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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great first novel...
Rebecca Cantrell shows life in that "iffy" period in German history, the Weimar Republic, which preceded Hitler's official ascendency to power in 1934 as Chancellor under Hindenburg. Germany society had been restabilised from the low point of trillion-mark inflation of the '20's, but everyday life was still difficult, even for those, like Hannah Vogel, who had a job...
Published on 12 Mar 2010 by Jill Meyer

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but...
Berlin in the early 1930s is a dream setting for any thriller writer and Cantrell, though no Alan Furst, catches the decadence and desperation of the time very nicely. The story is good(ish) and most of the characters are plausible, although the depiction of the Nazi characters is just a little too black and white to make them anything other than stock baddies. Like in...
Published on 10 Feb 2011 by Mr. Edward R. Addison


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great first novel..., 12 Mar 2010
By 
Jill Meyer (United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Rebecca Cantrell shows life in that "iffy" period in German history, the Weimar Republic, which preceded Hitler's official ascendency to power in 1934 as Chancellor under Hindenburg. Germany society had been restabilised from the low point of trillion-mark inflation of the '20's, but everyday life was still difficult, even for those, like Hannah Vogel, who had a job.
She was a newspaper reporter for Berliner Tagablatt, writing crime stories under an alias.

She's also a widow of a WW1 soldier, and the sister of a much-younger brother, Ernst, who is gay and works as a singer in a gay bar. He has many unusual friends and associates and one day winds up floating in the River Spee.

He's unidentified and his picture is posted on the wall at the "Alex", the main police station in Berlin, where Hannah sees it while going through police reports. She doesn't want to identify her brother, but begins to investigate his disappearance and murder. She gets involved with his many associates - some more shady than others - and begins to really see the political dynamics of the times.

It's a well-written novel - Cantrell's first - and I'd love to read more of her work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sex scandals amongst the Nazi elite in 1931 Berlin, 17 Jan 2014
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Trace of Smoke (Hannah Vogel Novels) (Paperback)
In the first of her Hannah Vogel series, Cantrell introduces her tough yet sentimental, morally-impeccable heroine. A German crime journalist, Hannah is single, independent, and prone to trouble-making. Here she gets embroiled in tracing the killer of her cross-dressing brother - and finds herself caught up in Nazi sex scandals.

I like this series, but this doesn't quite tip over into a 5-star book. Cantrell is excellent at creating the atmosphere of decadent and desperate 1930s Berlin, and the seedy nightclubs which flourished. Where this book falls down a little is in the saint-like Hannah: even though it's only 1931 and Hitler hasn't even been made Chancellor yet, Hannah already hates the Nazis (even though many of her friends don't, and see nothing wrong with dating one) with the kind of hindsight that we have. She's also loved by all her friends and acquaintances, even the occasional imprisoned forgery expert (handy for the plot), and the local newspaperman. She is happy to starve herself so that a child she's just met can have sweet treats to eat, and is constantly talking about how she's ready to sacrifice herself for... what, exactly?

So the characterisation of our heroine is a tad unsubtle, and configured to press too many obvious emotional buttons. Despite that, though, this is a series which deals with big issues in a generally intelligent and well-imagined way. Hannah is a little one-dimensional in moral terms in this book, a female version of that shining knight of chivalric romance, but given the darkening of Berlin at this time, Cantrell's need for an overly moral heroine can be forgiven.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Trace of Smoke review, 19 May 2013
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This review is from: A Trace of Smoke (Hannah Vogel Novels) (Paperback)
I came across Rebecca Cantrell as she co-wrote Blood Gospel with James Rollins. I read A Trace of Smoke and was not sure to expect. I was pleasantly surprised, i was worried i would not enjoy a book set in 1930s Germany. It is beautifully written, Hannah Vogel is a fantastic character. I cannot wait to read more about Hannah in the nest three books. The book blends accurate history of the era in which the book was set whilst keeps you getting as to who did what. I urge you all to order yourselves a copy of this book, you will soon believe you are actually in Berlin in Hannah's shoes. I really loved it
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story., 28 Jun 2013
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Page turning from the start. Very emotive. I would certainly recommend and look forward to reading more in the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect read for long plane trips, summer relaxation, or keeping you up late :-), 13 Jun 2013
I don't have time to read a lot of fiction so when I do, I want to make it worth my while. This novel had everything I needed: great characters, gripping story line, action, intrigue and a very interesting historical setting. It's a classic "can't put down page turner." The sequel, "A Night of Long Knives" was equally entertaining and I'm now ready to read book 3 "A Game of Lies." Looking forward to everything Cantrell publishes from now on!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected delight!!, 10 May 2013
By 
Annette Johnson (Coastal Georgia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Trace of Smoke (Hannah Vogel Novels) (Paperback)
I found this book by accident while shopping at a garage sale. I picked it up,read the back cover and laid it down and looked at other things. Before leaving the garage sale I went back and picked the book up again and bought it. It's not something I would probably normally read just based on the back cover. I did read it and I loved it! It was one of the best books I had read in a very long time. It's set in Nazi Germany and blends fiction with real past history. I loved Hannah and her story and actually didn't want the book to end. Imagine how happy I was to find out there were three more Hannah Vogel books waiting for me to read!!! I've read all of them now and hope her story continues. You will love this book too!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Berlin 1930's at it's HOTTEST!!, 9 May 2013
This review is from: A Trace of Smoke (Hannah Vogel Novels) (Paperback)
Rebecca has written and crafted a wonderfully tight plotted story set in Berlin 1930's. Hannah will draw you in with her refined tough character and leave you clambering for the next book.

I will not go into story detail because I hate reading reviews with them. That's what the inside jacket cover is for, but I will tell you this: This story has a great ending that will not disappoint. So many times I've read books and have been left with that 'so what' feeling. Not the case with Rebecca!!! She never cheats her fans!!!

Also have a look at her collaboration with James Rollins in Blood Gospel. I have never read a more perfectly intertwined collaboration than this book. You can clearly see both of them at work here. James with his technical prose and Rebecca with her subtle romance and charm. Simply splendid!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Set in Berlin in 1931 the book describes a period not seen in many novels, 5 Nov 2014
Set in Berlin in 1931 the book describes a period not seen in many novels, the era between the massive inflationary years and pre the Nazis coming to absolute power.

You also rarely find such a strong female character as Hannah Vogel. A 30 year old crime reporter who has to write under a male pseudonym for her work to be taken seriously.

The story opens with her weekly visit to Police Headquarters where the Hall of the Unnamed Dead carries on its walls photos of unidentified bodies. Much to her horror she sees her brother's photo which leads her on a twisting and turning journey involving real life characters as well as fictional ones.

I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but..., 10 Feb 2011
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This review is from: A Trace of Smoke (Hannah Vogel Novels) (Paperback)
Berlin in the early 1930s is a dream setting for any thriller writer and Cantrell, though no Alan Furst, catches the decadence and desperation of the time very nicely. The story is good(ish) and most of the characters are plausible, although the depiction of the Nazi characters is just a little too black and white to make them anything other than stock baddies. Like in her later book, some of the plot devices used here feel rather slapdash and spoil what could have been a really good story. Vogel is an interesting character but both books have a sentimental element to them that is quite nauseating at times. If Cantrell spent half as much thinking about her plot as she does on the mother/child relationship she would have a cracker of a novel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable read., 16 Mar 2014
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This is my first Rebecca Cantrell book and I will definitely be reading more in the series. The story encapsulates the era beautifully. The characters feel real and Fraulein Vogel has a no-nonsense outlook on life and a self-assurance which makes for a gutsy heroine. There are many twists and turns which makes this an exciting and refreshingly different story which is based in recent history. For me, a page turner.
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A Trace of Smoke (Hannah Vogel Novels)
A Trace of Smoke (Hannah Vogel Novels) by Rebecca Cantrell (Paperback - 7 Oct 2010)
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