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on 17 May 2016
At last a hero you can learn to love and root for.
Unlike the stereotypical damaged detective created by so many of today's authors, Gunther has a real reason to be sad but his ability to see good in people saves his soul and gives these noir tales the same sense of optimism that was evident in Raymond Chandler's work.
As a consequence, Gunther is a guy you'd like to share a joke and a drink with. Yes, he's damaged goods but it wasn't of his making and despite the occasional suicidal thought, he's not about to give up on life just yet.
This sets him apart from some other fictional creations that are frankly so depressing you'd run a mile if they walked into your bar.
Beyond his main character, Kerr's Gunther novels are historical thrillers of the highest order. He seamlessly weaves real events into his tales and his descriptions of a war torn Germany are absolutely fascinating.
This one is particularly deftly plotted and will have you turning the pages into the wee hours.
Comparisons for authors of Kerr's standing are often redundant but if I had to make one, it would be with Len Deighton and there can be no higher praise than that.
Simply brilliant - read this and you'll read them all.
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on 22 June 2016
3 stars seems a bit measly for such a well written book but I read it straight after reading Field Grey, the previous book in the Bernie Gunther series, which was so fantastic that I needed to put some distance between the ratings of the two.

Prague Fatale knowingly and sometimes amusingly lifts from Agathie Christie but don't let that put you off. Some of the great exchanges between Bernie and his evil boss, Heydrich make this worth. the price alone. But it's the grim reality of the atrocities of the Nazi death machine that give this book it's true colour and make it such a compelling read and as ever, Kerr's research and his prose are impeccable.

Highly recommended.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 3 March 2013
The Bernie Gunther series just keeps on getting better and better. In this installment, Bernie Gunther has just returned to Berlin from the Ukraine. It is 1941 and his career as a homicide detective hardly seems to matter when mass murder is being committed in the East. However, life continues and when Gunther rescues the attractive Arianne Tauber from an attack one evening, he begins to feel it might even be worth living. Just as he feels this is the case though, his presence in Prague is requested by none other than Reinhard Heydrich.

Whilst in Prague, a murder occurs in Heydrich's house - or, rather, the house he has stolen from a wealthy Jewish man who was forced to flee the country. What follows is a locked room mystery, rather like the novels that Heydrich enjoys by Agatha Christie. As Gunther is given carte blanche to investigate and question all the high ranking Nazi officers, the setting creates a creepy and dangerous atmosphere in a crime novel which is written with exquisite plotting and character. This novel has all the twists and turns you expect from this marvellous author, who never disappoints. This series often jumps across different time periods in Gunther's life, from pre to post war and, in my opinion, is best read in order for the series to make sense. Of all the novels though, this could be read happily as a stand alone and, if you have never tried anything by Philip Kerr before, this would certainly be an exciting book to start with.
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on 9 August 2016
Just brilliant like all the books I have so far read in the Bernie Gunther series. This is a very clever concoction - the likeable Bernie managing to work with some of the most dreadful people in history: Himmler, Goering, Goebels and Heidrich. This deals with his time in Prague and partly deals with the assassination of Heidrich - which resonates with me as my father trained with the Czechs who assassinated him. I listened to this in the car via Audible having added narration to my Kindle version. Most of these books are very well read by Jeff Harding (who makes Gunther sound like Jack Reacher....) but Prague Fatale was pretty well read by Paul Hecht.
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VINE VOICEon 8 March 2013
Prague Fatale marks a brilliant return to form for Philip Kerr and his excellent Bernie Gunther series. After the slightly meandering, switchback narrative of "Field Grey", it's good to see "Prague Fatale" offer a more straightforward narrative, which propels the story along with pace and style. Rarely has the atmosphere of political infighting amongst the Nazis been done so well, in my view.

The story centres around Gunther's ongoing relationship with Heydrich, and involves a spy ring, shady murders in Berlin, and - and the very heart of the book - a locked-room whodunnit that is a throwback to the golden age of crime writing - and acknowledged as such as part of the story. It's cleverly done, and the characters, dialogue and sense of foreboding are wonderfully handled. Kerr even outdoes Ian Fleming in terms of writing about the brutality of torture, in scenes that are shocking but compelling to read.

For enthusiasts familiar with the other books in the series, what works particularly well here is the fact that we know Gunther survives well into the 1950s, and so there is little point placing him in dangerous situations, from which we know he surely walks away. Instead, Kerr cleverly avoid putting his protagonist in such unlikely danger, instead using him to explore other aspects of the Nazi regime and motivations of other characters. It feels as if that slightly odd gap of the war years left by the original trilogy has been bridged successfully to sustain the series here.

It's fantastic to think that there is already another Gunther title in the pipeline. On the strength of "Prague Fatale", Kerr has re-charged his batteries and has plenty more to say. The balance between clever use of history and pacy story telling has been successfully re-established here. Utterly unputdownable and hugely entertaining.
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on 30 September 2013
I have read all the Gunther novels, I thought after 'Berlin Noir' the first three in this series that he'd got rid of a very good character way to early. Then came a flurry of further books all of which I have enjoyed. This one true to form was as good as all the others.
Gunther is a wonderful character and having read several he's something you get comfortable with like putting on old slippers.
His historical settings always seem well researched, he creates excellent atmosphere all of which enrich the story. His characters are believable and human, subject to human flaws and failings. I love these books unlike some authors he has not gone on with him to long and always seems to keep Gunther fresh. Unlike some Mr Rankin who retire your best character and then realise your mistake and bring him out of retirement.
If you need a good read try this.
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on 14 September 2017
I don't know how Philip Kerr continues to write so devastatingly well. Historically accurate in every detail, he brings to life the horrors of Nazi Germany juxtaposed with the Holocaust. Each book is unique and Bernie Gunther's innate character and moral compass in a time of sheer terror and madness does not deviate. It's not important that the stories themselves are simply stories but that they are set against real characters and events that make these books so compelling.
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on 8 May 2018
A warning to perspective buyers, the character and his times blend into a cocktail, that has proved very addictive, leading to a must have effect.
Bernie Gunter is crying out for a sympathetic film or ten.
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on 11 August 2017
Philip Kerr has penned another gem. This is the 6th in the series and a terrific read. Fascinating in detail, rich in storyline and always entertaining. Moments of genuine horror from a cast of characters who are both fascinating and repugnant. Up to the usual, very high standards that the author has set himself.
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on 16 January 2014
For those who have read previous novels about this detective, you will not be disappointed. For readers who are new to Philip Kerr and like thrillers with good historical content, I can thoroughly recommend this author. The Bernie Gunther series are mainly set in Germany just before and during the 2nd World War and are full of facts about the Nazi regime and its cruel leaders. It is particularly interesting as it is written from the point of view of someone who is actually serving in the army at the time and has participated in some of the horrors, yet is constantly striving to assuage his guilt by bringing a murderer to justice. Tension and intrigue permeate the story and definitely make you want to read on !
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