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Philip Kerr writes fine thrillers, and this is one of his best.
The genre is what you might term a 'noir thriller' typified best perhaps by Raymond Chandler, but what gives the book its spice and bite is that the story is set in post-war central Europe. The formula works really well, and the author skillfully weaves into the plot the thread of moral ambivalence that must have characterised the times in that part of the world. The characters are well drawn, and Philip Kerr works in very plausible references to real life villains such as Eichmann. The central character, Bernie Gunther, is not painted as a perfect human being, which I think greatly adds to the story, which is meticulously plotted, written with great pace and verve, and put in a fascinating and interesting historical context.
Narration by Jeff Harding is well judged and paced and greatly enhances the listening pleasure.
Incidentally, this is the fourth book in a sequence (but can be easily read on its own).
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Bernie Gunther is no man's fool - he knows there are evils that haunt post war Germany ... he was after all in the SS even though he was transferred to the Russian front as he wouldn't be complicit with mass murderers. He's a good ex-SS man and he knows that beneath the surface of his conquered nation there lies living proof of it's ghastly past. Philip Kerr has the magic of Jo Nesbo to be able to tell a story and suddenly surprise the reader by taking the plot off at a tangent. Just when you sigh and relax feeling Bernie Gunter has resolved a problem the writer takes us off in another direction and accelerates leaving us holding onto our hero's coattail. An added bonus is the no nonsense voice of Jeff Harding who brings life and a bucketful of hard bitten gravel to the character.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful