Philip Kerr was the New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Bernie Gunther novels, three of which--Field Gray, The Lady from Zagreb, and Prussian Blue--were finalists for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. Kerr also won several Shamus Awards and the British Crime Writers' Association Ellis Peters Award for Historical Crime Fiction. Just before his death in 2018, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. As P.B. Kerr, he was the author of the much-loved young adult fantasy series Children of the Lamp.
Set in 1949, Kerr's excellent fourth novel to feature Bernhard Gunther (after 1991's German Requiem) finds the erstwhile PI managing a failing hotel about a mile from the site of the Dachau concentration camp. After the death of his wife, Kirsten, in a mental hospital, he calls it quits and opens a private detective agency. A series of missing-Nazi cases sets Bernie on a course that becomes increasingly complicated until he's beaten to a near pulp, had his little finger chopped off and is sent to a mysterious private estate to recover. There he's drawn into a nightmare involving the American occupation and the CIA, and soon his life hangs in the balance. Kerr's stylish noir writing makes every page a joy to read ("The little mouth tightened into a smile that was all lips and no teeth, like a newly stitched scar"). Perfectly plotted, the book builds to a satisfying conclusion. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Fifteen years after his last Bernie Gunther thriller (A German Requiem), Kerr turns his Berlin Noir trilogy into a quartet. In 1949, Bernie closes down his deranged wife's failing hotel in Berlin and returns to Munich. Drawing on his experience as an ex-cop involuntarily absorbed into the SS during World War II a past that will dog his heels he goes into business as a private detective. His first three cases involve missing persons, including a Nazi guilty of numerous atrocities. To track the man down, Bernie has to immerse himself in a world he'd hoped to leave behind, that of the "Old Comrades" who help Nazis flee Germany. But dangerous as it is, the case is not what it seems, and Bernie soon finds himself in another man's shoes, locked in a desperate struggle to save his own life. Bernie's wicked wit is a delight, the plot is gripping, and the historical settings are masterfully developed. Although Kerr sometimes overdoes his descriptions of characters (wildly inventive similes abound), his dazzling touch will sweep readers away. A profound sense of moral introspection underlies the whole. Highly recommended for all public libraries. Ron Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Praise for Philip Kerr and the Bernie Gunther Novels
"A brilliantly innovative thriller writer."--Salman Rushdie
"Philip Kerr is the only bona fide heir to Raymond
Chandler."--Salon.com "In terms of narrative, plot, pace and
characterization, Kerr's in a league with John le Carr ."--The
"Every time we're afraid we've seen the last of Bernie Gunther, Philip Kerr comes through with another unnerving adventure for his morally conflicted hero."--Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
"Just as youth is wasted on the young, history is wasted on historians. It ought to be the exclusive property of novelists--but only if they are as clever and knowledgeable as Philip Kerr."--Chicago Tribune "Kerr quantum leaps the limitations of genre fiction. Most thrillers insult your intelligence; his assault your ignorance."--Esquire "A richly satisfying mystery, one that evokes the noir sensibilities of Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald while breaking important new ground of its own."--Los Angeles Times "Part of the allure of these novels is that Bernie is such an interesting creation, a Chandleresque knight errant caught in insane historical surroundings. Bernie walks down streets so mean that nobody can stay alive and remain truly clean."--John Powers, Fresh Air (NPR) "The Bernie Gunther novels are first-class, as stylish as Chandler and as emotionally resonant as the best of Ross Macdonald."--George Pelecanos "Kerr's stylish noir writing makes every page a joy to read."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)