Simon Scarrow

Book - 2022

"Berlin, December 1939. Paranoia in the capital is intensified by a rigidly enforced blackout that plunges the city into oppressive darkness every night, as the bleak winter sun sets. When a young woman is found brutally murdered, Criminal Inspector Horst Schenke is under immense pressure to solve the case, swiftly. Treated with suspicion by his superiors for his failure to join the Nazi Party, Schenke walks a perilous line. The discovery of a second victim confirms Schenke's worst As the investigation takes him closer to the sinister heart of the regime, Schenke realises there is danger everywhere - and the warring factions of the Reich can be as deadly as a killer stalking the streets ... --

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Thrillers (Fiction)
New York : Kensington Publishing Corp 2022.
First Kensington hardback edition
Physical Description
375 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
Main Author
Simon Scarrow (author)
Review by Booklist Review

There have been several fine thrillers about serial killers stalking London's darkened streets during the Blitz (Cathi Unsworth's Without the Moon, 2016, leads the pack), but fewer about the parallel phenomenon in Berlin. Scarrow changes that with this crisp thriller set in 1939 at the beginning of the war. When a once-famous actress, rumored to have been involved with Joseph Goebbels, is found murdered, criminal inspector Horst Schenke and his team are assigned the case, taking orders directly from the Gestapo. Schenke, who has not joined the Nazi Party, is being set up as a fall guy, and when more murders follow, it's clear that, to solve the case, he will need to defy his masters. Like Bernie Gunther in Philip Kerr's celebrated series, Scarrow builds tension both from the crimes at hand and from his hero's internal struggle, knowing that eventually his determination to keep policing separate from politics is doomed to failure. Schenke lacks the Chandlerian cynicism that Kerr gives Gunther, but he is a strong, deeply conflicted character, and Scarrow makes the most of the blackout as a breeding ground for mayhem.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Horst Schenke, the protagonist of this exceptional mystery set in 1939 Berlin from British author Scarrow (the Eagles of the Empire series), became a respected Kriminalpolizei inspector after a near-fatal accident six years earlier ended his career as a racing driver. His decision not to join the Nazi party has stymied any hopes for advancement, but his distance from the party leads to his being tapped to investigate a high-profile homicide. Once-prominent film star Gerda Korzeny, ex-mistress of Josef Goebbels and wife of the Nazi attorney "who rewrites certain laws to make the party's actions legal," was found near some railroad tracks, her skull crushed by a single blow. Korzeny's possessions were undisturbed, and her state of undress suggests she was resisting a sexual assault. Schenke's role is to reduce the prospects of friction between Nazi factions and to serve as a scapegoat if things go south. Scarrow plausibly conveys the complexities of his hero's efforts to do an honest job of seeking justice while serving under a corrupt and criminal regime. Fans of Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther will hope for a sequel. Agent: Luigi Bonomi, LBA Books (U.K.). (Mar.)

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