Prussian Blue: Bernie Gunther Thriller 12 by Philip Kerr
|Prussian Blue: Bernie Gunther Thriller 12 by Philip Kerr|
|Category: Crime (Historical)|
|Reviewer: Kristen Perkins|
|Summary: If you've read any of the other Bernie Gunther thrillers, then you will most likely enjoy this twelfth instalment in the series. If this is your first foray into Gunther's world, you may find that it takes a while to get off the ground. Once it does though, it's a decent enough read.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 560||Date: April 2017|
|External links: Author's website|
Bernie Gunther is not your typical hero. In 1939, he was stationed in Berlin as a police officer handling murder cases and occasionally doing work for some high-ranking Nazis. Although never a Nazi party member himself (he was a known member of the Social Democratic Party), he understood that the best thing he could do for himself at that time was to make himself indispensable to men like Reinhard Heydrich and Martin Bormann. So when he is assigned to solve a murder that has occurred at Hitler's Berghof in the Bavarian mountains, he knows that he needs to do it quickly and discreetly – not just for justice's sake, but for his own. He is given exactly one week to apprehend the suspect, and he hopes that with the help of his friend Friedrich Korsch, an investigator with the Krimialpolizei (or Kripo, for short) he just might get lucky.
In present day 1956, Gunther's luck seems to have run out. He is summoned to dinner near his home in Nice with Erich Mielke, one of the most important officers in the East German Stasi. Mielke has a new job for Gunther: find and poison an English agent by the name of Anne French, a name which is quite familiar to both men as they have each had dealings with her at one time or another. Unfortunately for Gunther, he has no intention of following through on his deal with Mielke and murdering his former lover which can only mean one thing – he needs to flee France, and fast. It just so happens that one of Mielke's goons is none other than Friedrich Korsch, the man he spent that fateful week with in 1939.
Gunther spends most of the next 500 pages going back and forth between the past and present, reminiscing on his time at the Berghof with Korsch and trying to decide what his next move should be now to outsmart his former comrade. Eventually the two timelines converge and Gunther comes to realise that regardless of how far he thinks he's come from his time in Nazi Germany, he has never actually escaped. I must say, I had really high hopes for this novel. As a World War II and German history aficionado, I thought that I would be hooked right away; however, this was not the case. Perhaps because this is the twelfth book in the Bernie Gunther series and I have not read the previous eleven, it took almost 100 or so pages before I actually found myself looking forward to reading the story. Kerr's descriptions of real historical figures are quite accurate, as are the mannerisms and attitudes he assigns them, but I still found this a difficult and lengthy read.
The writing itself is good, if a bit long-winded, but I felt the dialogue could have been better in places. Gunther is meant to be a sarcastic and sharp-tongued character and he certainly does have some great moments throughout the novel; however, there were still places that his quick wit felt too forced. Once the story gets going it is an enjoyable read, but getting to that point was a bit of a feat. One read through is all that I could give this novel, and I doubt that I'll return to this particular piece of writing.
If you do find that this novel is for you, I would recommend Fatherland by Robert Harris.
You can read more book reviews or buy Prussian Blue: Bernie Gunther Thriller 12 by Philip Kerr at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Prussian Blue: Bernie Gunther Thriller 12 by Philip Kerr at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.