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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 set in Nazi-era Berlin that are nothing short of spellbinding. The first book of the Berlin Noir trilogy, March Violets introduces listeners to 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 the Nazi subculture. Hard-hitting, fast-paced, and richly detailed, March Violets is noir listening at its best and blackest.
©2008 Philip Kerr; (P)2008 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Ari
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 05-23-12

Great detective story

Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I am a big fan of John Lee and actively seek him out. He does not disappoint with this performance.

Any additional comments?

Fantastic fast moving story with a great historical backdrop. John Lee does a superb job of narration. I have read other Kerr books but I think this is my favorite so fa.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Noir, Gutsy, Real

What made the experience of listening to March Violets the most enjoyable?

The language of pre WW2 germany combined w the fatalism of the detective

Which character – as performed by John Lee – was your favorite?

The Detective

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

The clouds of war could not hide this story

  • Overall

Disappointing

I found myself wandering off while trying to follow the story. The ending was really disappointing.. somewhat like a stereo typical foreign film that does not know how to end.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Not terrible, but overrated. Gave up halfway.

This book is not terrible, but it is overrated. I'm about halfway through the book and I will soon stop reading due to boredom. I just cannot care about any of the characters. The plot is complicated (so far) and I can't be bothered to notice where the story is going.

The story is not convincing or engaging. It's hard to care about the murders under investigation in the context of 1930s Germany, when so many people are experiencing brutal repression. Really -- our hero is trying to locate stolen jewels? For money? In this context? Why? What does our fictional hero plan to do with the money, after he solves the case? Just hang around in Berlin?

John Lee has a very pleasant voice, but he has a terrible, habit of sometimes, inserting random, pauses, into the, sentence, where you wouldn't, expect, any pauses. After a while, it starts to get, on your, nerves.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Excellent narration, v interesting story

Really enjoyed this Book refreshing story instead of formulaic crime story. The prose is several cuts above the usual suspense novels and the narrator is perfect for this story line

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Classic Detective Story with a Nazi backdrop.

What did you love best about March Violets?

Philip Kerr's use of language is unique, creative and beautiful. I have never read a detective novel where the author could turn a phrase as sharply.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

At times, yes.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The characters were supposed to be German, but the reader was British. While I can see the value in using a non-American accent, it was distracting to hear British accents speaking as Nazi's and using Germanic names and phrases.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Every so often Kerr would use a phrase that would have me laughing out loud - even though it really isn't a comedy.

Any additional comments?

I would never think someone could write a detective novel where 1930's Germany was a backdrop - where the Nazi's were NOT the main characters. Kerr does so masterfully. And in doing so, we get a better feel for the life of the citizens of Germany during the Nazi rise to power.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great window into pre-war Berlin

Philip Kerr brings the noir genre -- think Sam Spade, Red Harvest, and the Continental Op -- to Berlin in the mid-thirties. Under the boot of Nazism a cynical private eye hunts for missing persons -- usually missing owing to the activities of the Gestapo or the SS. The writing is a bit too derivative of Chandler, with the tough-guy similes, but the portrayal of how ordinary people dealt with the terrible time they lived in is very interesting. It's kind of the bad guys' (i.e., German) side of the world Alan Furst writes so brilliantly about: the coming of WWII, but in this case with people who are not actually involved in the war's coming.The story is a fairly generic tough detective caper, but the way it's told is quite good. John Lee does a nice job of the world-weary detective, and all-in-all I liked it.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Herr Gunter is my new Favorite PI!!!

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.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Bit hard to follow and care until the second half

Any additional comments?

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.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

A great historical series based on WWII

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, I think this series would appeal to readers of all shapes and sizes.

What did you like best about this story?

The historical elements flow so well. Great mystery. Great characterizations.

Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes, more in this particular series. I really love his voice, especially for this Kerr series.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful