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The One from the Other Hardcover – September 7, 2006

Book 4 of 8 in the Bernard Gunther Series

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: A Marian Wood Book/Putnam; First Edition edition (September 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399152997
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399152993
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #372,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. 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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

After a 15-year hiatus during which he's taken readers from the Himalayan snows to Enlightenment England, Kerr returns to the war-torn Germany of his Berlin Noir trilogy with a fourth case for sardonic detective Bernhard Gunther. It is 1949, and fed up with trying to run a hotel next door to Dachau, Gunther hangs out his shingle and in walks a tall blond with marriage on her mind and a missing husband on her conscience. Gunther sets out to track down the renowned sadist, one of many SS spiders able to slip through the Allies' dragnet and find refuge in the Americas. Of course, nothing is quite as it seems, and our knight's detached weltschmerz gets a fresh coat of tarnish. As with his earlier Gunther books, Kerr follows Raymond Chandler's playbook closely, adapting his trademark metaphors with all the subtlety of a goose-step and the restraint of Hermann Goring at a knackwurst-eating contest, to say nothing of the relish. Still, the knockabout action should please most fans of classic hard-boiled mystery and historical espionage. David Wright
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

Can't wait to start on the next book in the series.
Marvin D Piwoni
Another brilliant story featuring Bernie Gunther, Philip Kerr's tapestry of Nazi history and Bernie's tribulations is storytelling at it's best.
J. A. Johansson
The plot is excellent but read this book for character.
Bill Donovan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Bill Donovan on September 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am pleased to give this book my unqualified endorsement. Ingeniously, Kerr reintroduces the old Bernie in a pre-war prologue, giving readers new to the series a good taste of the original character. The main story takes place ten years later.

The reviewer who observed that Bernie has lost his snap may be right, but only to a point. Kerr has aged Bernie masterfully, reflecting the horrors, compromises and deprivations of the war and its aftermath in the older man. Of course, he's somewhat subdued, but he's as determined, resourceful and decent as ever. The plot is excellent but read this book for character. You won't be disappointed. In fact, I think you'll find yourself thinking about Bernie--and his creator--for days afterward.

Note to P. Kerr: Well done. Thank you.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Fleisig VINE VOICE on November 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
William Shakespeare, King Richard III, Act III. Scene VI.

And mark also how well "One From the Other", the sequel to Philip Kerr's Berlin Noir trilogy, hangs together. I picked up Kerr's latest Bernie Gunther novel soon after reading the first three novels. Despite what I consider a flawed plot, One From the Other was an entertaining read.

The first three Gunther novels took place in Germany (usually Berlin) in 1936, 1938, and 1947. They pretty much tracked the rise and fall of the Third Reich. One From the Other takes us into 1949. Germany is still a defeated nation and a divided one as the Cold War continues to get colder. Gunther's wife is in the hospital after suffering a complete nervous breakdown and Bernie is managing his late father-in law's run down hotel. The hotel is located a stone's throw from Dachau's notorious concentration camp and it is no surprise to find that visitors are few and far between. A chance meeting with a U.S. Army officer at the hotel sets off a chain of events that plunges Bernie back into the detective business. Before long, Bernie is swimming through a deadly sea of ex-Nazis fleeing persecution and those secret organizations created to help them escape.

The strong point of all four Bernie Gunther books has been Kerr's excellent portrayal of Bernie Gunther. From the outset Gunther has been the quintessential hardboiled detective (Kerr obviously has great affection for the genre) while at the same time coming across as a believable and all-too human character. One From the Other is no different. Here we find Gunther aging none too gracefully. He is not as spry or as tough as he used to be and he knows it. He is something of a defeated man in a defeated country.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Seher mit Hirn on February 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading this book without having read the Noir books before, so Bernie Gunther was not an old acquaintance of mine. I really enjoyed the book for what it is - a crime novel. The only thing that I found annoying as time progressed was that Bernie's hard-boiledness comes a little forced at times. Sometimes there are simply too many metaphors. One thing is never just big, it is as big as ...whatever. All these metaphors and similes just were a bit much for my taste.
Now, I am a historian and I am German. And from that point of view I have another point of criticism.
Having grown up in Germany (even though not in the post-war years) Bernie's cultural references always seem odd. He seems to know things that would have been unknown to a regular German police officer even after 1945. E.g, Bernie compares something he has seen to an elephant with enormous ears and pink color. That's a clear reference to Dumbo, a movie that wasn't shown in Germany until 1951. And there are more of these little things that - for me - take away from Bernie's credibility as a character. They simply tear me away from the story and make me shake my head a couple of times before I manage to get back into the story.
Bernie is a believable hard-boiled gumshoe. But an American one, I'm afraid.
And a personal pet peeve - some of the German words used simply don't make any sense. That is something that - with a bit of care - could have been avoided.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By D. West VINE VOICE on December 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I was so delighted to find another Bernie Gunther novel, I pre-ordered it! Kerr is definitely a thriller reader's dream-writer. In the latest installment, we find post-war Bernie Gunther, down and out, operating his late father-in-law's shabby hotel outside of Dachau (the once ambitious notorious concentration camp), drinking the few profits and contemplating how best to move on with life. But, like all Kerr's books involving Bernie, nothing is as it seems and soon Bernie is back at his true game as a fast-talking, irreverent, private detective running, hiding, and scheming to save his life.

Yes, its true Bernie is older and not as spry, but once he's been set up, it won't take him long to ferret out what's up and how to get out of the hole he's in. Kerr's magic happens in character development and plot. Kerr's plot is sinuous and strikes like a viper, bending back on itself, leaving the reader in unfathomable waters that only Bernie can negotiate. Bernie, through his machinations in this thriller, shows the chaos that is post war Germany, without losing his sense of humor, even though there is much that is dark in this novel. Kerr has the ability to force us to look at our past mistakes while continuing to shock us with events, ideas, and characters we'd rather not think about. All of Kerr's characters are vital; many are detestable but all are believable. It's a joy to watch Kerr balance so many subplots and characters and just when you think he can't possibly connect the dots, the picture comes into focus and we see the final form take shape.
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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.

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