Customer Reviews


41 Reviews
5 star:
 (24)
4 star:
 (10)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Light on a Different World
I stumbled on this book and was immediately captivated. The mysterys are more than servicable but what makes the book is the glimpse into a Germany that is seldom seen. The life of day to day Germans during and after the Nazi era. For the first time you see what it was like living under occupation of your own government. Amazing characterizations. This is how they should...
Published on Jan. 2 2007 by Dave and Joe

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars overrated
Mysteries are only so-so, there are too many stretches in the first two novels, but the last one is simply beyond believable. There is a continuous stream of primitive wisecracks, which is quite annoying for my taste. It seems that period is well researched and there are some nice period touches, though.
Published on Nov. 26 2002 by Does Not Matter


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Light on a Different World, Jan. 2 2007
By 
Dave and Joe (Toronto, Ontario) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Berlin Noir (Paperback)
I stumbled on this book and was immediately captivated. The mysterys are more than servicable but what makes the book is the glimpse into a Germany that is seldom seen. The life of day to day Germans during and after the Nazi era. For the first time you see what it was like living under occupation of your own government. Amazing characterizations. This is how they should teach history!! Loved it ... learned a lot ... no higher praise.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evocative thrillers set in WWII Germany, Oct. 6 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Berlin Noir (Paperback)
I was loaned this trilogy as a vacation read, I started reading in Dubai airport and barely raised my head until I had finished. The first three days of my vacation were wasted in terms of enjoying Spanish culture, but I don't regret it.
The three novels span WW2 from the nasty beginning of anti-semitism, through the hostilities to the final sad ruin of reconstruction Germany. Kerr's wonderfully cynical private eye understands the compromises necessary to survive in all of these Germanys but remains human throughout the horrors. These are highly intelligent detective stories beautifully written with sympathy for ordinary Germans doing what they could to get by, but the insight into wartime Germany is the real treat. Philip Kerr is a great writer and I consider this to be him at his very best.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great historical thriller!, June 14 2004
By 
J. A. Northrop (Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Berlin Noir (Paperback)
I devoured this trilogy in just under 10 days, I thought it was fantastic. I really enjoyed how Kerr managed to naturally weave in the historical facts with his fictional characters. I particularly liked the first section "March Violets" the best, it was a real page-turner which I found hard to set down once I started. The second, "The Pale Criminal" was good, but had several parts which dragged a bit and the third "A German Requiem" picked it up a bit with a refreshing change of scenery and a fast-paced plot line. Kerr's writing is phenomenal and witty and the superb and complete way the characters are developed is very unique. The reason I did not give it 5 stars is that in certain places (especially when romantic situations and physical relationships are described) the dialogue and occurences aren't believable and can be laughable in parts....seems out of place with Kerr's otherwise sparkling writing. Also, at the ends of the individual books, there are a few loose ends - I was on the edge of my seat waiting for them to be clarified, but to no avail....sometimes this quality is a plus, attesting to skill of the writer to pull you in, but I felt abandoned by the text, as if I'd been loyal to the construction but was tricked out of the satisfaction of seeing the final product. However, overall I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it extremely favorably, especially to those who have a special interest in this time period of WWII and Nazi Germany. Even if you don't, you won't regret putting in the time to get to know these characters as well as Kerr's writing style. Enjoy!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Philip Marlow, Nov. 4 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Berlin Noir (Paperback)
_Berlin Noir_'s three books look at Bernie Gunther's detective work in Berlin pre-and-post WWII. The stories are hard-boiled (although not quite as hard-boiled as Chandler's) fairly literary (but, to me, not pretentious) descriptions of private eyeing with twisting plots, delightful analogies, and fascinating characters.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chandleresque prose. Don't believe me? Listen., Feb. 27 2004
By 
Richard L. Pangburn (Bardstown, KY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Berlin Noir (Paperback)
Chandler's opening style is widely imitated. Here's a conscious tribute which goes Chandler one better by putting this voice into Hitler's Germany. Here he parodies the opening of THE BIG SLEEP, and does it deliciously. Only Barry Fantoni does Chandler as well.
"Circling the courtyard was an ambulatory, with a roof supported by thick beams and wooden columns, and this was patrolled by man with a pair of evil-looking Dobermanns. There wasn't much light apart from the coachlamp by the fron door, but as far as I could see the house was white with pebbledash walls and a deep mansard roof--as big as a decent-sized hotel of the sort I couldn't afford. Somewhere in the trees behind the house a peacock was screaming for help."
This paragraph is also brilliantly constructed, but what especially appeals to me is the self-effacing joke about the size of the house and the last sentence, the sort of telling detail that mirrors the sardonic attitude of the narrator toward the Nazi rich.
Next paragraph:
"Closer to the door I got my first good look at the doctor. Since he was at least fifty, I suppose you could say he was distinguished looking. Taller than he had seemed sitting in the back of the car, and dressed fastidiously, but with a total disregard for fashion. He wore a stiff color you could have sliced bread with, a pin-striped suit of a light-grey shade, a cream-colored waist-coat and spats; his hands were gloved in grey kid, and on his neatly cropped square grey head he wore a large grey hat with a brim that surrounded the high pleated crown like a castle moat. He looked like an old suit of armor."
A typical Chandleresque paragraph with the short summation sentence at the end like a punchline.
Next paragraph:
"He ushered me towards the big mahogany door which swung open to reveal an ashen-faced butler who stood aside as we crossed the threshold and stepped into the wide entrance hall. It was the kind of hall that made you feel lucky just to have got through the door. Twin flights of stairs with gleaming white banisters led up to the upper floors, and on the ceiling hung a chandeleir that was bigger than a church-bell and gaudier than a stripper's ear-rings. I made a mental note to raise my fees."
"Another Chandleresque paragraph with the trade mark existenialism in the last sentence. He's not political, let alone communist, but the contrast between rich and poor is never far from the narrator's mind."
Next paragraph:
"The butler, who was Arab, asked to take my hat. "I'll hold onto it if you don't mind," I told him, feeling its brim between my fingers. "It will help me to keep my hands off the silver."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Berlin Noir, Dec 31 2010
By 
J. G. Bruyea "Mystery fan" (Barrie Ont) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Berlin Noir (Paperback)
I love all of Philip Kerr novels , this is special , 3 books in one , Bernie Gunther is smart , fun and living in a very difficult time , this series is both entertaining and educational , all the Bernie Gunther series are highly recommended , wonderful read. Hope there will be more soon.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Captivating, Dec 12 2010
By 
Toni Osborne "The Way I See It" (Montreal, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Berlin Noir (Paperback)
This is a collection of the first three novels in the Bernhard Gunther series that were written between 1989 and 1991 and were published together in 1993 under the title "Berlin Noir". Detailed in it are the earlier adventures of Bernhard Gunther, a private detective who specialized in missing person cases. The scenes reflect the climate of pre and post-World War 11 Berlin. As for the stories, they highlight some of the horrors that began with the birth of National Socialism and end with the allied occupation and reconstruction.

Book 1 "March Violets", Berlin 1936

When Gunther is retained by wealthy German industrialist Hermann Six to investigate the arson murder of his daughter and son in law and the theft of some priceless jewellery he finds himself in the middle of a major conspiracy involving highly placed Nazis. His investigation plunges him into Berlin's dark side with its noisy cabarets, its easy women and tough men, and eventually to Dachau concentration camp. There he finds himself both on the receiving and giving end of violence, violence the world has yet to learn of. He has become a pawn in a game where corruption and decadent behaviour are practiced at its highest level.

Book 2 "The Pale Criminal", Berlin 1938

This is a time when the situation in Germany is escalating from bad to worse and P.I. Gunther is investigating a case of blackmail on behalf of his client Frau Lange. Part of his investigation has him undercover in a clinic where psychotherapy is practiced but things turn ugly when his partner is murdered and the alleged blackmailer commits suicide. To complicate things even further, Gunther is given an order he can't refuse, he is ordered back to Kripo by the SS general Heydrich to work on a serial murder case in which two SS officers are being fingered by public opinion. This is a highly explosive period in Berlin just prior to Kristallnacht.

Book 3 "A German Requiem", Berlin 1947

This is a time when Germany is divided and Berlin is in a state of devastation, its people are doing their best to find food and shelter and rebuild their lives. Gunther recently released from a Russian prison is asked to investigate the murder of Edward Linden, an American Counterintelligence captain. An old acquaintance of his, Emil Becker has been arrested for the murder and may soon be convicted and put to death. Gunther strongly suspects Becker is being framed and with the clock ticking he must follow his strongest leads. The Russian Colonel Palkovich Poroshin, now in Vienna may have some important pieces to the puzzle but can Gunther really trust him. Deep into the investigation he draws the attention of a group of men who have their own secret agenda. An agenda that subsequently uncovers a nightmare landscape containing more death than he could ever have imagined....

The three novels are very interesting and captivating. What I found most fascinating is the historical setting; it brings us deep into the dark and chaotic period of Nazi-era Germany. Through the protagonist, we feel the hype and frenzy created by Hitler and the subsequent behaviour of the Nazi followers, we also experience the emotional letdown the German people felt post-war. Bernhard Gunther is portrayed as a person with an attitude who walked a fine line to stay alive. He was once an SS officer under the command of Heydrich, Himmler and Goering but transferred to the Russian front in order to distance himself from the path the SS was taking. In his writing Mr. Kerr uses a tone that is brutal and dry, fitting for the subject. "Berlin Noir" is a page turner, a vortex of plots and subplots that are easy to follow although hard to swallow.

I have found this series highly entertaining and addictive.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Great collection to read and pass time nicely, Sept. 24 2003
This review is from: Berlin Noir (Paperback)
I am a first-time Kerr reader who appreciated and (mostly) enjoyed this trilogy of Bernie Gunther stories. While at first put off by the fact that the novels are based in the historical period of WWII and pre-Cold War (not my period and I'm not a pro-Nazi), I quickly found myself emersed and mesmerized by Kerr's writing.
The triology format of the book makes this a great buy... But what's also nice about this type of format is that the reader gets to actually see Gunther (and by extension Kerr's own writing) grow and mature into his own as a complex, personal, psychological detective set in a specific historical context that is more-or-less rooted in historical facts. (Kerr ends each novel with a short piece that explains the history and, in one case, ongoing mystery that contemporary researchers and journalists are still striving to solve.)
There is also a fine sense of sharp, wry humor that occasionally makes its way into Kerr's writing. I only wish there were more of this, it would help to balance the very dark, ominuous, and sinister setting that evenly pervades all three novels.
My only complaints: The novels are also filled with their own share of too-graphic violence, the plot line in A German Requiem is incredibly convoluted, and the trilogy ended far too soon for me!
If you're an avid mystery reader and interested in books that are set in specific historical periods and try to embelish/extend well-known mystery genres, definitely pick this book up! I think it's definitely worth your time and money.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars overrated, Nov. 26 2002
This review is from: Berlin Noir (Paperback)
Mysteries are only so-so, there are too many stretches in the first two novels, but the last one is simply beyond believable. There is a continuous stream of primitive wisecracks, which is quite annoying for my taste. It seems that period is well researched and there are some nice period touches, though.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Results, Jan. 21 2002
By 
John C Washburne (St. Louis, Missouri USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Berlin Noir (Paperback)
This trilogy is intriguing because I have several complaints about Kerr's style, yet I really did enjoy these books. First the complaints: 1) Way too many cliches. It's as if Kerr is trying to write a parody of thirties detective stories, except it isn't supposed to be funny. He's trying too hard to get the reader to see Bernie as a "seen too much", jaded character. 2) Kerr's description of Bernies sexual adventures is overdone and quite frankly the prose is laughable. It's like he took it straight from "Penthouse Forum".
On the other hand, I thought the storytelling was very good, and the plot lines were solid. And Kerr, to his credit, is capable of coming up with phrases that stick with you instantly.
An enjoyable and worthwhile read, but Alan Furst is a much better example of the genre.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Berlin Noir
Berlin Noir by Philip Kerr (Paperback - July 1 1993)
CDN$ 22.50 CDN$ 16.24
Usually ships in 3 to 5 weeks
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews