For fans of Robert Harris, David Peace, and Joseph Kanon - a taut, gripping, and darkly menacing novel set in wartime Berlin.
Berlin, 1943. August Schlegel lives in a world full of questions with no easy answers. Why is he being called out on a homicide case when he works in financial crimes? Why did the old Jewish soldier with an Iron Cross shoot the block warden in the eye, then put a bullet through his own head? Why does Schlegel persist with the case when no one cares because the Jews are all being shipped out anyway? And why should Eiko Morgen, wearing the dreaded black uniform of the SS, turn up and say he has been assigned to work with him?
Corpses dressed with fake money, bodies flayed beyond recognition: Are these routine murders committed out of rage, or is someone trying to tell them something?
If you suffer from a weak constitution avoid this book.
Berlin, 1943, is a city of shortages, corruption, witch hunts, air raids and general depravity, where order is at once kept and disrupted by the relentless application of extreme violence. This version of the city supplies the backdrop for a treatment of "noir" that honours the genre's dark, crumbling, uncertain surfaces, its characterisation of an all too flawed detective and its microscopic scrutiny of female morals.
The book is a veritable slaughterhouse of violence. The qualifications for attempting it are in the order of having read and enjoyed David Peace's "Red Riding Quartet". But those with the required constitution might be rewarded with the fascination of difficult detection and the salutary warning of the consequences of history gone wrong.