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If the Dead Rise Not (A Bernie Gunther Novel) Hardcover – March 18, 2010

132 customer reviews
Book 6 of 10 in the Bernie Gunther Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Favorably compared to the World War II espionage novels of Alan Furst (The Foreign Correspondent, The Spies of Warsaw) and the work of hard-boiled legends Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald, Philip Kerr reprises the Bernie Gunther saga with true fidelity to his detective's noir roots. The Berlin Noir novels (March Violets, The Pale Criminal, A German Requiem), a trilogy published nearly 20 years ago, are known in crime circles but woefully neglected by mainstream readers. With If the Dead Rise Not--and despite the unevenness of the book's two parts, which critics felt slightly impaired the novel as a whole--Kerr continues to develop Gunther's character in one of the great historical crime series.

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Product Details

  • Series: A Bernie Gunther Novel (Book 6)
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Marian Wood Books/Putnam; 1 edition (March 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399156151
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399156151
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #228,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Philip Kerr was born in Edinburgh in 1956 and read Law at university. Having learned nothing as an undergraduate lawyer he stayed on as postgraduate and read Law and Philosophy, most of this German, which was when and where he first became interested in German twentieth century history and, in particular, the Nazis. Following university he worked as a copywriter at a number of advertising agencies, including Saatchi & Saatchi, during which time he wrote no advertising slogans of any note. He spent most of his time in advertising researching an idea he'd had for a novel about a Berlin-based policeman, in 1936. And following several trips to Germany - and a great deal of walking around the mean streets of Berlin - his first novel, March Violets, was published in 1989 and introduced the world to Bernie Gunther.
"I loved Berlin before the wall came down; I'm pretty fond of the place now, but back then it was perhaps the most atmospheric city on earth. Having a dark, not to say black sense of humour myself, it's always been somewhere I feel very comfortable."
Having left advertising behind, Kerr worked for the London Evening Standard and produced two more novels featuring Bernie Gunther: The Pale Criminal (1990) and A German Requiem (1991). These were published as an omnibus edition, Berlin Noir in 1992.
Thinking he might like to write something else, he did and published a host of other novels before returning to Bernie Gunther after a gap of sixteen years, with The One from the Other (2007).
Says Kerr, "I never intended to leave such a large gap between Book 3 and Book 4; a lot of other stuff just got in the way; and I feel kind of lucky that people are still as interested in this guy as I am. If anything I'm more interested in him now than I was back in the day."
Two more novels followed, A Quiet Flame (2008) and If the Dead Rise Not (2009).
Field Gray (2010) is perhaps his most ambitious novel yet that features Bernie Gunther. Crossing a span of more than twenty years, it takes Bernie from Cuba, to New York, to Landsberg Prison in Germany where he vividly describes a story that covers his time in Paris, Toulouse, Minsk, Konigsberg, and his life as a German POW in Soviet Russia.
Kerr is already working on an eighth title in the series.
"I don't know how long I can keep doing them; I'll probably write one too many; but I don't feel that's happened yet."
As P.B.Kerr Kerr is also the author of the popular 'Children of the Lamp' series.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Keith A. Comess VINE VOICE on March 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bernie Gunther, cynical gumshoe and knight errant, reprises his Philip Marlowe role as interface between the malevolent but pragmatic wing of Nazi Party functionaries, various tough guys and the clever but hazardous-to-be-personally-involved with (female) client. As before, many of the dramatis personnae are actual historical figures, the attention to historical detail is exemplary, the dialogue redolent of Raymond Chandler, the plot cunning and the denouement (this time set in pre-Castro Cuba during the Batista regimes' early end-game) is cleverly executed. In short, this is vintage Kerr and, as such, is well worth reading.

In the current story, initially set in pre-War Berlin (circa 1934) Gunther encounters a mix of real and fictional characters, including American "businessman" (well, actually he's a gangster) Max Reles, Nazi Police General von Helldorf, Gestapo agent Weinberger (nope, not a crypto-Jew, despite the suggestive name, a fact that assumes importance in the story), corrupt American Olympic Committee functionary Avery Brundage, several SS and KRIPO members and Noreen Eisner, femme semi-fatale and Bernie's romantic interest. This time, Gunther, while working as Adlon Hotel carpet-creeper, encounters the vivacious Noreen, a Jewish journalist working on a newspaper article which will demonstrate ongoing Nazi anti-Jewish behavior (akin to exposing corruption in the police; an exercise in exposing the obvious). Why?
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Format: Hardcover
Time for a real review instead of comments on Kindle pricing?

This, the sixth book in Philip Kerr's remarkable Bernie Gunther series, shows that the author hasn't lost his knack for combining classic noir mysteries (complete with a hard-nosed investigator who cracks wise at the drop of a fedora) with a more thoughtful narrative that delves into the harsh realities of the ordinary individual face-to-face with some of the harshest political regimes of the 1930s, 40s and 50s. It isn't Kerr's best, but it's a fascinating story that manages to bookend the improbable odyssey of Gunther, who readers first met in the mid-1930s as an already-world weary and worldly wise private investigator in Nazi Berlin and last saw leaving behind the new Peronist dictatorship in Argentina with a new name that he hopes will keep him safe from myriad enemies that he has inadvertently left in his wake.

The book starts in Berlin in 1934, when Bernie has left the police department (the philosophy of jumping before he gets pushed out as a Social Democrat and thus politically undesirable) in the wake of the Nazi takeover and finds himself working as the house detective at Berlin's famous Adlon Hotel. That doesn't keep him out of political hot water, however; he finds that two dead bodies, one in one of the Adlon's best rooms and the other fished out of the Landwehr Canal with its lungs full of seawater, appear to be linked by politics -- specifically, by politics surrounding the upcoming Berlin Olympics and the efforts by some groups to boycott the games in view of the Nazi regime's anti-Jewish policies.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Swystun on April 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bernie Gunther has been very entertaining - the life he lives, created by Kerr, takes us from the trenches of WW1 now to 1950's Cuba. I have read each entry and appreciate the hard-boiled character, the history mash-ups, and the underlying mysteries. Unfortunately, this effort does not measure up to the previous works. The plot was slow and predictable. The first half of the book in 1934 Germany moved at a glacier-like pace and the whole gangster angle was actually boring. Still the history was accurate and Bernie's Zelig-like appearances with leading figures of the day continues to intrigue. I am now torn between desiring another one or letting Bernie retire after a life well lived.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Blue in Washington TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"If the Dead Rise Not" is the latest in Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series, and for the most part, it's a good read. Once again, the story sprawls through two periods of time in protagonist Gunther's entertaining lifeline. More than half of the novel takes place in Berlin in 1934. Germany is competing to host the 1936 Olympics (these designations were made pretty close to the event in those days). Gunther is working as a house detective at the plush Adlon Hotel after being forced out of the police force by the new Nazi government. A death in the hotel is soon linked to the discovery of a body in the Spree Canal, which turns out to be a Jewish boxer who was working on an Olympics-related construction project. Gunther is soon dealing with high-level corruption, anti-Jewish persecution by the Nazis, a dangerous American gangster and a femme fatale who could literally become the death of him.

From 1934 Germany, the saga jumps to 1954 Havana, where old relationships with the same cast of characters pick up again. This part of the book is rather good at evoking the wide-open tropical playground that existed in Cuba before the downfall of the Batista dictatorship and the beginning of the Castro period. Old scores are settled and new scenarios are established for Bernie Gunther's next adventure.

"If the Dead..." is chock-a-block full of interesting characters and lots of period flavor. It is not an action thriller by a long shot, although Bernie Gunther seems to be increasingly taking on "super powers" as he battles the bad guys in his path and/or just struggles to survive.
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