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Publisher's Summary

From New York Times best-selling author Philip Kerr, the much-anticipated return of Bernie Gunther in a series hailed by Malcolm Forbes as "the best crime novels around today".

A beautiful actress, a rising star of the giant German film company UFA, now controlled by the Propaganda Ministry. The very clever, very dangerous propaganda minister - a close confidant of Hitler, an ambitious schemer and flagrant libertine. And Bernie Gunther, former Berlin homicide bull, now forced to do favors for Joseph Goebbels at the propaganda minister's command.

This time the favor is personal. And this time nothing is what it seems.

Set down amid the killing fields of Ustashe-controlled Croatia, Bernie finds himself in a world of mindless brutality where everyone has a hidden agenda. Perfect territory for a true cynic whose instinct is to trust no one.

©2015 Philip Kerr (P)2015 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Kerr is the only bona fide heir to Raymond Chandler." (Jonathan Ames, Salon)
"Bernie isn't one of those detectives who gets to solve crimes and put things right. Instead, he just tries to behave decently in a world where the serial killers run the governments and history itself may be the biggest crime of all." (John Powers, NPR's Fresh Air)
"On any continent, in any decade, no one does melancholy better than Bernie Gunther, and melancholy, after all, is the hard-boiled mystery fan's emotion of choice." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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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

AT LAST!

Mr. Kerr, Thank you, sir, for this joyous godsend from your literary treasure trove. You answered your fan's uproarious "request" for a reunion of Bernie Gunter and John Lee. Bravo! What a delicious (long awaited) treat: Bernie never missed a droll retort nor failed to launch a zinger at his detested Nazi bosses. Your working Bernie's story line with the major corporate sponsors (Mercedes Benz) and über maniacs (Goebels) of WW II makes the novel blaze like kristallnacht. Thank you.

7 of 8 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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    5 out of 5 stars

John Lee is back!

So glad John Lee is back as the narrator in this series. Classic Philip Kerr/Bernie Gunther at its best.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • antonio
  • genthod, Switzerland
  • 12-26-15

Too much wisecracking : a comedy or a thriller ?

I was looking forward reading a new Bernie Gunther novel after the rather poor deeds of Kerr in other books (like Research). The Lady of Zagreb left me with mixed feelings. I enjoyed the historical setting and the way the writer depicts life in Germany, Croatia and Switzerland during the Second World War. The dialogues are sharp and the plot captivating –although a bit convolute. On the other hand, unlike the first books of the Bernie’s series, Kerr is overplaying the wise-cracking aspect of the main character and the reading of John Lee seems to overemphasize this aspect so that Bernie Gunther comes across more as a smartass comedian than a military detective operating in very dramatic circumstances. This obviously takes away also a bit of drama and suspense from the story.
All in all an enjoyable reading overall; look forward to a better book next time.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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noir humor adds up to a sensational thriller

I don't give out many 5* reviews, but this look inside the Third Reich, and Dr. Goebbel's lair rates it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Narrator John Lee's return makes the difference.

Philip Kerr is to Berlin Noir what Patrick O'Brien is to Napoleonic war novels. That is to say he is the benchmark for all others. And adding John Lee as narrator also sets the mood for such a somber. Period of history. It is amazing how the author continues to captivate us with interesting locales, more sinister characters based on real villains, and the ability to make the reader aka listener feel like we're a fly on the wall. I hope there are many more to come all with John Lee as narrator! He is perfect for this series. If Lee were given the chance to record any of the books that he did not previously narrate, I would go back and buy them all!

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good to be back in Berlin with Bernie.

Any additional comments?

When you've lived life through with this great Nazi hating dick for a while - this is the 10th Bernie Gunther novel by Kerr - you begin to really enjoy his breath and pace, like the last drag of a smoke on the firing line, Bernie might say. He loves similes. This book is more of a love story than a detective novel, and really it's more of a rumination on the Faustian nature of bargaining and re-bargaining your way through Hitler's Struggle. Survival with a grain of dignity preserved, if even only preserved in high octane grain alcohol or with the fine leading grain of a few well placed bullets. Keeps a man feeling like a man. But nothing will make a man of you more than falling for and - of course - losing that lovely Lady From Zagreb.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Katherine
  • Georgetown, Ontario, Canada
  • 07-04-15

Great to have Bernie Gunther back

Except for some graphic violence near the end of the first half which other sensitive listeners may want to skip over, this book was very engaging. The plot had lots of surprises, but ones that actually made the story make more sense. I had times I couldn't put the book down, which doesn't happen too often for me. We're far enough from WW2 now that drawing in real people in historically correct ways doesn't seem like a gimmick, because, after all, there would always have been details of their lives we wouldn't have known and why not these ones? That enhanced the fictional story for me. There were aspects of history the author included that are very relevant to today's news which further enriched the story. As far as I remember, I liked this Bernie Gunther book as much as any of the others, perhaps even more. As always, John Lee was so outstanding it seemed unthinkable that the different voices were actually being done by one person.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Howie
  • Calgary, AB, Canada
  • 04-08-15

Pleased to see Bernie Gunther back.....

Returns to a familiar time WW2 jaded, cynical detective is one of my fave characters. Was kind of lost with some of Philip Kerr's recent offerings, recommend the whole series for Noir fans.

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

Another Bernie Gunther novel to be treasured.

I was listening to this when I read that Philip Kerr had died. It was like a punch to the gut. Bernie will always be with us but I know that eventually he will stop coming by for a visit with tales of his latest adventures. The Lady from Zagreb is another story where Bernie has to make deals with the devil in order to survive in a regime he hates and to make peace with himself. Philip Kerr's research is as meticulous as ever and it's great to have John Lee back as the narrator.

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

I'm a big Bernie Gunther fan

I really enjoyed this story. It has a surprise ending as most in the series do.
John Lee narrates the story very well and doesn't disappoint.

I would like to see Bernie grow and get a permanent lady friend that loves him. However, that's not meant to be in this story, and another one slips through his hands and heart again.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and political thrillers as Phillip Kerr is a great storyteller and very accurate with his vivid portrayal of Europe during and after WW2.