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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 20 March 2017
This is the fourth Book in the Bernie Gunther series that I have read. This is up to the usual high standard. Philip Kerr is so far ahead of other Thriller writers . He evokes the atmosphere of Berlin in the 30,s superbly and how difficult it was for people to go about their business. Cannot recommend this book highly enough.
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on 2 April 2017
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This, the third in the ‘Berlin Noir’ trilogy of novels featuring the German private detective Bernie Gunther, continues the excellent storytelling of author Philip Kerr. This novel, set in 1947 in the aftermath of the war and the beginnings of the fallout between the occupying Four Powers, starts in Gunther’s homebase of Berlin but then moves to Austria where he attempts to unravel a charge of murder against a wartime SS colleague. I will not attempt to describe the plot, I could not do it justice, suffice to say that it is complicated and as in other Kerr novels it develops real life events in an ingenious way. Again we meet senior Nazi figures and the background details of Four Power intrigue and black-marketeering are handled very well.
Whilst all Kerr’s writing and storytelling are excellent, I think this third volume of the Berlin trilogy shows greater maturity and skill than the two earlier works. The “Marlowe” effects are toned down a little and the historical figures are more convincing, but I would have no hesitation in recommending all three books to those who have a penchant for historical detective fiction of the highest order. An excellent book.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 April 2016
This is the final book of Kerr’s Berlin Noir Trilogy, following March Violets’ and ‘The Pale Criminal’ but it can be read as a stand-alone. Opening in Berlin in 1947, it finds ex-KRIPO policemen and postwar private detective Bernie Günther in trouble with the Russian military administration and in the midst of matrimonial difficulties, so when the opportunity to go to Vienna arises he does not need too much convincing.

An ex-SS comrade turned racketeer, Emil Becker, is accused of killing an American security official and asks for Bernie’s help in proving his innocence. Vienna is much less damaged than Berlin [‘a colossal Acropolis of fallen masonry and ruined edifice, a vast and unequivocal megalith to the waste of war and the power of 75,000 tonnes of high explosives.’] but the detective does warm to the city or its untrustworthy citizens.

Unsurprisingly, Bernie finds himself squeezed between Russian and American occupational forces, their police and spies, and intimately involved with prostitutes, black marketeers selling penicillin, drugs and cigarettes, and a slew of underground ex-Nazis. Morality takes a back seat as the body count mounts, the violence of the killings increasing as the book proceeds. The characters, male and female, are equally convincing whilst the Viennese settings are suitably shrouded in mystery and deception. Being fairly familiar with contemporary Vienna and its surroundings, it was fascinating read about these in the early postwar years.

Kerr’s dialogue sparkles with Bernie’s cynical, hard-boiled humour, even at the most inappropriate times, to the fore. The plot, more about espionage than detection, is suitably complex and loaded with double and triple crosses that culminate in an appropriately tense denouement. As in all these books, the author does not overwhelm the reader with research yet provides a huge amount of detail and information about WWII that are rarely found outside specialist tomes. Much of this is presented through the Bernie’s memories of his pre-war and wartime experiences.

This book can be considered alongside the 1949 film of the Third Man, scripted by Graham Green, and its final scene is of a film shoot in 1948 that might be regarded as an homage to Carol Reed’s film. A first-class historical novel.
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on 2 March 2017
This book was in good condition and I was happy with what I paid for it.
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on 24 April 2017
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on 30 April 2017
Good reading.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It's very hard to write a review of this without using the genre buzzwords like Hardboiled and Noir and without the obligatory reference to Chandler but those three words come the closest to getting to the core of this third installment in the Bernie Gunther story.

Things have moved on quite a bit since we last met Bernie and it was all laid out succinctly to let us know what he's been up to so I didn't feel like I'd missed much in the intervening years. It always seems like there is never an unnecessary word anywhere in Kerr's stories and it's refreshing to have the story told from start to finish without too many tangents and false trails. There are puzzles and clues obviously but it's all easily followed and when everything falls into place it's a thing of beauty.

Bernie seems a bit rounder in this one and a few of his rough edges have been rubbed off but when all is said and done this is set in a time and place where political correctness, social niceties and sexual equality hadn't been invented. The attention to detail is what makes this a great story and Kerr's understanding of the time period stands out and brings everything to life... Warts and all.

I don't read a lot in this genre but I'm glad I found this series and will continue to work my way through it. I think it was meant to be a trilogy but that seems to have grown a bit as I believe there are (at least) 12 books in the series at time of writing.

Very clever story written by a born storyteller.

I took a bit of time to get used to Philip Kerr's writing style but it soon grew on me and
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I enjoyed reading Kerr’s previous books, March Violets and The Pale Criminal set in Berlin during the rise of the Nazi party, and the years leading up to the Second World War. Bernie Gunther has survived the war, and is trying to resurrect his once successful career as a private investigator. With money and food in short supply, and his marriage on the brink of collapse, he accepts a lucrative assignment in Vienna to try to save an ex-colleague from the gallows.

Each of the Bernie Gunther books can be read as stand-alone novels, but for continuity, I’d recommend that you begin with the previous ones. Kerr’s plots are action-packed and full of intrigue; as Gunther delves into the murky world of war criminals and politics, nothing is quite what it seems. Although a work of fiction, the book appears to be an authentic portrayal of post-war Vienna – it has been likened to the film The Third Man – and I enjoyed reading it from a German perspective. I like Kerr’s style of writing, but if I had one criticism, it would be Gunther’s ‘Philip Marlowe’ type of humour. It’s dated and corny in this day and age; however, this didn’t detract from what is a very enjoyable, exciting tale - and I look forward to the next one.
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on 27 February 2017
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the third in the series and in my opinion it is the best so far. Am very glad to see that there are now 11 of these novels. Many happy reading days ahead.

Am a huge reader of crime novels and one of the reasons I love this series is the mix of the uber wise cracking detective and the incredible period detail of Germany in the 40's. This one is set just after the war and there is a touch of the Le Carre's thrown in with the Russians, the Americans and betrayal everywhere.

This is a really well written intelligent book.
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