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The Killing Of Emma Gross: A Detective Novel About A True Crime In The Weimar Republic

The Killing Of Emma Gross: A Detective Novel About A True Crime In The Weimar Republic [Kindle Edition]

Damien Seaman
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)

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Product Description


One of the highlights of my holiday reading. --Stuart MacBride

There is a name that should be on every crime fan's reading list and it's Damien Seaman. --Tony Black, author of Murder Mile

..a top notch piece of detective fiction. You don't need to know anything about the case, or the setting to enjoy what is a top notch piece of detective fiction. Thomas Klein is an interesting, flawed detective, and the serial killer plot is far from run of the mill. Seaman manages to steer clear of the clichés of the genre - indeed it is the lightness of his touch when building characters and settings that make this book such an enjoyable read. --James Oswald

Product Description

Based on a true crime – the unsolved brutal murder of Düsseldorf prostitute Emma Gross – and the story of notorious serial killer Peter Kürten – the so-called “Vampire of Düsseldorf” – The Killing of Emma Gross is a gripping police thriller set during the dying days of Weimar Republic Germany.

Detective Thomas Klein's career is going nowhere until he gets a tip-off leading to the Ripper's arrest. But the killer's confession to the hooker's murder is full of holes, and Klein soon comes to believe this is one murder the killer didn't commit. Motivated by spite, ambition, or maybe even a long-buried sense of justice, finding out who really killed Emma Gross becomes Klein's obsession. Particularly when the evidence begins to point closer to home…

Part historical police procedural, part true crime thriller, The Killing of Emma Gross will particularly appeal to fans of Philip Kerr (the Bernie Gunther novels) and Andrea Maria Schenkel (The Murder Farm). Fans of Child 44, James Ellroy’s LA Quartet and Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin novels are also in for a treat. As is anyone else hankering for a damn good mystery.

What they’re saying…

"...a top notch piece of detective fiction... it is the lightness of [Damien Seaman's] touch when building characters and settings that make this book such an enjoyable read"

– James Oswald, author of Natural Causes

"One of the highlights of my holiday reading."

– Stuart MacBride, author of Birthdays For The Dead

"I read it in one sitting. It's brilliant: tough, unsentimental, humane and intelligent, and Seaman wears his considerable learning lightly."

– Ruth Dudley Edwards, author of Murdering Americans

"…a fast-paced novel that delves into the dark heart of Weimar Germany. A page-turner that gripped me from start to finish."

– William Ryan, author of The Holy Thief

"Damien Seaman has written one of the best first novels I've read. An immediate classic."

– Tony Black, author of Murder Mile

""I loved everything... Damien Seaman’s clean, uncluttered style, the simultaneously vivid and subtle journey through 1929 Düsseldorf, and the fact that it was based on real events. This is as good as it gets."

– Helen FitzGerald, author of The Donor

From the author…

“The Killing of Emma Gross, based on true events, tells the story of a police detective who gets dragged into a high-profile serial-killer case and ends up shunning the limelight to solve the neglected murder of a prostitute instead. Set against the backdrop of a country teetering into madness, the novel explores how the meanest motivations can still lead to noble acts, while the noblest intentions can lead to disaster. It also features a detailed and accurate timeline of real events for true crime buffs with an interest in the Kürten case.”

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 623 KB
  • Print Length: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Blasted Heath (5 Dec 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00GWGYE44
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #205,894 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Crime writer and sometime amateur historian with a focus on the 1920s and 30s. Damien has travelled widely, including repeat visits to Russia and the Middle East. He has lived in Berlin, Brussels and Benghazi as well as various cities in his native Britain.

He spent two years working in European politics, firstly as an assistant to a member of the European Parliament, and latterly as editor of a trade newspaper with a focus on EU legislation.

He also has a degree in modern history from Oxford University.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully atmospheric and full of heart 2 Dec 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
A dark and dirty police procedural set in Düsseldorf during 1929. The book takes as its background the crimes of notorious serial killer Peter Kürten and the unsolved murder of a prostitute, and then spins out from there. It's full of heart and soul and a deep underlying sadness. Detective Thomas Klein is an excellent protagonist who goes against the grain to solve the murder of a prostitute - amurder that someone has already confessed to. The author makes you really care about all the characters, even the minor ones - they really come to life. A really atmospheric book that has an excellent sense of place and time. Loved it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small Targets 29 April 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
A historical fiction set in the aftermath of the investigation and capture by the German Police of the infamous "Dusseldorf Ripper," Peter Kürten in Germany in 1929. The author states that the novel is only loosely based upon the actual case -- though most of the characters, events and settings are historically accurate. He provides an accurate time line of the actual investigation and the steps in the police investigation that finally brought down the real Ripper in an epilogue.
Despite that disclosure, it's a whacking good story that pulls the reader immediately into its twisty plot line. The Germany of 1929 surrounds us from the jump. The desperation, the sense that there's no peace in sight even though the war is over. The characters are edgy and smell of the corruption is everywhere. From the disgraced cop hero's less than legal actions in his tormented quest to find the true murderer to the political maneuverings of his superiors and the actions of everyone else in the book, ain't nobody walking away untouched -- except The Ripper himself.
Great read with an ending that Jack Giddis, that corrupt old gumshoe of Chinatown fame, would totally understand.
Another film reference: Fritz Lang's masterful flick "M" (also about a child murderer) was inspired by the case.
Interesting fact: The real Chief Inspector on the "Ripper" case was the first to use the term "serial killer."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a taut, sinister, well told tale 6 Oct 2012
By Rob Kitchin TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
The Killing of Emma Gross is a well constructed historical police procedural that is based on the story of the real Dusseldorf ripper, Peter Kurten, using real characters from the case such as Gennat and the pathologist. The story is gritty, edgy and dark, with a nice tension running throughout centred on the fraught rivalry between Klein and Ritter, and Berlin Kripo's presence. The plot is well paced and as it unfolds becomes a real page-turner. The characterisation is excellent throughout, with adequate back story to get a good sense of the main actors, and Klein was engaging as a flawed copper looking for redemption and revenge. Moreover, Seaman does a good job of placing the reader in the Weimar Republic and its unsettled social and political landscape. Overall, a taut, sinister, well told tale and I'd be interested in spending more time in Klein's company.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and oppressive crime thriller 28 Sep 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is not a genre I usually read so I was not aware of the true events that form the base for the plot.
The book appears to be well researched and presents a proposed story to explain who killed Emma Gross, a girl murdered at the time of the German Ripper killings but not matching the profile of the other cases.
The story is well told, the dark oppressive atmosphere of the inter war years in Germany comes over well, and we are introduced to a number of well drawn characters.
Not my favourite genre but I can appreciate the author's craft.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
I really, REALLY liked this book. More than I thought I would. I usually don't read "based on a true story" type of fiction, as I'm almost too tempted to look up the subject matter on the internet ahead of time and have it all spoiled for me before I even read the story. Thankfully, I knew nothing of the historical case, and I kept my curiosity reserved for the actual book, which was an absolute pleasure to read.

I won't repeat the synopsis, as the book description pretty much says it all. The writing is descriptive without being flowery. A very lean, no nonsense, economical and evocative prose, one that gets the job done. Which makes sense, because the book is told from the point of view of Detective Thomas Klein, former stormtrooper and a man nursing ulcers, guilty secrets, and a ton of regrets. He fits the mold of the Noir anti-hero, but it feels different because we are actually experiencing a noire-like story set in late 1920's, early 1930's of Dusseldorf.

Dusseldorf. This is the second time in recent memory that this city has come up in a work of fiction that I have enjoyed. The first was in Naoki Urasawa's masterpiece, Monster, and now this. Both show Dusseldorf as a city filled with corruption and, perhaps, a little sick in the soul. Another work that came to mind while I was reading was Fritz Lang's M. And when I got to the end of the book and read the appendices, I was pleased to discover who the character of Gennat was based upon. It made perfect sense.

Klein narrates his journey into the underbelly of Dusseldorf to uncover (I hesitate to use the word "discover" for the reason I indicate below) the truth about the murder of a prostitute, Emma Gross, with gritty determination and resolve.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, well written
Good book, well written, about an interesting and seldom referred to period and place. One star withheld, because although the plot is drawn loosely from real events, I felt that... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Arjay
4.0 out of 5 stars Tangled death
The detective in this story isn't the usual goodie, instead, he is a womanizer, but in a genuine way. He is also the victim of a vengeful husband and comrade. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sue.simpson
4.0 out of 5 stars The killing of emma gross
Not my usual read. I found the story difficult to get into at the beginning. However after a few chapters and getting to know the characters I was there in the book with the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Andy A.
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting case
I liked the historical background and the insight into the era and how it affected the investigation. Quite an interesting read
Published 3 months ago by William
2.0 out of 5 stars found this book abit boring
found this book abit boring really thought it would be better just couldnt really get into it somehow thanks janexxx
Published 3 months ago by Jane Lloyd
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting plot.
I didn't like the writing style and it took me a long time to get into this book. I found it rather disjointed.
Published 3 months ago by Christine Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars The Killing of Emma Gross
Fascinating story based on 1930 Dusseldorf factual serial sex killer. And I think it was free! Couldn;t put my kindle down!
Published 3 months ago by M Hamilton
4.0 out of 5 stars Police procedural set in Weimar Republic
This is well researched and well written and the plot unfolds at a good pace. There is plenty of authenticity here as regards investigative methods of the time, though some more in... Read more
Published 3 months ago by avid reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Actually, pretty good.
A detective novel set in the German Weimar Republic. I have to say that this is the first of those I've read. Which leads me on to the first observation about this book. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mr. Peter Franklin
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
a very interesting read for the most part, speed dipped in places but it is well written, and was very surprised it was based on real events
Published 4 months ago by Barry Franklin
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