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I was disappointed with the last Bernie Gunther novel, "A man without breath" as I felt the franchise was running out of steam, plus the change of narrator from Jeff Harding to Paul Hecht had robbed the story of great characterisation. The only reason I listened to this was because of the return of Jeff Harding; wise-cracking Bernie himself in my view.
Sadly, polished narration does not change the fact that this is a tired series. For sure, Jeff does an accomplished job in terms of bringing all of the characters to life, but this series is in intensive care compared to the first "Berlin trilogy". The cracks are not as wise (or rapid-fire), the bad guys are not as scary, and the sex and violence is mushy compared to the hard edge of the earlier novels. Bernie is older now and it shows, his steely cynicism feels more like whining bitterness; he is softer, maybe a bit flabby and just ...... tired.
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