26 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Bernie can do better.,
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This review is from: A Man Without Breath (Bernie Gunther) (Hardcover)
Kerr's Bernie Gunther series is becoming increasingly hit and miss, and I'm afraid that this book, though quite enjoyable, was overlong and had some incredibly creaky sections. As others have suggested, the romantic interest is little short of risible, there purely to add a little colour and variety to the story: in terms of plot, it has no relevance whatsoever, and is utterly mechanical. One minute Bernie lusts, then is in love, then isn't, then feels bereft ...... I just don't care!
The other really weak section is the solution, which is driven only by the need to keep Bernie alive rather than any function of the plot or character - one minute all is lost then suddenly all is OK. Ta daaaaaa!
I thought 'Prague Fatale' something of a return to form, but I think Kerr's increasing reliance on big stories and big figures from Nazi Germany and WW2, as here with the Katyn Massacre, is a mistake as it weighs down the plot with historical apparatus at the expense of a really interesting thriller. Here, there's enough to keep the flagging fan of the series turning the pages, but another couple like this would turn an interesting and innovative series into pot boiling airport fodder. That would be a real pity: better to kill Bernie off than become so formulaic.
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Initial post: 10 Jul 2013 07:54:12 BDT
A very fair post. This was my experience of the book exactly. I got into Kerr with Hitler's Peace and katyn wood featured in that as well, so similar for my liking.
Posted on 9 Apr 2014 20:04:16 BDT
Paul Brady says:
Just to concur with pauljimmyn, but S. J. Williams' review is is one of the more balanced for this Bernie Gunther instalment. I hate to write less than glowingly of this fantastic series, but _A Man Without Breath_ is just too long. I've zipped through some of the earlier books in 2-3 sittings and it's a joy to follow Bernie from one slimy uniform to the next brainless thug, but this one was a struggle. A drawn out conclusion that ended way too neatly, and as Mr. Williams mentioned, the Katyn Massacre just weighs so heavily that by the end you really don't give a damn who did what. You just want to get on one of those flying death-traps yourself and head back to Berlin.
The original _Berlin Noir_ is a classic of the genre. I actually look forward to rereading all three in the near future. _A Man Without Breath_ disappointed but still a very solid historical crime thriller. 3 Stars.
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