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If the Dead Rise Not (Bernie Gunther Novels)by Philip Kerr
Synopses & Reviews
From the national bestselling author of Prague Fatale, a powerful new thriller that returns Bernie Gunther, our sardonic Berlin cop, to the Eastern Front.
Berlin, March, 1943. A month has passed since the stunning defeat at Stalingrad. Though Hitler insists Germany is winning the war, commanders on the ground know better. Morale is low, discipline at risk. Now word has reached Berlin of a Red massacre of Polish officers in the Katyn Forest near Smolensk. If true, the message it would send to the troops is clear: Fight on or risk certain death. For once, both the Wehrmacht and Propaganda Minister Goebbels want the same thing: irrefutable evidence of this Russian atrocity. To the Wehrmacht, such proof will soften the reality of its own war crimes in the eyes of the victors. For Goebbels, such proof could turn the tide of war by destroying the Alliance, cutting Russia off from its western supply lines.
Both parties agree that the ensuing investigation must be overseen by a professional trained in sifting evidence and interrogating witnesses. Anything that smells of incompetence or tampering will defeat their purposes. And so Bernie Gunther is dispatched to Smolensk, where truth is as much a victim of war as those poor dead Polish officers.
Smolensk, March, 1943. Army Group Center is an enclave of Prussian aristocrats who have owned the Wehrmacht almost as long as theyve owned their baronial estates, an officer class whose families have been intermarrying for generations. The wisecracking, rough-edged Gunther is not a good fit. He is, after all, a Berlin bull. But he has a far bigger concern than sharp elbows and supercilious stares, for somewhere in this mix is a cunning and savage killer who has left a trail of bloody victims.
This is no psycho case. This is a man with motive enough to kill and skills enough to leave no trace of himself. Bad luck that in this war zone, such skills are two-a-penny. Somehow Bernie must put a face to this killer before he puts an end to Bernie.
"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)." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
From New York Times-bestselling author Philip Kerr comes an amazing departure: an intense psychological thriller, sure to garner even more acclaim for this powerhouse author on the rise.
Gil Martins, an agent with the FBIs Domestic Terrorism Unit in Houston, confronts the violence generated by extremism within our nations borders every day. He sees hatred and destruction wrought by every kind of ism” there is, and the zealots who kill in their names. Until now, he has always been a part of the solution—however imperfect—a part of justice. But when Gil discovers he played a key role in wrongly condemning an innocent man to death row, it shakes his faith—in the system, in himself, and in God—deeply. It even estranges him from his wife and son.
Desperate, Gil offers up a prayer. To know God is there, not through a sign or physical demonstration but through the strength to cope with his ever-growing, ever-creeping doubts.
His problems become more than personal as things heat up in Houston. A serial killer terrorizing the morally righteous turns out to have religious motivations, upping the case from homicide to domestic terrorism. A number of prominent secular icons die or are grievously injured abruptly and under suspicious circumstances, the latest of which is a New Atheist writer whos fallen into an inexplicable coma. Left and right, it seems Gil cant escape the power of God and murder.
As Gil investigates both cases, he realizes that there may be a connection—answering his prayers in a most terrifying way.
From the national bestselling author of Prague Fatale, a powerful new thriller returns Bernie Gunther, the sardonic Berlin cop, to the Eastern Front.
It is 1943 and, at the behest of an old friend from the pre-Nazi era, Bernie Gunther is now working in the Wehrmacht’s War Crimes Bureau—which has little to do with crimes against civilians or POWs and much to do with enforcing discipline in the ranks. It is now a month after the Wehrmacht’s surrender at Stalingrad. The tide has turned. The Russians are heading west. While Party loyalists hew to Hitler’s insistence that Germany is winning, commanders on the ground know better. They have taken enormous losses, supplies are thin, morale is low, and discipline is collapsing. In the Bureau, two issues are paramount: protecting the Wehrmacht’s reputation in the face of the inevitable defeat, and, given Hitler’s refusal to consider such a possibility, maintaining discipline among the troops. Better to fight on than to hang.
Word has reached Berlin of mass graves in the Smolensk region: Polish army officers bound, shot, and buried in the Katyn Forest. Who is responsible? For once, the army and the Party are aligned. If they can prove definitively that this was the work of the Russians, the Wehrmacht is free of at least this war crime. And for Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels, proof of Russian complicity in the massacre is sure to destroy the Western Alliance, thereby giving Germany a chance to reverse its losses and win the war. It is Bernie’s job to get that proof.
And so Bernie Gunther is dispatched to Smolensk, where truth is as much a victim of war as those dead Polish officers.
About the Author
Philip Kerr lives in London and Cornwall with his family. This is his fifth Bernie Gunther novel.
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