©2008 Philip Kerr; (P)2008 Books on Tape
"The brutality and corruption of Nazi Germany serve as the backdrop for this impressive debut mystery novel. Scottish-born Kerr re-creates the period accurately and with verve; the novel reeks of the sordid decade that saw Hitler's rise to power." (Publishers Weekly)
"Echoes of Raymond Chandler, but better on his vivid and well-researched detail than the master." (Evening Standard, London)
This is a very entertaining story. The hero is a classic 1930s detective, the story moves nicely along, but the best part was the setting -- Germany 75 years ago. It was completely captivating.
Philip Kerr is one of the very best. Think literary thriller (like John Le Carre) combined with a big dash of hard boiled attitude (like Raymond Carver). The detective navigates an increasingly Nazi-fied Berlin, trying to stay below the Nazi radar while maintaining a private stance of utter contempt for the rising regime. The story has plenty of twists and plenty of turns, but the atmosphere and characters are the real spell-binders. Highly recommended.
Narration is great.
You won't want to stop listening to what is one of the best historical thriller written. Nazi Germany provides the background. The writing is Chandler quality. If you like historical thrillers - don't miss this one.
This was a great period detective thriller -- but an excessively graphic one. Mr. Kerr earns high points for his research and detail but the rape scene was, in my mind, too much. If anything will keep me from purchasing his books in the future, it is the nightmares that I have had after listening to the graphic details of that scene.
An LA type PI in Nazi Germany. Lots of possible material to grow and build new books. A very good start.
If it gets a little dirty and colorful at times, I guess that is the way it could have been. The ending caught me by suprise.
I love a good mystery or thriller, and I love any novel set in the WWII era. And John Lee is perhaps my favorite narrator. So this book seemed to have all the right elements. But as it turns out, it's more of a detective novel than a thriller. Not my cup of tea.
If you like the classic Raymond Chandler, you'll love this book. It's well written an well narrated, and seems to be an homage to that 40's Noir style. But I didn't enjoy it as much as I'd expected.
One of the best historical fiction audiobooks I've heard. I could not wait to find out how the detective was going to unravel this case. Nice story, good twists and turns that kept the story very interesting. I was a bit remiss about the ending, but hey I guess you can't have it all.
I listen to books to be entertained... my favorite genre is a "Legal Thriller" I have actually been a member since 2001. Love my books!
This book gives you some insight into not so distant past and transports you to an era that is a blight on German history. Well researched and well written... I will definitely get this entire series.
Audiobooks have literally changed my life. I now actually ENJOY doing mindless chores because they give me plenty of listening time!
A gritty, noir thriller, and the first of what promises to be a gripping series. Bernie Gunther has left the police force and struck out on his own as a private investigator. What makes his work interesting is the time and place: Berlin, 1936 when the Nazis are in full power and preparing for the Summer Olympics. His services are more or less forcibly retained by a millionaire industrialist who has just lost his beloved daughter and her husband to a fire in their home. Both bodies are found in their bed, and the safe containing a priceless diamond necklace has been broken into. Was this a straightforward murder and burglary or is there more than first meets the eye? As Gunther investigates local jewelry vendors, he can't help but be horrified at how the Jews are being taken advantage of, with glaring anti-semitism at it's peak. Desperate to sell their valuables to get away from the repressive measures taken against them (most professions are banned to them, and everyone is quick to add "German" as a preface to their profession on their business cards to indicate they are of good Arian stock), they are forced to sell their belongings well below the market price. Trying to find out anything in this repressive system is bound to bring about all sorts of complications, and when Bernie's widowed secretary is too scared to return to work after being bullied by Nazi police officers, he's delighted to find a beautiful and single replacement for her in ex-journalist Ilse, but their romantic involvement is bound to render him that much more vulnerable. “March violets” was a term used for late-comers to the Nazi Party after the passage of Hitler's Enabling Act which rendered him a dictator on March 23, 1933. In May, the Nazi Party froze membership, and those with the lowest membership numbers were given preferential treatment, though everyone was eager to be seen as a Hitler supporter. Not so Bernie, who has Jewish clients and doesn't care for the views of a party he never chose to support, which is dangerous in and of itself because dissidents are daily being sent to concentration camps, where few are expected to survive the harsh conditions. I loved every bit of this private dick story set during a very dramatic period in history. Those who've enjoyed the more recent John Russell series by David Downing are bound to find this precursor highly satisfying. I'm very much looking forward to the next book!
A good noir crime novel that pays tribute to the Hammett and Chandler tradition. However, it fails to convey a real sense of place and the narrator mispronounces German place names so badly that they are often almost unrecognizable which, of course, makes the characters speaking them unbelievable. John Lee does a very good job otherwise; couldn't he have been coached a little on this?
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