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The Pale Criminal: Berlin Noir | [Philip Kerr]

The Pale Criminal: Berlin Noir

The Pale Criminal brings back Bernie Gunther, an ex-policeman who thought he'd seen everything on the streets of 1930s Berlin - until he turned freelance, and each case he tackled sucked him further into the grisly excesses of Nazi subculture. Hard-hitting, fast-paced, and richly detailed, The Pale Criminal is noir writing at its blackest and best.
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Publisher's Summary

Hailed by Salman Rushdie as a "brilliantly innovative thriller-writer", Philip Kerr is the creator of taut, gripping, noir-tinged mysteries that are nothing short of spellbinding.

In this second book of the Berlin Noir trilogy, The Pale Criminal brings back Bernie Gunther, an ex-policeman who thought he'd seen everything on the streets of 1930s Berlin - until he turned freelance, and each case he tackled sucked him further into the grisly excesses of Nazi subculture.

Hard-hitting, fast-paced, and richly detailed, The Pale Criminal is noir writing at its blackest and best.

©2008 Philip Kerr; (P)2008 Books on Tape

What the Critics Say

"A superb tour of Berlin on the edge of an abyss and a cynical, dashing leading man." (St. Louis Dispatch)
"Echoes of Raymond Chandler but better on his vivid and well-researched detail than the master." (Evening Standard)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (303 )
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4.3 (176 )
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4.5 (173 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Old Hippy PA 07-02-09
    Old Hippy PA 07-02-09 Member Since 2013
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    "Esxcellent Historical Fiction; Gripping ..."

    I've only done reviews for a handful of the hundreds I've listened to from Audible and other sources. The vast majority of selections one finds are ok, reasonably entertaining, decent narration, ... they pass the time. I tend to review when I find the book either a real turkey or, on the other hand, quite a find. This one is the latter category ... it's a really good piece of historical fiction with outstanding narration. I'm a fan of WW II historical dramas and films and this one kept kept reminding me of the incredible 2001 film "Conspiracy", about the Wannsee Conference where the Final Solution was hammered out, especially in its stark portrayal of Reinhard Heydrich who was also a central figure in "Conspiracy". But "The Pale Criminal" is also an excellent mystery in the noir manner about a serial killer of young girls in 1930s Nazi Germany. And it does an interesting psychological thing with its twists on psychotherapy, Jung, and others. I really, really liked this book, and am going to go looking for more by Phillip Kerr.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Armen BROOMALL, PA, USA 03-15-09
    Armen BROOMALL, PA, USA 03-15-09
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    "Another classic by Kerr"

    I am a real crime novel affaciando - and I can honestly say that Kerr is up there with Chandler and Hammett. OK, maybe not on the same level, but he's still writing - and headed in the right direction.
    This book evokes a thrilling story of good and evil with lots of great characters and plot twists. Enjoy.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ilana Montreal, Quebec, Canada 05-27-14
    Ilana Montreal, Quebec, Canada 05-27-14 Member Since 2011

    Audiobooks have literally changed my life. I now actually ENJOY doing mindless chores because they give me plenty of listening time!

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    "What Trouble Will Bernie Get Into Next?"

    While I really enjoyed the first book in the series, March Violets earlier this month, I can't say I felt quite the same about this one. We are now in the Berlin of 1938 and Bernie Gunther is asked to rejoin the police force to work on a serial murder case. Several young girls have gone missing and been found defiled in the most gruesome manner: raped, tied by their feet and drained of their blood exactly like slaughtered pigs. All the girls were around 15, blonde and blue-eyed; the perfect Arian stereotype. Another private case has him uncovering a man blackmailing a wealthy widow, a publisher whose son is a homosexual who (inadvisedly in this age of Nazi power) kept up a correspondence with his lover, some of those letters now being in the hands of the blackmailer. Two very different cases, and no apparent link to the question of the oppression of the Jews in this year which is marked by Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, an organized attack against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and Austria which took place on the 9th and 10th November 1938. But of course we eventually learn that no crime in this time and place could occur without the aim of further oppressing the Jews.

    While I liked the way the case started resolving itself two-thirds of the way in, I've developed a serious dislike for forms of entertainment which centre on serial rapes and murders of women, and the details in this case were truly horrendous. Perhaps because of this, I focused more on little things that bothered me with the first book; endless questionable similes and a main hero who is a typical macho male, which is accurate enough for the period portrayed and amused me the first time around, but here set off against the background of these female victims was distasteful to me. Is that reverse sexism on my part? All the same, solid writing overall (except those similes—why?) and a crime story which places the reader firmly in the heart of Nazi Germany just before WWII. I'll be listening to the third book to see what trouble Bernie gets into next.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Mcafee Texas USA 05-10-13
    Daniel Mcafee Texas USA 05-10-13 Member Since 2005

    danmc

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Second Book in the Series - Better than the First"

    I must qualify my review by saying I am infatuated by books written about this era, and of course love the detective novel genre. I enjoyed the first book in this Bernie Gunther detective series, but this one was much better in that the story was more riveting and multi-faceted, whereas the overall story in the first book was a little flat.

    Not only does the author give the reader/listener a taste of what life was like in pre-WWII Nazi Germany, a fictional tale built around actual historical characters is always one I truly enjoy.

    I am looking forward to moving on to the third book in this series. For those who enjoy this book I would also recommend Ken Follet and several of his books such as, Eye of the Needle, Hornet Flight, and Jackdaws.

    John Lee, the narrator is one of the best and does not disappoint in this effort. He is top notch as usual!

    Overall Highly Recommended!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kitty Reno, NV 05-30-14
    Kitty Reno, NV 05-30-14 Member Since 2002

    I am rarely seen without my headphones on and my iPod clipped on my waist. I love my books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Another Bernie Gunther adventure..."

    I must say that I am really glad that I took a chance on this series. You get a close look at the Nazi era Germany and a mystery as well when you listen to this book. I highly recommend this series...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hannes cupertino, CA, United States 12-11-12
    Hannes cupertino, CA, United States 12-11-12 Member Since 2003
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    "better than some and worse than others"
    Where does The Pale Criminal rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    As above.rates better than average but the story varies from semi-believable to fairly absurd.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Pale Criminal?

    The author is good at evoking the era and was clearly influenced by The Thin Man, in a good way.


    Did John Lee do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Pretty good but one character is differentiated by a corny New York accent that was grating to the ears.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    I wouldn't...a ridiculous question.


    Any additional comments?

    As I mentioned is reviewing the first of the trilogy, the tough guy dialogue becomes VERY tiresome, almost a caricature of Dragnet-style terse catchy stuff that is corny beyond belief. Also, the sex scenes....hit fast forward for those, you're not missing anything....a major detraction from these books, and I'm not a prude.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ellen abingdon, VA, United States 08-18-09
    ellen abingdon, VA, United States 08-18-09 Member Since 2007
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    "pale criminal"

    terrific, narration fabulous

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
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