©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)
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!
Excellent writing with great delivery. I can't want until next month to get the third edition. You will not be disappointed.
Historical Fiction at it's finest.
No, but I will be if he keeps on delivering this quality of work
I was eager to find a series which told suspenseful stories beautifully written about compelling characters in an historically accurate way. I love the work of Eric Ambler, and also enjoy Alan Furst, who in my mind is less consistently good. Philip Kerr's work came as a huge disappointment in every respect. The characters are so unlikeable I found it hard to care what happened in the story. The historical atmosphere created here is very thin; the language is vulgar, the story contrived. Ambler or Furst, this is not.
fairly clever plot, enjoyed the historical evocation of an era, one of my favorite narrators
the second in the series, already listening
yes...about the same. at least he doesn't try to fake a german accent
the corny tough-guy dialogue and overblown similes became quite tiresome. also, the sex scenes....could definitely do without...i'm not a prude but they detract and are completely pointless.
this was a noir detective yarn, set in pre-war Germany. I was hoping for something like Alan Furst, but on the contrary, the characters were cutouts, the villains predictable, and the narration cringeworthy. Gratuitous violence, too.
Enjoy listening to audible books just before going to bed. This one kept me up until wee hours of night. Really exiting and great understanding of Nazi Germany in 1930s. Will certainly buy the remaining 3 books.
Move over Sherlock here comes Bernie! A real gritty true to the genre of PI Noir. Tough and smart a real man in a world going mad and dealing with the decay of a society and the terrible slide into Nazi Germany as the back drop.
Mind wandered more than usual. I like Deighton and Ambler..Silva and LeCarre. This was simple character dev but hard to follow. Too many characters and was not sure who was who. Maybe the book was too short at 9hrs. Found it hard to care about and like John Lee reading Follett better. Maybe it just takes some getting used to as by the end, I thought I might try the second book. Love the era/genre.
Writer & daddy.
Yes, I think this series would appeal to readers of all shapes and sizes.
The historical elements flow so well. Great mystery. Great characterizations.
Yes, more in this particular series. I really love his voice, especially for this Kerr series.
And if you dig history, this one's steeped in deftly tossed in asides. I was just in Berlin and it was great to follow Bernie with a map through neighborhoods I had familiarity with now. Berlin is such a tinderbox of historical allusion and Kerr does a terrific job of mining those diamonds, "bells", for this series. And anything that John Lee reads goes from good to engrossing with those first gravely syllables.
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