The Pale House: The Sequel to The Man from Berlin (A Gregor Reinhardt Novel) Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
Kindle Feature Spotlight
Try Kindle Countdown Deals
Explore limited-time discounted eBooks. Learn more.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Customers who bought this item also bought
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
At the end of the first book, Reinhardt, then in German military intelligence in Bosnia, joins a secret resistance faction. Fast forward to spring 1945, and Reinhardt is now in a military police unit. Exactly what the Feldjaegerkorps was is explained well in an epilogue, but I could have used that description up front; I wasn’t familiar with the group historically, and it wasn’t always clear from the context. The regular military police having failed to keep order among the troops and behind the lines, a new elite unit is formed in 1943 to do just that. It's like the FBI compared with local police. Reinhardt somehow ends up here, and lands back in Bosnia, after having been tortured and interrogated, but not broken, by the Gestapo. I found it unconvincing that anyone under that level of suspicion would have ended up here. And the sequence of events was a bit confusing.
In Sarajevo, Reinhardt stumbles across clusters of suspicious deaths, including some of soldiers and even three Feldjaegers themselves. Working against time before the Germans retreat from Sarajevo, he starts to unravel a complicated plot. He finds himself at odds with the leaders of a penal battalion for soldier convicts, with high-ranking offices, and particularly with the Ustashe, the Croatians whose brutality sickens even the Nazis.
He reconnects with Marisa Vukic, the mother of a Croatian actress and national heroine whose death Reinhardt investigated in the first story. Vukic now works with refugees, and it is to her that Reinhardt turns over three survivors who have witnessed a massacre, including a small boy.
McCallin has made a challenging task for himself. He has succeeded in making Reinhardt a sympathetic character – a decorated World War I veteran, a man of integrity, one who has rediscovered a self lost for years, and buried deeper in the worst hellholes of World War II.
What’s harder is making the story itself gripping. Reinhardt is investigating murders in Ustashe-occupied Yugoslavia, which is like investigating speeding at Indianapolis. Part of me sympathizes with those around Reinhardt who shrug at this and say, who cares? And many of the victims are German soldiers themselves. Yes, he’s seeking justice, it’s noble of him, he gathers evidence and gets autopsies done when no one else wants to – and we see that there were people in the German army who did this, even a War Crimes Bureau – but there seems to be a huge amount of futility.
The book takes off in its last quarter as Reinhardt, with others trying to kill him, finally unravels a plot by war criminals to escape following now-certain defeat.
The book drags in part because the material is so depressing. Around ten percent of Yugoslavia’s population died during the war, most of those deaths in intramural violence, much of that of shocking brutality. Sarajevo is full of impoverished refugees. And the Ustashe start preying on their own allies. The current order in Sarajevo is collapsing; there’s a certain end-of-the-world feeling.
Reinhardt surprisingly spends little time wondering about his own fate, what he’ll do after the war. March 1945 is barely a month before Hitler kills himself on April 29. The Reich is collapsing. Germany will surrender May 8. The German garrison in Sarajevo is about to retreat, but there's not as much sense as there should be of "We're about to lose this war", which certainly everyone in the German military should have had by then.
If McCallin continues this series, though, I’d find Reinhardt an interesting character to follow afterwards.
Our story unfolds in the Sarajevo area of Yugoslavia as Reinhardt recently drafted into the Feldjaegerkorps (an elite military police group with wide ranging powers) embroiled in a series of gruesome murders of German soldiers and civilians. There are many moving parts to this tale and as many characters but McCallin does a reasonable job of keeping things clipping along briskly and not letting things get too complicated to follow. I found this adventure held my attention to the very end with plenty of intrique and action. His third book in the series "The Divided City" is on my book shelf and I'm looking forward to reading it; let's hope Mr. McCalling keep them coming and Reinhardt keeps fighting the good fight.
Gregor is back again as the German military intelligence guy who seems to always be in a difficult situation. He is once again in the same city as in his previous two adventures, and he once again finds himself up against the same bad guys (who in this book are even "badder"). He also meets some new people, with different goals and ideals, and there is no shortage of conflict. With so many adversaries with different missions and different things at stake, it is sometimes hard to sort out who is on the right side and who is simply a victim of circumstance.
However, this book seems like it was written a little too quickly. The treatment of many story lines is a little superficial, and while it is readable to the very end, it is a little more confusing and difficult to follow than the first two books in the series. It is a little more "jerky" in its transitions from scene to scene, almost like it was pushed out the door to meet a deadline when it could have used a few more months of polishing. Had it been the first book in the series, I would not have been quite as enthusiastic about reading the rest. But you should read it regardless of its shortcomings.