Berlin in 1930 is a city of dark paranoia and covert power struggles, where violence can erupt at any moment. The Brownshirts dominate the streets, but the Red Front is building its insurgence.
Gaelle, a beautiful but desperate young prostitute with a scar across one side of her face, trades in something far more powerful--and dangerous--than sex: information. To possess her, men will do more than pay--they will tell her secrets. What Gaelle wants is protection.
Felix, a sixteen-year-old boy with a lame foot, negotiates Gaelle's price, accompanies her in limousines when she feels threatened, and reminds her to take care of herself. But can he really keep her from harm?
Armina Treffen is an investigator for the Berlin Police. Several women's bodies have been found in the park, murdered in the same manner, and Armina, too, seeks Gaelle's confidence to help her catch a serial killer.
Even as Gaelle tries to protect herself by possessing information, she becomes more entangled in a complex web of politics and murder in a city in which men will go to any length to maintain the power of silence.
In this taut literary thriller, acclaimed author Craig Nova masterfully captures the menace and malice of pre-war Berlin through the eyes of characters dealing with forces far beyond their control.
Set in 1930 Berlin, this fine novel from Nova (The Good Son) smoothly combines crime and politics. Armina Treffen, who works for the serious crimes section of the Berlin police department and has a successful track record catching serial killers, goes after a fiend who strangles his female victims and leaves their abused bodies in the Tiergarten. Treffen's investigation is interwoven with the story of the title character, Gaelle, a 22-year-old prostitute with an alluring facial scar from a car accident, and her 16-year-old pimp, Felix. A mysterious gentleman, Bruno Hauptmann (not to be confused with the man executed for kidnapping the Lindbergh baby), recruits Gaelle to pass along any information about what, say, the Communists are up to that she might pick up on the job. While those expecting a conventional police procedural may be disappointed, the author's evocative portrait of Weimar Germany and sophisticated portrayals of the lead characters will satisfy most readers. (Feb.)
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March 15, 2010
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