5 May 2014


Apologies that there is no Media Monday post today. TT


SOURCE: Ex-library stock.

Berlin is preparing to host the 1936 Olympics, and Jews are being expelled from all German sporting organisations.

Bernie Gunther, forced to resign as a homicide detective with Berlin's Criminal Police is now house detective at the famous Adlon Hotel. Two bodies are found - one a businessman and the other a Jewish boxer, and Bernie is drawn into the lives of various hotel guests. One, a beautiful left-wing journalist, is intent on persuading America to boycott the Olympiad. The other, a Chicago gangster, wants to use the Olympics to enrich himself and the Chicago mob.

As events unfold, Bernie uncovers a vast network of corruption and racketeering, led by those who want a slice of the fortune the Nazis are spending to showcase Germany to the world.
..... Outer back cover

FIRST SENTENCE {Part One:Berlin, 1934: Chapter One}: It was the sort of sound you hear in the distance and mistake for something else: a dirty steam barge puffing along the River Spree: the shunting of a slow locomotive underneath the great glass roof of the Anhalter Station: the hot, impatient breath of some enormous dragon, as if one of the stone dinosaurs in Berlin's zoo had come to life and was now lumbering up Wilhelmstrasse.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 60}:'Dead?'
I shrugged. 'Staying in a hotel is a bit like life. At some stage you have to check out.'

MY THOUGHTS: A 'Bernie Gunther' mystery. A self contained story with just enough hints about the main characters background to make it work well as a standalone novel. The sixth book in a series currently numbering nine its the first I've read.  

A book of what to me felt like two stories, the main one set in 1930's Berlin, the other in 1950's Cuba. Whilst the two are connected they don't really sit well together, the pre-Castro Cuba element of the novel in many ways feeling more like a novella than part of a wider story. 

Then there are all the analogies. Ah, if there were awards for cheesy analogies such as 'he had ears like an Indian elephant , a moustache like a toilet brush and more chins than the Shanghai telephone directory' and 'a jaw as big as a toilet seat' with which the book was peppered then If The Dead Rise Not would be a sure winner. 

Essentially not a novel that did it for me. Whilst I did think some of the writing fascinating, the dialogue about what makes a true Aryan, exceptional, the characters with the exception of Bernie Gunther (a world-weary, sexist cop turned house detective) were unmemorable. Ultimately though I think it takes a truly talented author to convincingly give voice to a character with a totally different background/culture and I'm afraid that in this instance Philip Kerr just didn't quite pull it off.

Copyright: Tracy Terry @ Pen and Paper. All original content on http://pettywitter.blogspot.co.uk/ is created by the website owner, including but not limited to text, design, code, images, photographs and videos are considered to be the Intellectual Property of the website owner, whether copyrighted or not, and are protected by DMCA Protection Services using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Title 17 Chapter 512 (c)(3). Reproduction or re-publication of this content is prohibited without permission. In addition I would also urge that if you are reading this on any other page you contact the original blog owner/reviewer.


Kelly said...

While parts of this sound interesting, I'm not usually one for picking up a book in the middle of a series. And I don't think this interests me enough to go back and start with the first book.

The first sentence didn't do anything for me, but I did like the "memorable moment" quote.

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

I have to say that I have never read any Philip Kerr books, although I do have some sat on my bookshelves, which have been passed on from father.

I am not a huge fan of political thrillers, especially those based on war time exploits, so if there were other things available to read, I would probably keep pushing the Kerr novels to the back of the shelves.

I will eventually get around to reading them one day, however it doesn't sound as though I am missing anything startlingly good.

Thanks for an honest appraisal of this book and author. I hope that you are enjoying the extended weekend,


Stephanie Faris said...

Sounds very intelligent and literary! Two things I don't normally read...

Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen said...

I was intrigued by the first part of your review, but Cuba in the 1950s?
Nah, I'll probably pass this one.

And I don't think it sounds very literary - I think it sounds clichéd :)

Aunt Mary said...

Your review of the book is honest
and nicely written :)

Kelly Steel said...

Liked your review. Thanks for the introduction to this book.

Suko said...

I agree with Aunt Mary. I hope your next book is more to your liking.

Brandi Kosiner said...

Some of the writing sounds good, but the cheesy analogies with other issues just too much

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Well, sometimes cheesy works, but often I have to be in the mood for it. Great review!

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

I am glad that this works as a stand alone novel. It does sound interesting. Thanks for sharing. :)

Melliane said...

Oh I love books like that. It's always interesting to have different periods in a story, mainly these ones because we can discover so many things. Thanks for the review, I didn't know this one.

anilkurup said...

The absence of Monday post is a sad thing. And I'm sure it will be impossible to keep up with the speed you devour books and reading your reviews alone will not do justice.

Brian Joseph said...

Those really bad analogies would likely annoy me so much that I would not enjoy the book either.

It almost sounds as if they are in part parody. Do you think that is what the author was trying to do?

Gina R said...

Alas, does not sound like a title for me either but I do like the imagery of the stone dinosaur coming to life. Can you imagine? *-* Thanks for the share Tracy!

Charlie (The Worm Hole) said...

Sounds like the use of analogies is excessive (and a bit strange). I think I'd skip it if the background's not handled well, as you say. On the other hand, so to speak, your review is very good :)