Metropolis

A Bernie Gunther Novel, Book 14
Narrated by: John Lee
Series: Bernie Gunther, Book 14
Length: 11 hrs and 13 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (364 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"[Metropolis is] a perfect goodbye - and first hello - to its hero...Bernie Gunther has, at last, come home." (Washington Post)

New York Times best-selling author Philip Kerr treats listeners to his beloved hero's origins, exploring Bernie Gunther's first weeks on Berlin's Murder Squad.

Summer, 1928. Berlin, a city where nothing is verboten. 

In the night streets, political gangs wander, looking for fights. Daylight reveals a beleaguered populace barely recovering from the postwar inflation, often jobless, reeling from the reparations imposed by the victors. At central police HQ, the Murder Commission has its hands full. A killer is on the loose, and though he scatters many clues, each is a dead end. It's almost as if he is taunting the cops. Meanwhile, the press is having a field day. 

This is what Bernie Gunther finds on his first day with the Murder Commisson. He's been taken on because the people at the top have noticed him - they think he has the makings of a first-rate detective. But not just yet. Right now, he has to listen and learn. 

Metropolis, completed just before Philip Kerr's untimely death, is the capstone of a 14-book journey through the life of Kerr's signature character, Bernhard Genther, a sardonic and wisecracking homicide detective caught up in an increasingly Nazified Berlin police department. In many ways, it is Bernie's origin story and, as Kerr's last novel, it is also, alas, his end. 

Metropolis is also a tour of a city in chaos: of its seedy sideshows and sex clubs, of the underground gangs that run its rackets, and its bewildered citizens - the lost, the homeless, the abandoned. It is Berlin as it edges toward the new world order that Hitler will soon usher in. And Bernie? He's a quick study, and he's learning a lot. Including, to his chagrin, that when push comes to shove, he isn't much better than the gangsters in doing whatever he must to get what he wants. 

©2019 Philip Kerr (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

One of Publishers Weekly's Top 10 Mysteries and Thrillers of Spring 2019 

"[Narrator John] Lee imbues the entire production with gravitas and grit, lending the story a haunting literary tone. Characters speak with vivacity and depth, a testament to both the writing and the narration. Lee perfectly captures Gunter's sarcastic voice with a hint of youthful vibrancy. Despite this being both a prequel and the final book in the series, new listeners can easily follow. The entire production feels grander than one voice, with Lee elevating the story to a captivating listen." (AudioFile Magazine)

"Gripping...Kerr does a fine job of immersing the reader in the seamy side of Weimar Germany.... Fans will be sorry to see the last of the honest, wisecracking Bernie." (Publishers Weekly

"This book is plenty timely. But completed shortly before the author's death, it is also one of Kerr's most congenial, beautifully controlled, and entertaining works. The banter is priceless. Going against the grain - as usual - by writing an origin novel as his swan song, Kerr leaves his fans happy." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) 

What listeners say about Metropolis

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A highly talented author who will be missed

This book wraps up (or, begins) the Bernie Gunther series.

I have listened to the series and have enjoyed it immensely. The noir detective style is entertaining and his colorful metaphors are often hilarious.

John Lee brings the characters to life, and breathes personality into each.

I have mixed feelings about whether I think someone should continue this series. Selfishly, I want to be able to listen to more about Bernie and his time in history, but I am skeptical as to the ability of another author to carry this series forward with the same high measure of quality that Philip Kerr brought to the page...

6 people found this helpful

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Love Bernie.

John Lee the narrator really does an excellent job with all of the Bernie novels. of course Mr. Kerr has written an incredible character and it has been a Wonderful ride through the Bernie Gunther series. I will miss him.

3 people found this helpful

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Disappointing

Once again John Lee destroys a good book with his peculiar speech affectations. I have never met or heard anyone speak as his characters do in Bernie Gunther stories. I cannot listen to this book.

2 people found this helpful

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awesome and sad

Once again a great work and extremely sad that this will be the last adventure

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Philip Kerr’s Final Gunther Novel has the mood of his loss

Philip Ballantyne Kerr died in March of 2018 of bladder ca. accdg to Wikipedia. Having read all of his Bernie Gunther novels, this reader found Metropolis the most difficult to finish, both because it was the final installment and because it was depressing. Set at the end of the Weimar Republic’s era (not a praiseworthy time) it marked the beginning of Nazi Germany, a worse time, and was concerned with a heinous murderer who was both a Krippo detective and a Jewish man. Bernie flirted with the criminal underworld to solve this and another pair of murders. I say all this to point out that this story, among all the BG novels, just seemed to be emblematic in some way to it’s creator’s dying. Still, Philip Kerr delivered another amazing story that takes the reader back in time, with startling clarity, to a place one can otherwise barely imagine. RIP sir, you will be missed.

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One of the best best.

I’ve read all the Bernie Gunther books and this is one of the best. I’m so sad that Philip Kerr is not with us anymore, but he is in his characters, particularly Bernie. In a way, this last novel sets the groundwork for all the chronologically Subsequent novels. I understand Bernie a little better. The character before being scuffed up by the Nazis in the war, and the American occupation.

Philip Kerr was also one of my favorite young adult authors, As well as other historical fiction. In this book, he outdid himself in terms of capturing the age, the city of Berlin with a rich tapestry of history.

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Awesome prequel.

I wonder how long all this had been rattling around in the author's head before he put it down. Equal parts "M", "Metropolis", and "Maltese Falcon."

It shows just how far Bernie Gunther - the fallen angel - had fallen. If you followed the whole series with the long flashback scenes, this will put it all together. And I wonder if Kerr had some intimations of mortality as he was writing this opus. It is a stellar final installment.

One of the reviewers of German Requiem complained of too much rumination and not enough action. Kerr spent the best part of a decade reading German law and filling it in with cultural research. That homework shines through in this book. However, the German Requiem is the author coming to terms with a culture on which he fed deeply and finally weighed on the moral scales. This book sets up the weights to place in the scale.

Not rock'em;sock'em. More wonder and wander. And absolutely true to Berlin then as well as now. Not a pretty little town.

[I would have given five stars to the story if there had been more rock'em;sock'em. As for the narration, WHY oh WHY do the producers and/or the readers not research the pronunciation of foreign or unfamiliar words? This are the small logs in an otherwise smooth road of narration.]

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Top noir detective story set in early 1930’s Germany

We meet familiar German detective Bernie Gunther, this time in the early stages of his career. The characters are engaging, the plot convoluted. The narration is perfectly matched to the story.

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Another great one

I am not one who listens to "one in a series" type books, but I got hooked on Bernie Gunther's travails years ago and am glad I did. This tale, like all the others, is very entertaining. The narration, as well, is outstanding.

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An argumentative slog

A generally unpleasant and somewhat disjointed story that never managed to convince me, despite hectoring monologues, that the narrative mattered, even to the protagonist.