An instant classic in the Bernie Gunther series, with storytelling that is fresher and more vivid than ever.
Berlin, 1934: The Nazis have secured the 1936 Olympiad for the city but are facing foreign resistance. Hitler and Avery Brundage, the head of the U.S. Olympic Committee, have connived to soft-pedal Nazi anti- Semitism and convince America to participate. Bernie Gunther, now the house detective at an upscale Berlin hotel, is swept into this world of international corruption and dangerous double-dealing, caught between the warring factions of the Nazi apparatus.
Havana, 1954: Batista, aided by the CIA, has just seized power; Castro is in prison; and the American Mafia is quickly gaining a stranglehold on the city's exploding gaming and prostitution industries. Bernie, who has been unceremoniously kicked out of Buenos Aires, has resurfaced in Cuba with a new life, seemingly one of routine and relative peace. But Bernie discovers that he truly cannot outrun the burden of his past: He soon collides with a vicious killer from his Berlin days, who is mysteriously murdered not long afterward-and an old lover, who may be the murderer.
If the Dead Rise Not is everything fans have come to expect from Philip Kerr: twisted intrigue, tight plotting, quick-witted one-liners, a hang-by-your-thumbs ending, and, most significant, a richer, wiser Bernie Gunther.
Starred Review. Both newcomers and established fans will appreciate Kerr's outstanding sixth Bernie Gunther novel (after A Quiet Flame), as it fills in much of the German PI's backstory. By 1934, as the Nazis tighten their grip on power, Gunther has left the Berlin police force for a job as a hotel detective. His routine inquiry into the theft of a Chinese box from a guest, a German-American from New York, becomes more complex after he learns that the identical objet d'art was reported stolen just the previous day by an official from the Asiatic Museum. The case proves to be connected with German efforts to forestall an American boycott of the 1936 Olympics, and provides ample opportunities for Gunther, whom Sam Spade would have found a kindred spirit, to make difficult moral choices. Once again the author smoothly integrates a noir crime plot with an authentic historical background. Note that the action precedes the events recounted in the series' debut, March Violets (1989). (Mar.)
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March 17, 2010
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