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Prussian Blue (A Bernie Gunther Novel) Hardcover – April 4, 2017
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Praise for Prussian Blue
“[B]risk and agile...Gunther is one of crime fiction’s most gratifyingly melancholy creations, and in 'Prussian Blue' we watch him match wits with the officialdom of two Germanys, pre- and postwar.”—The Washington Post
“Bernie Gunther—sly, subversive, sardonic, and occasionally hilarious—is one of the greatest anti-heroes ever written, and as always he lights up this tough and unflinching novel. We're in good hands here.”—Lee Child
“Once again Kerr leads us through the facts of history and the vagaries of human nature. His Bernie Gunther thinks he’s seen it all. But he hasn’t, and luckily, neither have we.”—Tom Hanks
"In Prussian Blue, Philip Kerr once more shows himself one of the greatest master story-tellers in English. The narrative is swift and adept, and so well-grounded in the history and custom of the period that the reader is totally immersed.”—Alan Furst
“Kerr once again brilliantly uses a whodunit to bring to horrifying life the Nazi regime’s corruption and brutality.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“In this skillfully plotted thriller, Kerr punctures the present with the painful past. Fans of the series won’t be disappointed.”—Library Journal
Praise for Philip Kerr
“Kerr vividly captures the excruciating moral ambiguity of Bernie’s position, driving home the point that cynicism is the only sane reaction for a man on the wrong side of history.”—Booklist
“The intricacies of the plot, partly based on Maugham’s history as a British spy in charge of a team of secret agents, make this one of Kerr’s best technical efforts. But it’s the characterization of Maugham and the sound of his voice...that makes this novel memorable.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Readers who love hard-boiled heroes fell for Bernie Gunther back when he was a Berlin cop talking tough to Nazi thugs (March Violets, 1989), and we loved him just as much when he was forced to become an SS soldier on the Eastern Front (Field Gray, 2011). And yet, those whose own dark core runs deep may well love the postwar Bernie most of all, the Bernie whose cynicism has slowly morphed into black despair, like whiskey gradually eating its way through a defenseless liver....The Other Side of Silence is one of the best in a sterling series.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Kerr carefully develops his plot, sense of place, and characterizations, enabling readers to imagine what it must have been like to have lived in a postwar morass of political and moral ambiguity. This is more than a crime or espionage novel; it’s a marvelous, hard-boiled political read.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“Intricate enough to satisfy puzzle-minded readers...right out of the Agatha Christie playbook.”—The Washington Post
“Blackmail, murder, deception, sexual shenanigans of every sort, and an undercurrent of black humor pervade Philip Kerr’s 11th novel featuring the unsinkable German detective Bernie Gunther.”—Pittsburg Post Gazette
About the Author
Philip Kerr is the author of the widely acclaimed Bernie Gunther novels, including The Other Side of Silence, The Lady From Zagreb, A Man Without Breath, Prague Fatale,and Field Gray, all New York Times bestsellers. Field Gray and The Lady From Zagreb were both finalists for Edgar Award for Best Novel. Kerr has also been a finalist for the Shamus Award and the winner of the British Crime Writers’ Association Ellis Peters Historical Award. Under the name P. B. Kerr, he is the author of the much-loved young adult series Children of the Lamp. He lives in London.
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Top Customer Reviews
In Kerr's newest book, "Prussian Blue", Gunther is placed in 1956 (with flashbacks to the late 1930's) and he is on the run from GDR official Erich Mielke (Kerr often uses real people, mixed in with the fictional), who wants him to commit a murder for him. It's a rather convoluted murder and is associated with the previous novel, "The Other Side of Silence", in the series. (You don't need to have read "Other Side of Silence" to understand this book.) Now, Gunther is no fan of the GDR - the living standards aren't what Bernie is used to and today's Stasi offical is often yesterday's Gestapo bully-boy. Bernie's trying to avoid both.
The book also sets Bernie in April 1939 when he is ordered by Reinhard Heydrich to investigate a possible murder at Hitler's retreat at Berchesgarden. (Curiously, Philip Kerr writes about the use of Pervitin, which was a kind of meth developed by the German pharmaceutical firm Temmler, and widely distributed in Germany to ramp up energy of the military and industrial workers. It was the subject of a new work of non-fiction, "Blitzed", by Norman Ohler)
As the book continues, the two cases as well as some others, come together to make a complete story. As usual, Philip Kerr's plotting is meticulous and brings his readers to another excellent story. And we'll wait for next year's book in the series!
In _Prussian Blue_, Gunther is tracked down by a former Kripo cop now working for the Stasi who demands that Gunther travel to London to murder a woman who the East German government sees as a threat. As Gunther attempts to avoid this, her flashes back to April, 1939 when he first met his colleage (who is now a Stasi agent), investigating a murder at Berchtesgarten (the "Eagle's Nest" - Hitler's favorite Bavarian retreat). The flashbacks and flash forwards are typical of Kerr's storytelling in the Gunther novels, and work well in constructing the story. And while the murder investigation in 1939 and the attempts at evasion in 1956 are engaging, its the way in which Kerr writes Gunther that has kept me such a dedicated fan. As the Stasi agent remarks, "I admire you, Bernie. I also can't help but think there's a real danger you've always destined to be your own life's saboteur."
Gunther is a Berliner - blunt, a little "red" (having socialist tendencies is what puts him at odds with the Nazis), and with a biting and pointed sense of humor. Gunther's sarcasm, wit and dry sense of humor not only make him a very real feeling character, they are also elements that endear him to me. I lover Berlin, and I have a soft spot for Berliners - Kerr's descriptions of both are spot on.
I loved the book - and I hope for more by Kerr. If you have not had the opportunity to be introduced to this writer or this series, I enthusiastically recommend them to you.
So the work keeps improving. Kerr's use of plain English in Bernie's inner monologue is a great fit. Hitler is the Leader, not the Fuhrer, His book was My Struggle, not Mein Kampf. These are small things but really makes it seem that you're listening to Gunther's thoughts, no cute break into German at awkward parts.
With this you get a sense of the normalization of terror. The view into the workings of the Nazi hierarchy are stunning. The casual brutality in the service of personal power isn't described better anywhere. Kerr's research certainly pays off again.
So I'll reread this one along with the rest while awaiting the next chapter.
Phillip Kerr's writing is crisp, adept and witty. His description of pre- and post-war Germany is vivid, and heartbreaking. Having followed Bernie Gunther since the Berlin Noir trilogy, I am emotionally invested in his story. In his Washington Post review of this book Richard Lipez wrote, "Gunther is one of crime fiction’s most gratifyingly melancholy creations". I couldn't agree more and after reading the last page of "Prussian Blue", I can only hope Bernie Gunther finds the peace he wants.