, because I had three previous books that were extremely well received nationally internationally, and maybe options here and there and everything else. And then I, you know, I hadn’t been for a while and done stories for grocery magazines because I have a great deal of affection for history. And so you know the best thing therapy to someone who’s sitting in the room and not watching Netflix and saying, well, like I’m going to work and I’m going to work and it’s actually started, right? And had some rough to have some ideas and it it evolved into this. This, I think a really good thriller which is this thy and murder mystery. And top secrets of the world’s thriller. It’s really a World War Two thriller which is morphed into what’s happening in Ukraine today.
And how did? How did your affection for history start? I find that’s interesting because. I don’t know if I’ve ever shared with you, but I have that same affection for history. Believe it or not. So I love history. So how did your start?
The famous author Faulkner put it best. He says the past is not dead. It isn’t even past yet. So coming from the age I am, which is on the sunny side of 70 maybe 60 depending of the day and still working as a police officer. I I have to look at at. At what the history doesn’t start in 1990, Lord knows so you know it doesn’t start in 1800. Let’s look at. The the personalities that make the world where it is today and the character types and and the fascination I have is with the human human species and how we evolve and evolve at the same time. I mean, every time there’s not, there’s this. Big thing called the downer. It’s a World War. It’s a plague and we somehow are. We adapt to it and part of my love of history is just watching. Not all the goody news of you know what they were in the 1800s. As much as how they survive, how they, how they adapt and history to me has always been this analysis of how people adapt to to crises, because I think that what resilience is very critical to the human species.
And it it’s really interesting when you look at this mess. That’s going on overseas if you wanna call it that. History has a tendency to repeat itself, doesn’t it? It’s almost like you’re not even learning from what’s going on like.
This is no. This is no different than. Spain and we. We you know we fight one of those wars that we actually didn’t fight. We’d have like a well, you know we we played the part of supplying the arms and they’ll fight the war. But very recently I think the last few weeks there’s been this. American TV series where where these people go deep under and all of a sudden the sweets and the sweet things and the lesions are finding all these spies in the mess and they’ve been there for 20 years. So you know Yeltsin and and glasnost and perestroika is not the way that Russia sees itself. It’s not the way stall and saw. It’s not the way that. This is it. We have a pan European vision. It’s not evil. The Russian people are not bad. I reemphasize that. I’ve been, I’ve been executing the search warrants in Moscow, the weekly police officer. To do that, I trained the national police that pulled, I was warned by the my good friends in the last to leave before because it was getting very dangerous. I was actually the personal assistant to my named Mark Depala, who was the Commissioner of the Police National Police. We were talking about organized crime. Parentheses from east of Portland just put out like so Russian organized crime. And when I looked. At that, I realized that that. Oh boy, this is getting heavy and I then was told by my Canadian embassy personnel to to leave and then I listened to three or four weeks after I left. Mark Paul was assassinated by the Russian mob, and you know, there there’s so many things that are on the dark side that we sort of gloss over. And the problem with the Russian phenomena is Stalin has create create this concept of having a a a crucified. Yeah, and it’s. And when he got me you know those other states of Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Czech, Slovakia. You know they’re all buffer states to protect the the Russia that the style and size important is doing the same thing. They put it as not as as foolhardy as Stalin because I think Putin plays the long game. I do not. Believe Vladimir Putin. Is necessarily crazy. I don’t think he has COVID. I think that’s another propaganda game. He he’s a very short customer that we have to be careful of. The threats he makes are are part of a large testing and the Russians are master chess. They’re highly intelligent nation and we we just. We’re we’re dishonest if we believe that somehow high tech is going to beat human human intelligence, cause high tech doesn’t always win battles. We found that in Vietnam we found that out in Iraq we found that out recently in Afghanistan, high tech does not beat low powered human intellect. So I’m sorry, go ahead.
No, it’s it’s so true. High tech isn’t always the answer, but then you look at the reality of this war. That’s going on that kind of the book kind of mirrors what’s going on today. And you do have high tech involved. The latest reports as at the time of this record is we now have drones and. In this war, which was.
We were thinking drones and policing years ago, but it was against privacy laws. How it is that we were? I want to remind people that that as far as Russia is concerned. And I talk a lot about the battle of Sebastopol and the. Book and the growth of Sukkoth and Barea and and the dark side of of the Kim Philby in his thighs. If you wanna look at a a pot boiler who is who is buried? The dead is the great pot boiler is overflowing with with mystery and intrigue. But the the point you have to remember that the real part of the book is. There are twelve hero cities in the Soviet Union. There are cities which were like the civilian plus military survived fascism. They like stalling God, the labor God and four of those 12 cities and are are in crime. I suppose one of them like the they’re not. Anathema to the Russian psyche as far as the Russian. Leadership is concerned they bled for that land, ergo they’ve earned it and they should have it back.
It’s really interesting what’s gone on over in Russia. We had the Soviet Union coming out of the war and then we had all the issues. With the communist countries I have heritage back to Communist Yugoslavia. Believe it. Or not, you survive. My grandfather came over how to yoga savia when when he was young and in those days what would happen is the male would come over and feed and the wife wouldn’t always come over right away so she kept my mom’s family. There was two born in Yugoslavia, which is now Serbia and the other five were born here in Canada. Which is more interesting? Things have changed and then the we saw the advent of the Berlin Wall coming down. We saw the advent of. All the Russian states becoming independent and now Russia is running around trying to gobble them back up and rebuild their empire, so to speak. It’s just really interesting. I should have been a map drawing Europe to be honest. With you I’d be rich right now, I think.
Remember what they said. Tale of two cities. It was the best of times and it was the worst of times and for me as as a as a police officer. Crime has never been more complex. As a writer. Cause I’m I I know on Canada’s only a police writer who’s popular author. But as a writer. You look at at the world as it’s unfolding. I say we’ve been here before, maybe not this century, but we’ve been here before. Every time you move two steps forward, you seem to stumble and we have to. Have faith in. Our our strength as people to overcome mentally adversity but. And I think people are trying to socialize it and say it’s like logical and blah blah blah blah blah. It’s not there is evil in the world, and I say that as one of my profession has actually seen it. And I don’t mean it’s like a palpable thing. That’s like like a video game, so there’s evil. But there is people who are innately evil. I wouldn’t put put in that category, but some of his henchman, some of Stalin’s henchman, were evil like barrier with some of the sheriff’s with young KBD and with the with the. The current FSB, who who, who killed people in English parks by putting syringes into them. Hey, come on, where does this begin? Where does this end? And two lazy fair. All that like, you know, that’s normally it doesn’t happen every day, but I and I I say this to my Russian friends. I said it’s not you that I’m angry with, it’s the fact you’re not getting the whole truth and nothing. But the truth? Is democracy flawed inherently flawed? But I can sit here and talk to you and you can hear me. And you have an audience that will listen and agree and disagree and discuss. And one of the great things that changes that makes us two legged mammals is the fact we have a brain in the capacity that food will when you take away that food, will you take away most of the species that we call humanity.
Yeah, it’s so true. I’ll share with you another bit of a story. Just because we’re talking about Russia and it. I just find it interesting. I had the pleasure as a young boy studying Russian geography when I went to school in Quebec as a Grade 10 student. It was one of the things that covered in geography. There’s a unit about. And at that time Russia still had all. The states together. And we actually did a unit where we represented each of the Russian State I drew Kazakhstan and by research back in 1983 I discovered that Kazakhstan at the time was very oil rich. Their resource rich, and what did I do the unthinkable. I threatened. To leave the Russian Union and start my own country.
And I only and.
What a good what if the risk? That would be like State University. Those take I’m leaving, he said well the other 12 parts of US are going. No, you’re not.
And I shared that story because in essence that’s what happened. All these states like Kazakhstan and the Ukraine and all these other states said yes, we are and. And that’s what happened. And then we have today what’s? In the world where we know what’s going on in the Ukraine, it’s a as I said, a bit of a mess. It’s a bit of a concern because Ukraine is oil rich and Ukraine is very technology rich state and most people don’t. A lot of people forget about the technology part. Of the business, but. There’s a lot of high tech. In the Ukraine, believe it. Or not.
They were very sophisticated when I was doing some investigation into Russian generals and and things. I don’t want to talk. About necessarily even. After 30 years 20 years. Because of certain confidentiality as I have Underoath. But I learned then that that some of the best scientists in the field of missile technology, some of the best gemologists in terms of the various samples. Soils that make up the the complement create velocity for for for aircraft. In spite of the fact we have this pre election who believe that Ukrainians are just peasants and farmers and look on, it’s not going in some sense. They seem wonderful songs. They’re very Moody and there’s a blah blah. Blah blah blah. The reality is they are highly sophisticated and very independent people. And they can’t. Put a lean on. Intelligence and a desire for independence. You can make it mediocre. That’s the bane of our existence. Is mediocrity not? But trying to reach for the stars and that’s the the problem we face in the rest of the world, and we’re putting this single minded. He’s got this whole hinterland of money. When when Germany tried to take over, Nazis tried to take over Russia, his father winter that killed the grandma. Now I think it’s the the power that Putin has over the media. He’s has a vast majority of people harkened back to a more simpler age. You know it’s not like John Boy saying goodbye, goodnight OP goodnight. All these wonderful little users since we have on television here in the West, but they’re actually found a horrible war. And survived, and they feel slighted by the West as far as they’re concerned, the war started in 1940. One the secret pacts. They signed 3941 that have gobbled up so all the little countries and occupied polling and all the Baltic States. Well, that doesn’t matter. That’s part of what Russia is and will be as far as they’re concerned. There was a short war. There’s the glorious war. The only ones who fought against the Allies, which is actually historically wrong. And there are there are state facts that you know wasn’t just the the Russians who defeated the armies of of Nazis, but it was also the Air War in the West that took away the aircraft that which would have supported the the RAYMARCHED in the east, and they were brought home to defend the Fatherland. The German homeland from. Day and night bombings. So it’s it’s a very complex thing when you look at an egg and say as it squares around, and as far as the rest is concerned, there’s only one egg. And it’s it’s so. It’s appears Burg, and it’s beautiful, and there’s no other like.
Yeah, it’s so it’s so. So who should read this book really? I I know history buffs, certainly. Will with chief.
I, I think that I think the book is is is unique in so far as I know a lot of historians like in the university types like it and and World War Two history fans like if there’s a fan to war. But you know, fiction models like it, but I think it’s a it’s good for young people to read because you have we have to have a. Sense of history. And when people? Talk about a war. They say well, it’s far off and and real wars have long legs. They you know the final burst is is the first style this fall. 50 years before the final outburst, and so we we we we try to make war sound like a 60 minutes TV show with commercials and no wars that are real. Wars are easy, that’s why I think, for example, the people that asked to have reporters asked me what’s going to be the end of. The war, I think if we were lucky. We will have a a a stalemate with now decide playing defeat. And have like a very, very difficult time separating the two, much the same as China and India. This has all these little things that really festered and have the potential of great violence. And so I think the same in Ukraine and and and Eastern Europe and Russia. And I think that. So who’s playing the tech? Pretty well gives people a very historically accurate cause. Remember, I think I’m the only only thriller ever written with 100 books as a bibliography that I’ve had to read to do the research, and some of them are like 2000 pages long because I want to make sure everything was accurate. So one thing people would like. Like history with my detail, but also my fall into a into the past and and understand better. Would love to read who’s buried the dead.
Yeah, so true. I mean, in historical fiction I think detail is everything I’m thinking as you were talking about saying how you did the research, and another author that comes to mind is the gentleman by name of John Jakes. He wrote the the famous for writing North and South and that whole trail. Yes, and and I think of John and having read his his books and he’s got several other books about the colonial times and the families in American history and his books are very detailed. And then I I draw the parallel with your book. How it is also very detailed and I think the secret sauce in historical fiction is that detail. To be honest.
Well, that’s what makes a good police officer a good police officer, isn’t it? So yeah, it’s every good police officer, a good lady. Well, they better be honest with themselves and and always preach degree of honesty in their writing. Much the same as I do when I get the witness box. You strive for truth, you strive for accuracy, and you try to keep your personal integrity intact throughout the facility. Chase for the for the perfect word and every rider chase is for that one word. I hate to tell you what it is and my first book was actually a Vermillion sunset. Not so much wow. Right, because I never heard that said before. It’s like a flurry local, 10 sunset and that worked for a whole chapter because it motivated me to write better as a writer. Because, you know, there’s no weird ducks anyway.
I know my brothers one. So I get I get that and it’s funny because as I listen you. Talk about the book. I can actually picture what you’re saying. And to me that makes it a compelling story. I I’m an avid reader, I. A book a week without failure. I’ve been doing this for many, many years. Some wise person told me once, give up an hour of TV and spend that hour reading a book and you’d be richer than most people in the world, so I. I’ve always kind of gone that mantra and I know. When I read stories or historical stories or any books. The best ones are the ones that paint the picture and I’m listening to you as we got kind of go through this interview and you’re painting that picture, and I think that’s what makes this a compelling book to read.
You’re very kind, and I think it’s important to get set when I have young people start to read again.
Is my problem is with young people are on Tik T.O.K that they’re on Netflix or on zoom and they’re you know they’re they’re, they’re actually they’re their brains are not working. You’re not functioning, you’re not engaging and and you know when I hear that that, for example, cursory writing is out of the classroom, and I’m not a whole doc, trust me. You know, people say, well, you’re not you’re old fashioned, I gotta listen I’ve I was at the university when the first computers came out. I mastered what for what 5 and I was good and then I went through all these metamorphoses to Apple and Mac and and I’m changing with the types so you know don’t look at me and say, well there was this guy. Well, I’ve been through so many changes in my lifetime that these young folks have not even begun to realize that life is about change. It’s not the perfect generation. We certainly weren’t and are. Art, but I think really helps us put everything into perspective. It is it is a form of escapism. Of course it is, but it’s really a healthy escapism because you’re acting actually in your brain. You’re not being passive.
One of my best friends just retired as being an educator teaching middle school kids Grade 7 after 30 years in. In July and in June and. She will tell you that. You know the reading and the lack of reading is a big problem with the kids today, so I 100% agree with you and I actually develop my skill reading. Believe it or not, from a boy series called The Hardy Boys as a young. That’s where I started and my father was a reader when he was alive. My grandparents were both, we just my mom, not so much, but in our family. I come from a family of four boys and two of us are very heavy readers and two of us are not and I think many times the two of us that are are probably better off than most people. To be honest with you.
Don’t be too little Canada’s displaced persons after wars refugees. My mom has touched my father Polish and my father taught himself to read English and speak English by getting at the newspaper and I spoke Cantonese in Hong Kong was quite fluent and people said how did you do that as well? There isn’t much choice if you want to. You have to learn how to order food and you can point in the menu only so many times and after a while it’s everything is logical and the inherent logic of reading and the inherent logic of utilizing your brain every time you use your brain it revivifies. It builds the capacity of your brain. And sitting passively watching. And I’m not saying Netflix or I. I don’t want to align any any. Product, but watching actors do this realize they themselves had to learn and memorize lines. And there’s a plot user script and we can either be passive or we can be active now that doesn’t know who’s going to be a writer. But you’re sure. Your life more if you do read.
That’s so true, and the best way to to understand how the world is shaped is to read books like this one because it gives you some insight into what has happened, why it’s happened, where it’s happened, and what we need to do to improve society moving forward.
The footnotes the book. It was the last great secret of the Second World War, and he gets to know what it is. I’m not. Telling you. Why don’t you buy a book if you knew the secret, but it’s fascinating how I I taught my I taught myself. How to read and write and then I developed the capacity to think and utilize that. Then I expanded that to say, what if? What if what, if and so? Then it became logical and I said OK in those circumstances, how does this work? And so that almost childlike fascination I have with the capacity people have? Seize those skill sets. It’s a horrible, sad commentary on somebody that they don’t know that it doesn’t matter. You go to university or high school or Community College, doesn’t matter if you work at. McDonald’s reading is not an escape. Reading is is actually building your intellectual capacity as a human being. So you can discuss things you can disagree with people you know as a sheep and you don’t want to be sheep in this. In a democratic society, you want to be or will get 3% of that bill, or 4% of that bill that that always holds. Just because they don’t know any better, that’s. An insult to a human.
I I would I would 100% agree with you. Thanks for talking about your book today. I would suggest you go in and get it. Who’s buried the dead? Because they go on Amazon. It’s available on Barnes and Nobles and states, Amazon Canada and US.
Any anywhere else, any big boxes.
No, it’s it’s got it’s. It’s only been out recently because most of the books those books have. Uh, there’s been serious. I hate the cliche supply issues. Lot of firms that used to be binding for books have gone out of business. So how do you bind the book? It’s so simple, but how do you bind? But the backing of a book? How do you put those pages together? The print? The print industry has? Had been decimated so getting the book out. When we did we were very fortunate. I’m running a race to get the book out. It’s out there finally and I’m very happy with my publisher. It’s just very good on the. Publications international. They do a lot of good work. It’s the first book they’ve ever done because they don’t basically do thought pieces and political things and you know they take different viewpoints on on things, and they’re very well written about thought. But this is the first joke they’ve got into. Is the world of fiction and thrillers. I said put the sun in the jump because the book is about politics and life and that seems to be the undercurrent that boosts us all. So I encourage people to go out buy the book. It’s good for Christmas and go out there after Christmas. It’s going into the states big time in the spring. Ed Carson. I’ll name him as the president of three major Canadian publishing firms. He’s just retired. I gave him a copy to read. He says this has all the makings of an international. The seller’s right? He’ll say that put my personal gain. I’m just so happy.
And if you want to find more about the book, feel free to go to whosburiedthedead.com and you’ll find all the press releases, some information about our amazing author. You’ll find some information about the book as well as links on where you can purchase that book so. I would suggest going on over there. It’s kind of all in one place to make it nice and easy for you. The listener to read this book so.
Good luck with the book and thank you very much.
For joining me today.
Thank you for allowing me to be with you.
So it’s OK so.
Hey sorry I was on what’s going. What’s up?
I was almost calling. I told you.
That at 4:00 o’clock so.
Bye yeah bye **** I don’t wanna hear bye I have work to do. That’s not fine, OK? Hey you got.