Greeks Bearing Gifts

A Bernie Gunther Novel, Book 13
Narrated by: John Lee
Series: Bernie Gunther, Book 13
Length: 13 hrs and 4 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (414 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An NPR book of the year

A Crime Reads best crime book of 2018

A vicious murder puts Bernie Gunther on the trail of World War 2 criminals in Greece in this riveting historical thriller in Philip Kerr's New York Times best-selling series.

Munich, 1956. Bernie Gunther has a new name, a chip on his shoulder, and a dead-end career when an old friend arrives to repay a debt and encourages "Christoph Ganz" to take a job as a claims adjuster in a major German insurance company with a client in Athens, Greece.

Under the cover of his new identity, Bernie begins to investigate a claim by Siegfried Witzel, a brutish former Wehrmacht soldier who served in Greece during the war. Witzel's claimed losses are large, and, even worse, they may be the stolen spoils of Greek Jews deported to Auschwitz. But when Bernie tries to confront Witzel, he finds that someone else has gotten to him first, leaving a corpse in his place.

Enter Lieutenant Leventis, who recognizes in this case the highly grotesque style of a killer he investigated during the height of the war. Back then, a young Leventis suspected an S.S. officer whose connection to the German government made him untouchable. He's kept that man's name in his memory all these years, waiting for his second chance at justice...

Working together, Leventis and Bernie hope to put their cases - new and old - to bed. But there's a much more sinister truth to acknowledge: A killer has returned to Athens...one who may have never left.

©2018 Philip Kerr (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Adding an arch tone to his delivery, narrator John Lee provides an extra layer of listening pleasure to the thirteenth installment of the adventures of Bernie Gunther... Lee handles the accents and colorful characters, as well as Bernie's observations and the shifts in pacing, with steady hands.... Lee and Kerr combine their storytelling talents to make this visit to the dark streets and alleys of Berlin bone chilling and emotionally satisfying." (AudioFile

"A terrifically complex tale...a beautifully written novel by a gifted writer who has left us too soon." (Washington Post)

“It doesn't take much to get swept into Gunther's latest adventure or taken in by his darkly witty commentary.” (Chicago Tribune

What listeners say about Greeks Bearing Gifts

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    5 out of 5 stars

Post WW 2 Germany and Greece in a nutshell.

OK I could listen to John Lee read the ingredients to a shampoo and enjoy it. So that's done. I have never read what Germany was like on a personal level after the war. We get an eyeful here. The story is believable and it allows the listener to see what a mess was made of social political order of Europe afterward. Of course we are informed of this mess on the coat tails of a riveting search for the truth story that will have you on the edge of your seat. Kerr always tells a tale that is a wee bit dark or sinister but fascinating. If this was a movie revue the little figure would be out of his seat clapping... Good writing. True Art.

4 people found this helpful

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The real gift is Phillip Kerr's Legacy

There was a crushing sense of regret when I heard about Phillip Kerr's passing. The latest Bernie Gunther novel was another delight to listen to, and digest the cynical protagonist as part of the human condition. This was the greatest gift of the author's talent. John Lee's narration was outstanding as usual. The choice of location and the political turmoil of post-war Greece was a refreshing history lesson. I understand that there is one more novel on the way that Phillip penned before he passed. I'm sure it will be excellent. If you haven't read the Bernie Gunther series, start from the very first novel. It has been an enjoyable literary ride.

4 people found this helpful

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Series gets better and better

Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther novels are a treasure of historical fiction. Bernie may be aging (tell me about it) but he is no less wry, charming, and as ethical as his times permit. Narrator John Lee rises to the challenge of bringing him to life beautifully. More, more, more please.

8 people found this helpful

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I have a little crush on Bernie Gunter....

Bernie's the kind of man you'd like on your side in a pinch. I love this character, he's funny, cynical, a hopeless romantic, enjoys a drink and is an incredibly entertaining and clever crime solver. Just my type to spend time with in the grip of John Lee's outstanding narration. John does a great job of bringing this character to life, he really IS Bernie Gunther. I can't recommend this and all other books in the series enough. You can read this as a stand alone book, or start from the beginning of the series. Download it and enjoy!

2 people found this helpful

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Kerr's Best Yet Bernie Gunther Saga

From start to finish this latest installment of the Bernie Gunther series is Kerr at his best. This time the action takes place in the 1950's Germany and Greece. As always Kerr brings in real villains from Nazi Germany and puts Bernie right in the middle. Its a must listen/read made even more so with Philip Kerr's recent death and the silencing of Bernies sarcasm and never play by the rules for all time. (Well almost as he finished one more book before he passed away and I for one can't wait to read/hear it) As always John Lee brings Bernie and there rest of the characters to life in another 5 star performance as he continues to be one of the best narrators recording today.

2 people found this helpful

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The worst Gunther book I have read

Gunther is now just a caricature of a noirish PI, referring to his romantic interest as "Sugar" and going into great detail about her breasts. Instead of dialogue the Greek characters give long monologues about history; in some cases difeerent characters even repeat the same wikipedia like history lesson. Gunther can be over the top in his negative comments about women, including one about a woman in her early 50s as being part any possibility of romance (she wasn't ugly, he comments, just old). I used to love the sense of place and atmosphere. There was no sense of Greece, just Gunther complaining about Greek food, Greek music, Greek wine, etc.

4 people found this helpful

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Another wonderful Bernie mystery!

Phillip Kerr who died recently will be sorely missed, Kerr had the unique ability to tell a story with vigorous prose, set a scene quickly and take you to another era . Kerr wrote much in the tradition of Raymond Chandler and his protagonist Bernie Gunther is a Philip Marlowe type who somehow survives the Wiemar Republic, the Third Reich and finds himself in Athens for yet another adventure. Here he is in mufti hiding from his problematic past, as claims adjuster seeking a WWII treasure trove, dodging former Nazi's such as Alois Brunner , or corrupt police officers of all nationalities and still he manages to maintain a sense of humor and a small measure of dignity.

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I can't get enough Bernie Gunther

John Lee inhabits Bernie. He is just terrific. The writing is so good. I'm so sad that Philip Kerr died. His plots are so well crafted. I enjoyed this book and the Greek setting.

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Sordid, racist, unconvincing

This is one of the worst books that I have actually finished, and without John Lee’s usual excellent narration I probably wouldn’t have bothered. First a little background: I grew up in Greece in the period in which this novel is set, and I have lived in Germany for the last 30 years. I have dual British and German citizenship, my Greek and German are both as good as my English and I feel equally at home in both countries. Less so in the modern, xenophobic Britain of Philip Kerr. To begin with, Philip Kerr’s “Bernie Gunther” is about as German as Boris Johnson. It’s a bit of a mystery why he chose the conceit of telling his story as a German in the first person, since he doesn’t even try to make it convincing. Kerr’s idea of Germany is like something from the pages of Beano. Bernie Guther comes across as a smug, entitled, sneering and profoundly racist British public schoolboy (and in Britain that means a traditional, expensive private school). If you had any doubts about this then his choice of words, like “Fritz” for any German, soon puts them to rest. No German would ever refer to another German as “a Fritz”, unless he was trying to parody a British prig like the author of this book. Gunther’s attitudes to Greece are similar: Almost everything he says about Greece and the Greeks is driven by the snotty, arrogant racism of the British ruling class looking down on the backward underlings in their Empire — and they see every country that is not Britain as part of their Empire. Every Greek, even the woman he falls for (but actually only sees as an opportunity to let him shine, laughably, as a Casanova), is depicted as backward, stupid, desperately in need of education and enlightenment, and only tolerated as a foil to the brilliance of the author. Greek food, customs and history are treated as amusing anecdotes and objects of contempt. Worst of all, this is all presented with a kind of creepy camaraderie, with the constant unspoken assumption that the reader shares all the author’s repugnant attitudes — as if the author were enjoying a drunken evening sharing racist stories with his equally racist readers. This is a nasty, sordid and racist little book and it is also not even a very good story. The plot is formulaic and wooden, the first person “hero” is neither attractive nor credible and his opinions about as sensible as Brexit.

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Bernie in Greece

What can I say, 13 books into the Bernie Gunther series I have to say I like the series and I liked this story. One of the fun aspects of this series is the different settings provided. This one is set mainly in Greece. The author weaves a tale but gives us the background as to how the Nazi past played out in this locale. Throw in the character of Bernie and you have the makings of a fun listen.