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A Quiet Flame

Narrated by: Paul Hecht
Series: Bernie Gunther, Book 5
Length: 13 hrs and 57 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (373 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Philip Kerr’s intricate novels featuring former Berlin homicide detective Bernie Gunther have earned ahallowed place in the hearts of mystery fans. It’s 1950, and Bernie has arrived in Argentina seeking asylum after being falsely identified as a Nazi war criminal. There he investigates the murder of a wealthy banker’s daughter ina case reminiscent of one he worked in Germany 18 years before.

©2009 Philip Kerr (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

May be his best

I haven't finished the series, but this one may be the best of the bunch. Standing alone it deserves five stars across the board. Narration by Paul Hecht is, to my ear, his best effort to date. Flash backs are clear easy to follow and directly relevant to the point of departure. I wish more authors understood their proper use. One hardly need suspend disbelief to engage with this book. Enjoy! It's a great read.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • DCG
  • lilburn, GA, United States
  • 04-08-15

UGH! A European with a twangy American accent????

I simply cannot get through this book. I absolutely LOVE the previous Gunther books, but this accent is simply driving me nuts. What the heck? Bernie is GERMAN! this guy sounds like he is from the American Midwest. Just too bizarre. The narration is flat and uninteresting. I cannot continue. These books need to be re-narrated in an appropriate accent (John Lee) before I can pick up another one. Sorry Bernie. I just cant listen to any more.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Kerr gone Mad?

What could have gone through Mr Kerr's head to have him drop John Lee and use Paul Hecht as narrator? The wonderful exciting Bernie Gunter" stories have gone stone cold flat. John Lee was Bernie. Hecht reads in a flat monotone disinterested tone that puts me to sleep. I have lost all interest in the series. I am finished. No longer will I be transported through the dark mysterious streets of Europe through unique twists and turns, listening to richly developed characters interact in Mr Kerr's masterful work.
I know it was 15 years since he penned a new "Bernie "novel but Got in Himmel, there are so many other talented readers he could have chosen. Did he even audition Hecht? or was Hecht fobbed off on him for loosing a bet?.
Good by Bernie...RIP

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • jeryl
  • Live Oak, TX, United States
  • 07-30-12

A Quiet Flame review

Would you listen to A Quiet Flame again? Why?

Yes, I enjoy noir

What other book might you compare A Quiet Flame to and why?

Some of the James Lee Burke - Dave Robicheaux series

What does Paul Hecht bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

In my opinion, he has a dramatic voice.

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

Detecting can be a dirty business.

Any additional comments?

Waiting for the next one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not His Best but Still Worth It

The writing here is okay but not as good as usual. Hecht is still fine as the narrator. Even Kerr's not-so-good stories are still worth reading/listening to. In this episode it just seems that Bernie is making too many mistakes for the convenience of Kerr so he can make rather obvious political statements. It is more fun when Kerr is simply telling a story and letting Bernie smart-off and get into feasible trouble. In A Quiet Flame Bernie's arrests are far too contrived to enable the listener to feel a smooth flow of the plot. The wise-cracks are still there and the story is passable, even given the several bumps along the road.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another wonderful novel by Philip Kerr

I absolute loved all Bernie Gunther novels,,this one so far, I particularly liked.Kerr shows his outstanding writing skills when he weaves the plot in current time Argentina back to Nazi Germany in the thirties- effortlessly and without creating an artificial or unbelievable pretext. His word-craft is elegant as usual,his images and ease handling the language a sheer joy. His knowledge of historical dates and characters is profound as always.
I'm still not used to the new narrator who has a problem giving the different characters a different voice.He also lacks a grip of the basic pronunciation guidelines. And unfortunately,Kerr's books are just full of German names, street names and titles of soldier, ranks etc.
Why Kerr used so many words directly taken from the German language-without explaining what they mean- beats me.I understand he studied German philosophers in their native language, and fair play to him. But how can a non-native speaker understand what "polyps are,bulls,warm brothers or even "the green minna?..to name but a few.
I saw on the Bernie Gunther fan site that they are referred to as slang. Some are and some are just normal German words which go unexplained. A glossary would be helpful for non-German speakers in my view.
Nevertheless, a superb read that kept me enthralled from cover to cover. I highly recommend the whole series. I'm working my way thru them,sometimes with the help of a few hardcovers, and dread the day when they will reach their natural end!

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    5 out of 5 stars

Regrettably, this wonderful book (and indeed the entire series) has been ruined by a change in narrator

How and why do publishers take a winning combination (of Philip Kerr’s writing and John Lee’s sublime narration ) and suddenly decide in the middle of the Bernie Günther series to change narrators? And why don’t publishers understand that if you MUST change narrator, you should try to minimize the difference in narrative style. John Lee’s peerless talent to invoke all manner of foreign accents with aplomb was the perfect fit to Kerr’s writing style of WWII noir gumshoe detective. Paul Hecht, whose voice sounds perfect for young adult and children’s books, changes the listening experience so dramatically as to make it unlistenable. Gone is the inherent narrator’s accent, replaced by a voice that is so utterly American and devoid of any foreign color that it seems almost a parody of an American accent.

It is so hard to find an author whose books I like with good narration, and I was over the moon to have discovered Philip Kerr. I loved the first four in the series and I took great comfort in knowing that there are over a dozen more left to enjoy. This all came crashing down today after I purchased the next three in the series as I embarked on a road trip, anxious to hear the next tale. And then the voice...this voice that doesn’t suit the writing or content whatsoever. A voice that reminds me of an elementary school teacher teaching a lesson.

Now, admittedly, I don’t know the reasoning behind the change but I do know that John Lee has narrated several dozen books since the date of his last Philip Kerr novel. The most likely reason for the change is that the publisher wouldn’t pay the “going rate” for John Lee’s talent. Or at least I hope that was the reason....because to believe the publisher made the change for creative or editorial reasons is simply beyond the pale.

Louise Penny, another author whose work I greatly like, began the audiobook version of the latest (at that time) installation of her Inspector Gamache series with a spoken apology. She said that her great friend and narrator of the previous 9 books, Mr. Ralph Cosham, has suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. She went on to validate my own feelings by saying that she knows how jarring a change in narrator is to the listener. The narrator adds life to the story; becomes the characters; and from the very first book becomes permanently, indelibly fused with the novel. She voiced something I have always felt which is that, for better or worse, the barrator’s voice is literally what your brain “hears” when you read the book in written form. As such, she claimed that she and her publisher took the greatest of care in selecting the next narrator, doing their best to minimize the discontinuity by selecting a narrator whose tempo, timbre and tone of voice and overall “delivery” seems somehow familiar, though not the same. I was struck by the genuine concern for the listener that she expressed and I appreciated the fact that she acknowledged the change up front. In contrast, the lack of any such explanation or even acknowledgement by the author or publisher reinforces my suspicion that the motives for this change were purely economic and were made without any thought of or consideration for the listener.

Audiobook publishers need to understand how disruptive a sudden change in narrator has on the listening experience. Continuity isn’t so important with authors who don’t write in series, bot for serial novels with certain constants across the novels-especially constants like the protagonist’s character- are broken with careless and unnecessary changes in narrator. If John Lee were deceased or had changed careers, that would be easier to u sets tans. But John Lee has become one of the most prolific narrators on Audible. Had the publisher given any thought towards some semblance of continuity they would have selected madeany one of the dozens of excellent narrators whose voices have a certain foreign flare to them. Literally, any male narrator who learned to speak English anywhere EXCEPT America would have made a better choice. Ofc the top of my head, Robert Ian Mackenzie, Rory Kinnear, or Derek Jacobi all have that slight British accent that is reminiscent of John Lee. Better yet, they could have simply renewed their contract with John Lee, understanding that it is precisely because his narration is so excellent that he is in such demand. Or, if all else fails, just an acknowledgement in the audiobook about the change along with some kind of explanation or rationale.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Stevon
  • Tempe, AZ, United States
  • 03-14-19

Bernie in Argentina

You can't but like Bernie Gunther.

In this book, due to circumstances Bernie finds himself in 1950 Argentina. He is immediately sucked up by the Argentine powers to once again be a detective looking into grisly circumstances that he doesn't really want to but has to. He must go into the German community there to solve a mystery, in the middle of ex SS soldiers who are living in Argentina to escape the crimes they committed in World War II.

A great setting for the next book in the series.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Where is John Lee? this guy was so bad! I will <br />

where is John Lee? this guy was so bad! I will not pursue anymore with this narrator

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Love Philip Kerr and Paul Hecht

The Bernie Gunther books are astoundingly good and I look for books narrated by Paul Hecht. One of the best narrators ever.