Metropolis (Bernie Gunther, #14)
Berlin, 1928, the dying days of the Weimar Republic shortly before Hitler and the Nazis came to power. It was a period of decadence and excess as Berliners - after the terrible slaughter of WWI and the hardships that followed - are enjoying their own version of Babylon. Bernie is a young detective working in Vice when he gets a summons from Bernard Weiss, Chief of Berlin's Criminal Police. He invites Bernie to join KIA - Criminal Inspection A - the supervisory body for all homicide investigation in Kripo. Bernie's first task is to investigate the Silesian Station killings - four prostitutes murdered in as many weeks. All of them have been hit over the head with a hammer and then scalped with a sharp knife.Bernie hardly has time to acquaint himself with the case files before another prostitute is murdered. Until now, no one has shown much interest in these victims - there are plenty in Berlin who'd like the streets washed clean of such degenerates. But this time the girl's father runs Berlin's foremost criminal ring, and he's prepared to go to extreme lengths to find his daughter's killer.Then a second series of murders begins - of crippled wartime veterans who beg in the city's streets. It seems that someone is determined to clean up Berlin of anyone less than perfect. The voice of Nazism is becoming a roar that threatens to drown out all others. But not Bernie Gunther's ...

Metropolis (Bernie Gunther, #14) Details

TitleMetropolis (Bernie Gunther, #14)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 4th, 2019
PublisherQuercus
ISBN-139781787473201
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Fiction, Thriller, Crime, Mystery Thriller

Metropolis (Bernie Gunther, #14) Review

  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    This is Philip Kerr's swansong after his untimely and much lamented death last year, and he leaves us with a gloriously detailed portrayal of the dying days of the Weimar Republic, the chilling rise of Nazism and Hitler in the city of Berlin. He returns us to Bernie Gunther's early days as a detective working in vice, but now promoted to the Murder Commission by the Chief of the Criminal Police, the lawyer and Jew Bernard Weiss. For some time, Jews have been fair game and every Jew in public lif This is Philip Kerr's swansong after his untimely and much lamented death last year, and he leaves us with a gloriously detailed portrayal of the dying days of the Weimar Republic, the chilling rise of Nazism and Hitler in the city of Berlin. He returns us to Bernie Gunther's early days as a detective working in vice, but now promoted to the Murder Commission by the Chief of the Criminal Police, the lawyer and Jew Bernard Weiss. For some time, Jews have been fair game and every Jew in public life carries a gun, the best kind of life insurance they can buy. The legacy of WW1 is writ large in Germany, with crushing poverty and starvation, squalor, rising inflation, women forced to work as prostitutes to survive, and the presence on the streets of mentally and physically afflicted crippled war veterans begging and a troubled political establishment hanging on by its fingernails. Side by side in the Berlin metropolis is its reputation as another Babylon, drowning in decadence, with its growing sex tourism, overt signs of debauchery in the bars and clubs, queers and transgenders shamelessly flaunting themselves, a city of messed up morality. At the heart of it is the arts and culture of 1928 including people such as Fritz Lang with his film Metropolis, and 'degenerate' artists like George Grosz.Into this febrile atmosphere, a serial killer has been targeting prostitutes, hitting them over the head with a hammer and scalping them. This has not caused many ripples in the city, where the underlying feeling is that the killer is only doing what is necessary, clearing the filth off the streets. But the fourth victim, Eva Angerstein, has a father in a powerful position in Berlin's criminal rings fraternity and he will do anything to get hold of his daughter's murderer, including helping Bernie in his investigations. With the reputation of the police in tatters with the killer still at large and many in Berlin gunning for Weiss, another serial killer emerges, wanting to rid Berlin of the constant reminders of Germany's past failures and shame, by exterminating the crippled war veterans, malingerers who are essentially vermin. The latest killer is not alone in his inability to abide anything less than 'perfection', there are doctors, ostensibly looking after veterans, openly espousing eugenics. In a investigation where it is difficult to be a honest cop, the flawed Bernie walks the tightrope, determined to find a killer, not always making the wisest decisions, seeking justice for the victims but in the end forced to be pragmatic given the political volatility that defines the era.Philip Kerr is a brilliant storyteller, he evokes the turbulent atmosphere of 1928 Berlin, in a historical novel that features real life characters of the time, and captures a Berlin and Germany that is inexorably heading towards the horrors of Nazi rule and WW2. His final Bernie Gunther novel is superb and an absolute joy to read, and I still haven't come to terms that there will be no more. I am going to have to go back and reread at some point in the future. The worst aspects of reading about this time in history with its rising populism is that our contemporary world is being marked by its own nightmare rise in populism, and the inevitable darkness that follows in its wake. Love, love, love this novel and this series. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Quercus for an ARC.
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  • Dave
    January 1, 1970
    The book is entitled Metropolis, not just because of the appearance of Fritz Lang, but because the main character might be better described as Berlin than even Bernie Gunther. Here, Kerr gives us a taste of early Gunther, right when he was promoted to the homicide bureau, putting his detective mind to work solving a case of a serial murderer roaming the streets of Berlin. But, best of all, Kerr places Gunther in a time of Weimar Germany with the whole country still suffering from its bitter defe The book is entitled Metropolis, not just because of the appearance of Fritz Lang, but because the main character might be better described as Berlin than even Bernie Gunther. Here, Kerr gives us a taste of early Gunther, right when he was promoted to the homicide bureau, putting his detective mind to work solving a case of a serial murderer roaming the streets of Berlin. But, best of all, Kerr places Gunther in a time of Weimar Germany with the whole country still suffering from its bitter defeat in World War One. There's a darkness festering in the air. And, some areas are filled with the raunchiest of nightclubs and cabarets and sex clubs, a real Sodom and Gommorah. Legless veterans who survived the trenches are begging in the railway stations. Prostitutes line the alleys and the world is bitter, cynical. The Nazis are advancing towards 1933, but they're not yet in power as their evil specter still hovers like a dark cloud over the future. This book really brings to life a time and place and offers historical perspective. It is far more than just another detective novel.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    This is the fourteenth Bernie Gunther novel and, sadly, the last to be published after the tragic loss of Phiip Kerr last year. I read the first Bernie Gunther novel in 1989 and was delighted when Kerr brought the character back in 2006, after the initial trilogy, which was completed in 1991. During the series, Kerr wrote about the life of Gunther before, during, and after, WWII. The previous book, “Greeks Bearing Gifts,” was set in the 1950’s and I had, half-hoped, that Philip Kerr would have h This is the fourteenth Bernie Gunther novel and, sadly, the last to be published after the tragic loss of Phiip Kerr last year. I read the first Bernie Gunther novel in 1989 and was delighted when Kerr brought the character back in 2006, after the initial trilogy, which was completed in 1991. During the series, Kerr wrote about the life of Gunther before, during, and after, WWII. The previous book, “Greeks Bearing Gifts,” was set in the 1950’s and I had, half-hoped, that Philip Kerr would have had the opportunity to complete Gunther’s life story and, even, possibly, give him a happy ending. This instalment, though, is set in 1928. I do love the early years of Gunther’s career, as a Berlin detective and, as such, I am pleased that this series does finish when our anti-hero is young and not aware of all the problems awaiting him. Perhaps that is how it should be.It is 1928, Weimar Germany, and Bernie Gunther has just been moved from vice to homicide. There is a killer on the streets, who is not only murdering prostitutes, but scalping them. Also, there are a number of disabled war veterans being killed, while begging on the streets.Nobody recreates this period of history better than Philip Kerr and we have Weimar Germany in all its decadence, excess and corruption. Many of those living in Gunther’s lodging house help to highlight this, as do the many clubs and bars that Gunther visits as he trundles around Berlin (at one point in the novel, literally). Although this series is best known for being set during the second world war, it is the first world war which is most evident in this novel. The memories, loss and humiliation of the war are evident everywhere, from memories triggered in various characters, to the fact that war veterans highlight the nation’s feeling of failure in many residents of the city.For me, this was a bittersweet read. I am delighted that Philip Kerr did bring Gunther back into print after the initial trilogy, and so pleased that we have fourteen books to enjoy (not to mention Kerr’s many other novels, some sadly not in print), but saddened to have come to the end of a series which is one of my all time favourites. If you have not read Bernie Gunther before, you are in for a treat. Both Philip Kerr, and Bernie Gunther, will be much missed by me and, I am sure, by many other readers.Bernie Gunther series in order:1. March Violets (1989)2. The Pale Criminal (1990)3. A German Requiem (1991)4. The One from the Other (2006)5. A Quiet Flame (2008)6. If the Dead Rise Not (2009)7. Field Grey (2010)8. Prague Fatale (2011)9. A Man Without Breath (2013)10. The Lady from Zagreb (2015)11. The Other Side of Silence (2016)12. Prussian Blue (2017)13. Greeks Bearing Gifts (2018)14. Metropolis (2019)
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  • Mark
    January 1, 1970
    So the inevitable last book of the Bernie Gunther books has arrived, Philip Kerr died last year in March just days before the release of the previous Bernie Gunther novel. I expected that to be last one and bless his heart he had another one for us in stock. I love the little introduction that Ian Rankin provided for this book and love the gentleness he lays in there when he speaks about his friend and fellow writer. he shall be missed. I expect this book to be a bittersweet experience it being So the inevitable last book of the Bernie Gunther books has arrived, Philip Kerr died last year in March just days before the release of the previous Bernie Gunther novel. I expected that to be last one and bless his heart he had another one for us in stock. I love the little introduction that Ian Rankin provided for this book and love the gentleness he lays in there when he speaks about his friend and fellow writer. he shall be missed. I expect this book to be a bittersweet experience it being the last book of a really brilliant series written by a man who has passed away and shall never be able to hear the praise it undoubtedly will receive.This final installment of the Bernie Gunther books is in essence a prequel, a return to the beginnings of Bernie Gunther as a policeman for the Berlin Mordkommision. In the opening we see him being asked to join the Murder-squad by his new boss Bernard Weiss. The fun bit about the books of Kerr are how he drops in real people to give his stories ore a reality based feeling. For me this book was set out in a very recognizable Berlin. I have recently seen Berlin Babylon which is set in the same era of German history and Berlin. It makes me wonder if Philip Kerr has seen the same show which might have prompted him to return to the Berlin pre-Nazi years.Bernie shows very quickly he has what it takes to solve a murder which pleases his new boss very much. When confronted with the next murder he is thrown into a case involving a serial killer who targets prostitutes kills them with a hammer blow in the neck and then scalps them, thus earning him the moniker Winnetou, based on the famous character as created by the equally famous Karl May who wrote this series of books about the nobel Indian chieftain Winnetou. In his investigations Bernie comes across a criminal whose daughter was the last victim and he is very interested in finding out about the culprit.Enter a second serial killer who kills the handicapped veterans of WWI because as he taunts the police they are a blight on the beautiful city of Berlin. This more high profile case takes the public interest away from some dead prostitutes and so Bernie gets cast into another murdercase. In this one he actually goes undercover and sees his own city from a different viewpoint.Once again we see history through Bernie Gunthers eyes where Philip Kerr does not mind being a wee bit naughty like Gunthers encounter with Thea von Harbou, the wife and scriptwriter of Fritz Lang a famous German movie director, in which he essentially give her the idea for the movie 'M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder" about a killer in Berlin. (well worth your time watching even if it is perhaps uncomfortable). This famous director is also the creator of a famous movie called "Metropolis" it is a silent movie but with the recent find in Argentina of lost footage the movie has become more grand and is well worth your viewing pleasure.Kerr describes a Berlin in the Interbellum (The period between the two great Wars) where live is difficult and hard for the common folks, where anything goes and as the upcoming Nazis felt was more a Sodom and Gomorrah. Through the eyes of Bernie Gunther we see this city post WWI and the threat of the incoming disaster already showing. Once again a tour de force by Philip Kerr and sadly his last one, this book is a worthy closing chapter even if the writer had perhaps some more ideas for future installments. We shall never know but he left a series that is well worth your time and attention.His first three Berlin Noir books were a great trilogy but in my humble opinion the next eleven books that started to appear close to 15 years later show a different view upon World War 2 and its consequences after the war. I find these eleven books very interesting and insightful as they show a picture we generally are not told about as we like to keep such a romantic and adventure-view of World War 2 which turns out to be such a pallet of Grey variations. We get to see them through the eyes of Bernie Gunther German, no Nazi, survivor and policeman.Do yourself a favor and read the last eleven books to learn more about Europe and our last great war and enjoy the company of Bernie Gunther. I prefer the latter books to the original trilogy of Berlin Noir.I will undoubtedly revisit this series in the future as there will be no more new books.
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  • Roman Clodia
    January 1, 1970
    Set in 1928 during the Weimar Republic, this features a younger, more innocent, less cynical Bernie Gunther who has just joined the murder squad in Berlin and is on the trail of not one, but two serial killers - one targeting prostitutes, the other 'cleaning' the streets of begging/wounded war veterans.For me, this has the strengths and weaknesses of the other books in this series: for one, the story is overlong, bloated with filler. Kerr is never one to leave any research unused so there are en Set in 1928 during the Weimar Republic, this features a younger, more innocent, less cynical Bernie Gunther who has just joined the murder squad in Berlin and is on the trail of not one, but two serial killers - one targeting prostitutes, the other 'cleaning' the streets of begging/wounded war veterans.For me, this has the strengths and weaknesses of the other books in this series: for one, the story is overlong, bloated with filler. Kerr is never one to leave any research unused so there are endless descriptions of the precise route that Bernie takes every time he leaves the house/police building; he can't pick up a reichsmark note without lecturing us on the man whose portrait is on the note, even though he's never heard of him and it's irrelevant anyway.It's also notable that many men, including Bernie, seem to suddenly be feminists! I wonder if this is Kerr's response to how some readers took Bernie's rampant sexism in the previous books? It might have been distasteful but was probably more historically realistic. Now we have Bernie's boss 'in his plummy, almost thespian voice' saying "I keep telling our leaders that if we did more to support equal pay for women we could solve the problem of prostitution overnight". Another male character: "Mussolini has ended women's rights in Italy on the same day my own country has lowered the age of women voting". Ha!For all that, these books are excellent on recreating atmosphere, here the decadent, febrile atmosphere of Berlin when the wounds and humiliations of WW1 are still current and the country is heading towards a Nazi power-grab. Anti-semitism is rife, women with jobs are forced to turn to prostitution to supplement their income, inflation is on the rise, there is corruption in public life, and crime gangs and drug dealers rule the streets. Bernie and his band of more or less honourable cops are the decent guys, Bernie wisecracking his way through the murk. 3.5 stars for me, an engrossing commute/off-duty read.
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  • Gram
    January 1, 1970
    I've been with Bernie Gunther since the beginning - 1989 and the publication of "March Violets" the first in the series of 14 novels about a street savvy Berlin police detective whose working life as a cop mirrors the rise of Nazism in 1930's Germany through the years of World War II and beyond to a divided Germany of the Cold War era. Over the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's, I've travelled with him throughout Germany to various towns and cities in Eastern Europe and to Cuba, Greece, Argentina and ev I've been with Bernie Gunther since the beginning - 1989 and the publication of "March Violets" the first in the series of 14 novels about a street savvy Berlin police detective whose working life as a cop mirrors the rise of Nazism in 1930's Germany through the years of World War II and beyond to a divided Germany of the Cold War era. Over the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's, I've travelled with him throughout Germany to various towns and cities in Eastern Europe and to Cuba, Greece, Argentina and even Monte Carlo.Bernie started out as a policeman but when the Nazis gained power he resigned from the force and became a private detective, although the Nazis never forgot about him and he was forced into carrying out investigations for the regime's propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels and Reinhard Heydrich, one of the main architects of the HolocaustIn this, Philip Kerr's final book (he died last year, aged 62) it's 1928; the dying days of the Weimar Republic a few years before Hitler gained power. Bernie has been moved from the Vice Squad to a place on Berlin's Murder Commission. He is immediately drawn into investigating the Silesian Station killings. Four prostitutes are victims of a serial killer, dubbed "Winnetou" by the media, because after murdering these women, he scalps them. (Winnetou is the fictional Native American hero of several Western novels written by Karl May, one of Germany's most successful writers whose books sold more than 200 million copies.)Many Berliners would like to see the city's streets cleared of women they regard as "degenerates" but Bernie discovers that one of the victims is the daughter of the boss of one Berlin's criminal rings who will do anything to find his daughter's killer.Just as he starts work, a second series of killings begins. This time the targets are crippled ex soldiers who beg in the city’s streets. As he delves into Berlin's underworld, Bernie meet with some of Germany's major artists, including George Grosz and Otto Dix whose works would later be banned by the Nazis. He's ordered to give Thea von Harbou - wife of the German film director Fritz Lang - a tour of the police HQ and details of the murders as she seeks ideas for screenplays for her husband's films.Bernie goes undercover, posing as a crippled ex serviceman, to draw out the serial killer who has taken to taunting the police by sending letters to Berlin newspapers. His inquiries also lead him into the seedy underbelly of Weimar Berlin, drinking in night clubs such as the Cabaret of the Nameless. All the while, the threat of Nazi brutality and anti-Semitism looms large as Bernie draws closer to the shocking truth. He may be cynical, but deep down he's a decent guy - a good cop trying to stick to the rule of law. Jane Kramer of The New Yorker summed up Bernie as “one of crime fiction’s most satisfying and unlikely survivors: the good cop in the belly of the beast,”. I'm going to miss him. My thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, Quercus Books for a copy of this book in return for an unbiased review.
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  • Steven Z.
    January 1, 1970
    Sadly, last March British author Philip Kerr passed away. Kerr was a prolific writer of over thirty books, including works of adult fiction and non-fiction, in addition to writing children’s books under the name, P. B. Kerr. At the time of his death he had just completed his last novel entitled, Metropolis, the last iteration of his successful Bernie Gunther series that dealt with German history from the 1920s through the Cold War. Kerr, one of my favorite purveyors of historical fiction consist Sadly, last March British author Philip Kerr passed away. Kerr was a prolific writer of over thirty books, including works of adult fiction and non-fiction, in addition to writing children’s books under the name, P. B. Kerr. At the time of his death he had just completed his last novel entitled, Metropolis, the last iteration of his successful Bernie Gunther series that dealt with German history from the 1920s through the Cold War. Kerr, one of my favorite purveyors of historical fiction consistently laid out his view of Nazism, its effect on Germany, and how Germany navigated the Cold War through the eyes of Gunther. METROPOLIS is the 14th book in the series and the reader has experienced the progression of Gunther from his time as a Berlin detective, a reluctant member of the Gestapo, and the course of his career in and out of law enforcement during World War II and the Cold War. The series is not presented in chronological order as we witness the rise of Nazism, the coming to power of Adolf Hitler, German’s defeat in World War II, and how Germany fits into the post war world. Despite the lack of chronological continuity, Kerr makes it easy for the reader to follow German history through Gunther’s experiences. It is interesting that the final volume is set in Weimar Berlin in 1928, a city that resembled Babylon which according to Gunther “was a byword for iniquity and the abominations of the earth, whatever they might be.”Metropolis begins with Gunther’s promotion from the vice squad by Bernhard Weiss, Berlin’s Chief of Criminal Police to a position on the Murder Commission. A move that will change Gunther’s life in that from this point on everyone he meets has the capacity to commit murder and he must size them up. The first case deals with the murder of three prostitutes by a serial killer nickname “Winnetou,”* and the investigation reflects the underside of what Berlin has become - a dichotomy of rich and mostly poor who will do anything to survive. Kerr has an excellent command of history as he weaves events and personalities throughout the novel. In this case, it is the stirring of the Nazis as a political party, worker unrest exacerbated by the Communist Party, the inflation of 1923 and what it has done to the savings and daily cost of living for the people of Berlin.A major theme that permeates the story is the effect of World War I on the soldiers who survived the carnage of the trenches and the battlefield overall. Today we refer to it as post-traumatic stress disorder, after WWI it was called shell shock for which over 80,000 German soldiers were under medical treatment in 1928. For eugenicists of the period, Berlin was infested with crippled combat veterans who survived in their “cripple carts”, crutches, and severe pain. They are paralyzed, suffer from anger issues, flashbacks, survival guilt, and as Robert Jay Lifton, an American psychiatrist who specializes in surviving extreme trauma has pointed out, deal with the loss of self as they try to cope each day. For those living in Berlin in 1928 their lives offer a version of some sort of trauma daily; i.e., the violence pursued by Nazis and Communists, the lack of food, homeless in shelters, thousands living on the street, unemployment etc.Kerr’s theme is carried forth as the Murder Commission learns of a series of murders of disabled veterans perpetrated by a man referred to as Dr. Gnadenschuss** by the press, who are killed by one bullet to the back of the head. Some argue that the murderer is doing society a favor by doing away with the constant reminder that Germany lost the war. For these eugenicists, the Weimar Republic must be cleansed for Germany to recover her strength, and the weak must be weeded out. These views are accepted by many including Doctors, Konrad Biesalski and Hans Wurtz who administer the Oskar-Helene rehabitation facility for veterans whose ideas on medical care and social integration are at best, Neanderthal.The scars that have infected Gunther’s soul come to the fore throughout the novel. As in other books in the series, Gunther’s daily existence is a battle in dealing with his past, the moral choices he makes, and what he has become. Gunther’s sardonic and sarcastic commentary is a defense mechanism to cope with what ails him. He is aware of what the war has done to him, but he is able to compensate for his feelings and thoughts through his firm belief in what he is accomplishing as an officer of the law living in Berlin under the aegis of the Weimar Republic, a seedy, sexy, and cosmopolitan edifice that is out of step with the growing fascist threat to the rest of the country.Kerr pursues many strategies in conveying his material. One approach stands out the best, the soliloquies that Gunther has with himself, particularly when he enters an imaginary conversation with Mathilde Luz, a young Jewish worker who was the first victim. At the suggestion of Bernhard Wiess, Berlin’s Chief of Criminal Police, Gunther is encouraged to place himself in the shoes of the victim as a tool in solving the murder.Taken as a whole METROPOLIS is detective story and a nasty murder mystery that will maintain the interest of the reader throughout. It is a tale of vice and horror that works and lives up to the standards that Kerr has developed in his previous novels involving Detective Gunther. As Adrian McKinty writes in The Guardian the book is “wonderfully plotted, with elegant prose, witty dialogue, homages to German Expressionism and a strong emotional charge, this is a bittersweet ending to a superb series.” (The Guardian, 4 April 2019)*fictional Native-American hero from the novels of Karl May. The term means “burning water.”**mercy bullet.
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  • Rowena Hoseason
    January 1, 1970
    It’s entirely appropriate that this, the final Gunther book penned by Philip Kerr takes place at the start of Bernie’s career in the murder squad. We end at the beginning.And what a great story to start and finish with. This is Germany before the Nazis take power. National Socialism is a rising force and anti-Semitism is widespread, but fascism hasn’t yet completely corrupted societal norms. A serial killer is murdering prostitutes so Bernie is promoted from the vice squad to the prestigious hom It’s entirely appropriate that this, the final Gunther book penned by Philip Kerr takes place at the start of Bernie’s career in the murder squad. We end at the beginning.And what a great story to start and finish with. This is Germany before the Nazis take power. National Socialism is a rising force and anti-Semitism is widespread, but fascism hasn’t yet completely corrupted societal norms. A serial killer is murdering prostitutes so Bernie is promoted from the vice squad to the prestigious homicide investigation. Before he can make much headway, another series of killings begins – and this time the victims are crippled war veterans…Metropolis works perfectly as an historical police procedural, with genuinely intriguing multiple plotlines that are populated by actual characters from the time period. Bernie gets to experiment with the cutting edge of police investigative methods and forensic science, and the trail leads him from high society to underworld mob bosses, via various real-life figures who’ll play a significant role in years to come.Yet while the historical detail and criminal investigation are the strong points of Metropolis, Kerr’s writing doesn’t do justice to the intoxicating atmosphere of the hedonistic heyday of Weimar Berlin. This Germany was also creative, vibrant and exhilarating. Kerr concentrates instead on the sordid aspects of soiled lives.Bernie is already jaded, repelled by the decadence around him, fast becoming the cynical misanthrope of the later novels. Fair enough; his experiences in the Great War were enough to scar any psyche. But Kerr’s writing itself is weary; the dialogue is flat, absent snappy asides or subtle insight. The political observations are laboured, and the social commentary feels artificial. Metropolis is a good story, spoiled by stilted storytelling.This isn’t the best of the Bernie Gunther books, then, but it’s less of a slog than the previous couple which zigzag back and forth across multiple timelines. Not the place to start if you are new to the series: go back to March Violets to meet Bernie at his best.For established fans of the series, however, Metropolis is an acceptable farewell to old friends.7/10There are more reviews and recommendations of crime / thrillers over at http://www.murdermayhemandmore.net
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  • Elaine Tomasso
    January 1, 1970
    I would like to thank Netgalley and Quercus Books for an advance copy of Metropolis, the fourteenth novel to feature Berlin detective Bernie Gunther.In 1928 Bernie is offered a job at the Murder Commission which turns out to be a baptism of fire as he joins the investigation into the murder and scalping of prostitutes, the fourth happening on his first day. These murders lose their priority when the self styled “Dr Gnadeschuss” starts shooting war veterans.I thoroughly enjoyed Metropolis from th I would like to thank Netgalley and Quercus Books for an advance copy of Metropolis, the fourteenth novel to feature Berlin detective Bernie Gunther.In 1928 Bernie is offered a job at the Murder Commission which turns out to be a baptism of fire as he joins the investigation into the murder and scalping of prostitutes, the fourth happening on his first day. These murders lose their priority when the self styled “Dr Gnadeschuss” starts shooting war veterans.I thoroughly enjoyed Metropolis from the warm introduction by Ian Rankin who shares some memories of the author to the afterward which identifies the historical characters and tells what happened to them after 1928. In between that there is a very good novel which held my attention from start to finish. The novel, as ever, is told from Bernie’s first person point of view and while still cynical in tone it is tempered by a certain youthful callowness. I hesitate to say naivety or innocence but they lurk in the background. I like the young Bernie at the start of his career, just as I like the older, more jaded Bernie in the other novels. This Bernie is haunted by his experiences in the trenches and to put a modern spin on it unsurprisingly has PTSD but he also has optimism and a desire to solve his cases.The historical setting of inter-war Berlin is very well drawn as Babylon or Sodom and Gomorrah, depending on the interlocutor. All its problems are on display, the overt sexuality and seediness, the poverty, the anti semitism, the crime, the desperation and the emerging Nazi Party. It’s fascinating and put together naturally.The plot, which seems like an afterthought in this review, is gripping. It is full of twists and turns as Bernie slowly makes his way through conflicting reports and some unwelcome help to a solution, which, when it comes, probably kills some of his naivety and optimism. It is sad to know that this Bernie’s final outing as the series has brought me much pleasure over the years so perhaps it is fitting that this final excursion takes the reader back to where it all began and closes the circle.Metropolis is a great read which I have no hesitation in recommending.
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  • Tripfiction
    January 1, 1970
    Thriller very firmly set in Weimar BERLINMetropolis is very firmly set in the Weimar Republic of 1928 Berlin. The Great War is ten years past, and Hitler and the Nazi movement are just beginning to stir. Anti Semites are beginning to find their voice. Berlin is a city of corruption and debauchery.And there are murders on the street. Prostitutes and war cripples are being killed… The chantes are ladies without work – they looked to be prostitutes (at least part time ones…) after the war when the Thriller very firmly set in Weimar BERLINMetropolis is very firmly set in the Weimar Republic of 1928 Berlin. The Great War is ten years past, and Hitler and the Nazi movement are just beginning to stir. Anti Semites are beginning to find their voice. Berlin is a city of corruption and debauchery.And there are murders on the street. Prostitutes and war cripples are being killed… The chantes are ladies without work – they looked to be prostitutes (at least part time ones…) after the war when the men returned and took all the jobs there were. A fair number are ‘respectable’ middle class ladies… The klutz are disabled war veterans who push themselves round the streets in homemade disability carts, begging for a living. Someone (or maybe more than one person) is killing them – the women are knifed and then scalped, the men are shot through the head. The perpetrator (or perpetrators) writes to the newspapers saying that he is clearing the vermin from the streets with the intention of again making Berlin a place where honest citizens can walk without being exposed to such trash.Bernie Gunther is new to the police murder squad in Berlin. He is charged with finding out what is going on – and stopping it. In his investigation he visits many of the low life haunts of Berlin at the time. He also (no choice offered…) works alongside the boss of one the most notorious underworld gangs… whose daughter was one of the murdered chantes.Metropolis is the 14th (and last) of the Bernie Gunther books written by Philip Kerr. It was completed just before he died in March 2018. It does, though, take the series back to its very beginning. In Metropolis we see Bernie at the very start of his career – as a rookie detective in Berlin.What is especially great about Metropolis is that, as well as being a quite excellent and thought through thriller, it totally captures the decadent atmosphere of 1928 Berlin. A lot of the locations that Bernie visits, and a lot of the people he works with and meets, are real. The blurb at the beginning of the book (I looked because I was confused) states that ‘Names, characters, businesses, organisations, places and events are either the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously’. The use of real people in ‘what might have been’ situations works really well. You feel you gain an insight into the thinking of these who went on the be key players in the Nazi movement.An excellent, and sadly final, addition to the Bernie Gunther series.
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  • Nigeyb
    January 1, 1970
    After I'd got over the disappointment that this - Metropolis - the final Bernie Gunther book (RIP Philip Kerr), was not going to advance or conclude Bernie's "present day" narrative, I quickly began to appreciate it on its own terms. Metropolis takes us right back to 1928 and the moment a young Bernie joins the murder squad. It's an eventful moment as four prostitutes have been murdered in as many weeks. All hit over the head and then scalped with a sharp knife. Then a second series of murders s After I'd got over the disappointment that this - Metropolis - the final Bernie Gunther book (RIP Philip Kerr), was not going to advance or conclude Bernie's "present day" narrative, I quickly began to appreciate it on its own terms. Metropolis takes us right back to 1928 and the moment a young Bernie joins the murder squad. It's an eventful moment as four prostitutes have been murdered in as many weeks. All hit over the head and then scalped with a sharp knife. Then a second series of murders starts, this time it's crippled WW1 veterans who beg in Berlin.Metropolis is classic Bernie Gunther. As the title suggests, it references the work of Fritz Lang and part of the plot echoes Lang's classic 1931 film 'M' (amusingly towards the end of this book Bernie relates his ideas for a film to Lang's wife Thea Von Harbou). Thea Von Harbou is just one of many real life personalities who populate this book. And, as usual, Philip Kerr explains who they all were in a helpful Author's Note at the end. If, like me, you are mourning the end of this wondeful series then be reassured this is a fine way for Bernie Gunther to bow out. If you've never read any of these books then you're in for a treat and Metropolis is as good a place as any to start as, in terms of Bernie's time line, it's at the start. That said, I think it's probably best to read them in order of publication - they get better and better. 4/5
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  • Jill Meyer
    January 1, 1970
    British author Philip Kerr died of cancer in March, 2018. He was famous for his Bernie Gunther series and had just published his 13th book in the series. Word was that he had just finished his 14th - "Metropolis" - and that it would be ready to print in April 2019. And here it is.Bernie Gunther was a German soldier on the Eastern Front/a hotel concierge/a "bull" cop at the Alex in Berlin/and an in-house cop at Berlin's Adlon Hotel. Those were the ones I can remember right now; Philip Kerr gave h British author Philip Kerr died of cancer in March, 2018. He was famous for his Bernie Gunther series and had just published his 13th book in the series. Word was that he had just finished his 14th - "Metropolis" - and that it would be ready to print in April 2019. And here it is.Bernie Gunther was a German soldier on the Eastern Front/a hotel concierge/a "bull" cop at the Alex in Berlin/and an in-house cop at Berlin's Adlon Hotel. Those were the ones I can remember right now; Philip Kerr gave his character many professions in many places at many times. (The nice thing about the Bernie Gunther series is that the new reader can dive in at any point in the series and get caught up in Bernie's life quite easily. Since Kerr didn't write the books in any chronological order, there's no need to read them in order, though I do think the new reader should read the three first books in order because they really do shape the character.) Anyway, "Metropolis" is a good-bye of sorts to both Philip Kerr and his character.Set in late 1920's Berlin, the city is teetering on the brink of collapse. The Weimar Republic is not providing good governance, and maybe that's because the city is impossible to govern. Early in the book, Kerr compares 1929 Berlin to the biblical city of Babylon, where evidently, "anything goes." I think most people reading this review are familiar with Berlin from Kerr's previous books, and also from other fictional portrayals like "Cabaret", though that book by Isherwood took place a few years later. Kerr begins his book by starting with Bernie in his first days as a new member of the Alex's Murder Squad. He begins by investigating a series of prostitute murders where the victims are scalped. The murderer leaves few clues and the city's residents become obsessed with the idea of a phantom stalking the populace. The murderer has been nicknamed "Winnitou" after the main character in Karl May's series of books set in the United States' Old West. The book follows Bernie as he works the case and finds his way around Berlin.Philip Kerr was a meticulous writer. His characters are finely drawn and he provides both social and historical contexts for his Bernie Gunther series. Bernie, who fictionally died in the mid-1950's, and his creator, who died last year, are leaving the readers who followed his adventures a bit bereft. But all things - and book series - must come to an end.
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  • Bettie☯
    January 1, 1970
    Metropolis by Philip Kerr review – the last outing for Bernie Gunther This posthumously published novel sees the world-weary Berlin cop join the murder squad on the eve of the Nazi rise to power
  • Nick Brett
    January 1, 1970
    I was devastated when author Philip Kerr died at the far too early age of 62. He was an exceptional writer and his series featuring anti-hero Bernie Gunther was just brilliant. He completed this just before he died so it was, in a way, a final gift to his readers.The Bernie stories jump about his personal timeline, WW2 Germany being a kind of anchor but the books do move post Nazi Germany and pre Nazi Germany. This one goes back to Bernie’s early days on the Berlin murder squad. It is 1928 and G I was devastated when author Philip Kerr died at the far too early age of 62. He was an exceptional writer and his series featuring anti-hero Bernie Gunther was just brilliant. He completed this just before he died so it was, in a way, a final gift to his readers.The Bernie stories jump about his personal timeline, WW2 Germany being a kind of anchor but the books do move post Nazi Germany and pre Nazi Germany. This one goes back to Bernie’s early days on the Berlin murder squad. It is 1928 and Germany sits within the time of the “Weimar Republic”, the horrors of WW1 and the turmoil and ruin of hyper-inflation have left Germany battered. Berlin has become a place where anything goes, sex drugs, debauchery and murder. In the background are the Brownshirts and the Nazis starting to whisper hate and the Jews are being victimised.Bernie is brought onto the team looking at a serial killer who is murdering and scalping prostitutes and then the team is diverted into looking at the killings of crippled WW1 veterans. To find the truth, Bernie may have to put some personal demons aside and go to some very dark places.This felt a little different to most Bernie novels. A lot more dialogue than usual (crisp and clever obviously), some interesting art to introduce each section of the book and although the darkness of where Germany is heading does seep into the book, the main character here is Berlin itself. A broken but robust, dangerous and vibrant city.In essence this is a murder story (not even that hard to work out) but set within a fascinating time and place. It is, as you would expect, witty, clever and dark as it explores the underbelly of both the city and the individual.So sad this is the last one, but a truly outstanding series from an exceptional author. Farewell Bernie and thank you Philip Kerr.
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  • Jake
    January 1, 1970
    The last week or so, I’ve written in different outlets about the impact Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther series has had on my reading journey and personal life. While acknowledging the many faults of these books, I love them in a special way. I think Kerr is great at capturing atmosphere and cynicism to produce some truly great crime reading. “Nazi Noir” is a burgeoning genre now but Kerr’s Gunther works were really the trendsetter. Knowing this would be the last one following Kerr’s untimely death, The last week or so, I’ve written in different outlets about the impact Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther series has had on my reading journey and personal life. While acknowledging the many faults of these books, I love them in a special way. I think Kerr is great at capturing atmosphere and cynicism to produce some truly great crime reading. “Nazi Noir” is a burgeoning genre now but Kerr’s Gunther works were really the trendsetter. Knowing this would be the last one following Kerr’s untimely death, and knowing it was set solely in Weimar Berlin, got me emotional just thinking about the book. I couldn’t wait to read it.But as Mark McGwire said: “I’m not here to talk about the past.” Instead, I must address the present.And this book is just not great. Even giving it three stars feels graceful.I don’t know at what point in the editing process Kerr died and it feels ghoulish to speculate much. But this read to me like a rough draft. There’s little narrative flow, rough characterization and, while Kerr has sometimes struggled to toe the “showing v telling” line, here he just blasts right through it. I didn’t feel Weimar Berlin as much as I would have liked to because every character went on at length about the respective plights of disabled war veterans and prostitutes. And while the central mystery revolved around both, I got the sense that Berlin at the time was just people humping and begging. While there was plenty of that in real life 1928 Berlin, there was more going on too and Kerr barely taps into it. Foreshadowing is on every other page, although some credit is due for mentioning how violent the communists were in those days, not out of a sense of false equivalency but historical accuracy.Also, and I can’t believe I’m saying this but I think this may have worked better with Kerr’s familiar (and often obnoxious) template of flashback/flash-forward. I didn’t like where Greeks Bearing Gifts left Bernie off so I don’t know. Maybe this was the plan the whole time. But Kerr really struggles to fill the space for 366 pages. It never feels like a cohesive story, rather a pastiche of scenes from a city in a forgotten time.I’m dumping on this more than I should because the moments that do shine are good. Sometimes, the familiar Bernie peeks through. There are moments where Weimar Berlin feels real. The police procedural notes are well-done. It just does enough to round up to a 3 star.But this book was tough on a number of levels: Saying goodbye to Bernie and the series, and reading it in the first place. I wish I liked it more.
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  • Jacki (Julia Flyte)
    January 1, 1970
    Reading this was a bittersweet experience. The latest instalment in probably my favourite series is also the final instalment after the death of author Philip Kerr last year. I'm sad that there will be no more episodes in Bernie Gunther's life. Given that Metropolis is actually the first chronologically (set in 1928, when Bernie is in the Berlin policeforce), I am tempted to immediately re-read all the rest of the books in order of when they are set - although the timeslip element in a few of th Reading this was a bittersweet experience. The latest instalment in probably my favourite series is also the final instalment after the death of author Philip Kerr last year. I'm sad that there will be no more episodes in Bernie Gunther's life. Given that Metropolis is actually the first chronologically (set in 1928, when Bernie is in the Berlin policeforce), I am tempted to immediately re-read all the rest of the books in order of when they are set - although the timeslip element in a few of them does make that slightly difficult.Metropolis begins with Bernie Gunther's transfer from the Vice division to the Criminal division where he is immediately confronted with a serial killer who is targeting prostitutes. As in all the other books, real people and events are woven into the story, although in most cases they were less famous than the Nazi elite who pop up in the later books. However I always find it satisfying to look up photographs of the people and imagine them as he describes them.While Bernie is a cynical character, here he is in his early 30s and "still capable of being shocked at human behaviour". He is heavily affected by his experiences fighting in the trenches during WW1 and more deferential to his superiors than in the later books. The plot concerns Gunther's attempts to identify two serial killers whom he suspects are actually the same person. While the case is eventually resolved, it is in a classic Philip Kerr way, full of compromises and politics.Ultimately I don't think this was the best in the series but it was still high quality. Philip Kerr, you are missed.
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  • Ed
    January 1, 1970
    Complex historical police procedural about a young Kripo (Police) detective during Germany's Wiemar Republic! Interesting and entertaining plot lines and characters.
  • Kathleen Gray
    January 1, 1970
    If you've never read the Bernie Gunther series, this is an excellent place to start because it gives us Gunther as a young man in Weimer Germany. Berlin in 1928 was a stew of political intrigue, anti-Semitism, and, for Bernie, murder. He's just moved from vice to homicide and none too soon because there's a serial killer on the loose. This series has explored Bernie and Germany through WWII and beyond so it was fascinating to me, at least, to get Bernie's "origin" story and to read Kerr's take o If you've never read the Bernie Gunther series, this is an excellent place to start because it gives us Gunther as a young man in Weimer Germany. Berlin in 1928 was a stew of political intrigue, anti-Semitism, and, for Bernie, murder. He's just moved from vice to homicide and none too soon because there's a serial killer on the loose. This series has explored Bernie and Germany through WWII and beyond so it was fascinating to me, at least, to get Bernie's "origin" story and to read Kerr's take on Weimar. He's done a terrific job of bringing the city to life. As always with a Kerr novel, there are sections (more paragraphs) that might be a tad overlong but there's always a purpose to the information. Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC. It's terribly sad to think there will be no more from Kerr but what a pleasure it was to read this last offering.
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  • The Real Book Spy
    January 1, 1970
    Beloved New York Times bestselling author Philip Kerr (1956-2018) takes readers back in time to 1928, providing an origin story of sorts for Bernie Gunther, in what’ll be his final novel following his untimely passing last year. It’s summer in Berlin, and someone is killing prostitutes in gruesome, torturous fashion. After catching the eye of his higher-ups, who think he could one day blossom into a gifted detective, Bernie Gunther is finally called up the big leagues. Upon receiving his summons Beloved New York Times bestselling author Philip Kerr (1956-2018) takes readers back in time to 1928, providing an origin story of sorts for Bernie Gunther, in what’ll be his final novel following his untimely passing last year. It’s summer in Berlin, and someone is killing prostitutes in gruesome, torturous fashion. After catching the eye of his higher-ups, who think he could one day blossom into a gifted detective, Bernie Gunther is finally called up the big leagues. Upon receiving his summons from Bernard Weiss, Bernie vacates his vice position to join the prestigious Berlin Murder Commission, where he’s handed the prostitution case and is tasked with bringing the killer, who has a fondness for scalping his victims, to justice. Though he nabs a killer his first day on the job, it’s not the killer he’s desperately searching for. And tension only rises when another victim is found, prompting Bernie to consider alternative methods for tracking down the murderer.Meanwhile, another killer . . .Read the rest of this review here: https://therealbookspy.com/2019/03/18...
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  • Keith Currie
    January 1, 1970
    Dial M for MurderSet in Germany’s Weimar Republic this is chronologically the earliest of the Bernie Gunther thrillers. Published in 2019 it is the last to be written by Philip Kerr before his untimely death last year.In decadent 1920s Berlin, a serial killer, is murdering prostitutes and scalping their corpses. Bernie Gunther, recently enlisted to the homicide team, joins the investigation. Suddenly the murders of the prostitutes stop and instead crippled war veterans become the victims of a mu Dial M for MurderSet in Germany’s Weimar Republic this is chronologically the earliest of the Bernie Gunther thrillers. Published in 2019 it is the last to be written by Philip Kerr before his untimely death last year.In decadent 1920s Berlin, a serial killer, is murdering prostitutes and scalping their corpses. Bernie Gunther, recently enlisted to the homicide team, joins the investigation. Suddenly the murders of the prostitutes stop and instead crippled war veterans become the victims of a murderer armed with a .25 pistol. While most of his colleagues think this is a new killer, Bernie has his doubts. As usual with the Bernie Gunther novels, one of the most fascinating aspects is how Kerr presents the politics and social milieu in which they are set. Here we have decadent night clubs, effete English writers, sex tours, poverty, street gangs, experimental film directors, rising Nazi brutality and fledgling democracy. One of the most powerful scenes comes when Bernie is disguised as a klutz, a legless war veteran begging on his ‘cripple-cart’.Fritz Lang and his wife, Thea Von Harbou, appear in the book and there is a nice running theme referencing their contemporary murder movie, M. Metropolis is a welcome addition to the series although by no means the best. I think a new comer would be better to start with one of the earlier novels, Berlin Noir, for example, or The One from the Other, or my own favourite, Prague Fatale. In any case it is sad that there will be no more and the reader remain ignorant of Bernie’s ultimate fate.
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  • Jerry Knoll
    January 1, 1970
    Sadly, this is the last of Kerr’s great Bernie Gunther novels, since he died last year at the young age of 62. Bladder cancer, according to his publisher. This was the 14th of the B.G. novels, and it’s an origin story, since in this book, he is moving from vice in the Kripo (the Kriminalpolizei) to the Murder Squad in 1928 Berlin.As a final opus, this book is a beautifully presented tribute to the writer – with a full-color frontispiece that portrays Berlin as a modern Babylon of decadence and b Sadly, this is the last of Kerr’s great Bernie Gunther novels, since he died last year at the young age of 62. Bladder cancer, according to his publisher. This was the 14th of the B.G. novels, and it’s an origin story, since in this book, he is moving from vice in the Kripo (the Kriminalpolizei) to the Murder Squad in 1928 Berlin.As a final opus, this book is a beautifully presented tribute to the writer – with a full-color frontispiece that portrays Berlin as a modern Babylon of decadence and bizarre human weirdness.(Oddly, concurrent with reading this book, I’m reading Berlin Babylon – Book 1 of the Gereon Rath Mystery Series by Volker Kutscher, written in German and translated by Niall Sellar. This first in a series has a detective moving from vice to the murder squad in 1929 Berlin. It starts with a full comparison between the post-WWI decadence and depravity of Berlin and the stories ancient city of Babylon.)But Kerr is the master of Berlin noir. His Bernie Gunther is a heroic, smart, insightful, mournful character. Here he solves a serial killing of prostitutes by going under cover as a crippled WWI veteran. He sees and knows the underbelly of a society rotten to its core, but he still does his best to live by a system of law and justice. I will miss Philip Kerr, the man behind Bernie Gunther, the poor schlub who makes post-WWI, pre-Nazi Germany come alive in an exciting, funny, sad and always interesting, exciting way.
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  • Ali Kennedy
    January 1, 1970
    I have been a massive fan of Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series for a long time so was delighted when Quercus and Netgalley offered me the chance to read an advance copy.Once again, Bernie is his usual flawed self - doesn't do everything strictly by the book and likes a bit too much alcohol. However, it was nice to revisit him in his earlier days (this is set in 1928) and see a little bit more innocence/naivety in the character. The writing, as always, was fantastic and some of the lines I read I have been a massive fan of Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series for a long time so was delighted when Quercus and Netgalley offered me the chance to read an advance copy.Once again, Bernie is his usual flawed self - doesn't do everything strictly by the book and likes a bit too much alcohol. However, it was nice to revisit him in his earlier days (this is set in 1928) and see a little bit more innocence/naivety in the character. The writing, as always, was fantastic and some of the lines I read again just to savour the sentiment or appreciate how it was written (doesn't happen too often when I read to be honest!). The plot was simple yet complex enough to be intriguing and believable. The ending was a perfect Bernie Gunther series ending. I wouldn't say that this is one of the best, in terms of plotting, in the series but that was a high standard that Kerr set for himself. I was gutted to hear of his loss last year so I'll just have to satisfy my love of his work by re-reading Bernie's escapades; of which this one is certainly worth revisiting.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    I have read every Bernie Gunther novel and this one does not disappoint! I was so sad to hear about Philip Kerr's passing but he left us one great going away gift. This novel, is a "prequel" of sorts. It's set in 1928, pre Nazi Germany, and introduces us to young Bernie. He is his characteristic sardonic self, but has not quite reached the peak of his melancholy. You get a little insight into what made Bernie...Bernie.The murder mystery is a good one, and quite enjoyable to follow. While the plo I have read every Bernie Gunther novel and this one does not disappoint! I was so sad to hear about Philip Kerr's passing but he left us one great going away gift. This novel, is a "prequel" of sorts. It's set in 1928, pre Nazi Germany, and introduces us to young Bernie. He is his characteristic sardonic self, but has not quite reached the peak of his melancholy. You get a little insight into what made Bernie...Bernie.The murder mystery is a good one, and quite enjoyable to follow. While the plot is entertaining, the writing is what makes these books so special. The way Kerr writes is reminiscent of the 1930's and definitely transports the reader to that time. I love the dialogue from back then. Kerr will be sorely missed. Thank you to NetGalley for providing and ARC for review.
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  • Tom
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not sure we can say that Philip Kerr knew Metropolis - A Bernie Gunther Novel Book 14 would be the last in an incredible line of books about the Berlin homicide officer who spans a big part of the globe, and has entertained millions. Kerr died March 23, 2018, and Metropolis was issued April 9, 2019. This reads much like Bernie's origin story, although many of the previous books jump back and forth through his chronology. This one does not. Bernie has just gotten his Murder Commission warrant I'm not sure we can say that Philip Kerr knew Metropolis - A Bernie Gunther Novel Book 14 would be the last in an incredible line of books about the Berlin homicide officer who spans a big part of the globe, and has entertained millions. Kerr died March 23, 2018, and Metropolis was issued April 9, 2019. This reads much like Bernie's origin story, although many of the previous books jump back and forth through his chronology. This one does not. Bernie has just gotten his Murder Commission warrant disc, and he quickly solves one murder, and makes his way through a serial killer investigation that will go with him throughout the rest of his career.Here's Kerr channeling Bernie's approach to life:Berlin looked bigger at night: bigger and quieter and even more indifferent than it did by day, as if it were someone else’s bad dream. Looking at all that neon light was like staring up at the universe and wondering why you felt so insignificant. Not that there was any great mystery about that; really there was just light and darkness and some life in between, and you made of it what you could.
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  • Rog Petersen
    January 1, 1970
    Purchased today, want to ditch what I'm reading to jump right in, but...
  • Lisbeth
    January 1, 1970
    Ever since I read my first book about Bernie Gunther some years ago, I was hooked. With Bernie Gunther, Philip Kerr has created a different hero, in a different time. Bernie Gunther is a homicide detective in Berlin's Kriminalpolizei (Kripo) during the Nazi time. Not an easy task under normal circumstances, and even more so during these turbulent times. That could be why Bernie Gunther is tough, rough and cynical, but with a very special sense of humor."He's sardonic, tough-talking, and cynical, Ever since I read my first book about Bernie Gunther some years ago, I was hooked. With Bernie Gunther, Philip Kerr has created a different hero, in a different time. Bernie Gunther is a homicide detective in Berlin's Kriminalpolizei (Kripo) during the Nazi time. Not an easy task under normal circumstances, and even more so during these turbulent times. That could be why Bernie Gunther is tough, rough and cynical, but with a very special sense of humor."He's sardonic, tough-talking, and cynical, but he does have a rough sense of humor and a rougher sense of right and wrong. Partly that's because he is a true Berliner." (Philip Kerr)In his latest book, Metropolis, Kerr takes us back to the very beginning; that is, to tell the story how Gunther ended up at the Kripo. Having been in Vice for some years he is honoured to be offered the very prestigious post and accepts without further ado. More or less immediately, he is thrown into a a serial murder case, aiming at prostitutes and war invalids begging in the streets. Gunther thinks it is the same murderer, and he decides to go undercover to find some traces of the illusive murderer.As he tries to concentrate on the murder case, he is nevertheless affected by corruption within his own force. The Nazi party begins to infiltrate the state organism and anti-semitism is ripe. You don't know who you can trust. The theatre world is booming and as he is about to go undercover, he meets a make-up artist. She helps turning him into a realistically looking, handicapped war veteran. She is strong and witty and Gunther finds a soulmate.The story takes place in 1928, during the Weimar republic, in a Berlin still suffering from World War I. Gunther is a disillusioned war hero, and it is his cynicism that helps him survive. Kerr visualises a Berlin, raw, with its vices, dark underworld of criminal gangs, prostitution and perverse sex clubs. It takes my mind to Christopher Isherwood's Farewell to Berlin. The same decadence and lack of trust in the future. A fight to survive and living by the day. It is so well done.Metropolis as a title for the book is very well chosen. It gives us the connection to Fritz Lang's famous, urban dystopian film from 1927. This is how we are imagining a city going towards its doom. To make an even stronger connection, Fritz Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou, are side characters in the novel. Bernie Gunther moves between the different layers of society and seems at ease in all of them. Berlin is an interesting background, although always present, in this Bernie Gunther's first murder case with the Kripo.In Metropolis we meet a younger and less experienced man than we meet in later books. His memories of the war are still ripe and affects him. His wife died in 1918 in the Spanish influenza pandemic, and privately he is a little bit lost. Or maybe, he is just afraid to be hurt again. He is a ladies' man, so never short of temptations. Gunther is a very likeable character, although he sometimes takes short cuts. His intentions are good at least, and it is good to meet a character who sticks to his belief in what is right or wrong.I can highly recommend this, or any of Kerr's other books about Gunther. The stories are good and the time is very well portrayed and researched. That is with most of his books; they fit into a time and circumstances that are interesting to read about. On top of this, you always get a good murder mystery. If you have not read any of Kerr's books about Bernie Gunther, this is a good one to start with.There is a Bernie Gunther fan site which is very interesting to read (https://berniegunther.com/addpages/ab...). There is also information about Kerr's other books.Unfortunately, Philip Kerr died in March 2018 of cancer. Just before, he finished his 14th Bernie Gunther novel, Metropolis.Metropolis (hardcover) will be published on April 9, 2019.
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  • David Prestidge
    January 1, 1970
    First up, Metropolis is a bloody good detective story. The author gives us a credible copper, he lets us see the same clues and evidence that the central character sees and, like all the best writers do, he throws a few false trails in our path and encourages us to follow them. We are in Berlin in the late 1920s. A decade after the German army was defeated on the battlefield and its political leaders presided over a disintegrating home front, some things are beginning to return to normal. Yes, t First up, Metropolis is a bloody good detective story. The author gives us a credible copper, he lets us see the same clues and evidence that the central character sees and, like all the best writers do, he throws a few false trails in our path and encourages us to follow them. We are in Berlin in the late 1920s. A decade after the German army was defeated on the battlefield and its political leaders presided over a disintegrating home front, some things are beginning to return to normal. Yes, there are crippled ex-soldiers on the streets selling bootlaces and matches, and there are clubs in the city where the determined thrill-seeker can indulge every sexual vice known to man – and a few practices that surely have their origin in hell. The bars, restaurants and cafes of Berlin are buzzing with talk of a new political party, but this is Berlin, and Berliners are much too sophisticated and cynical to do anything other than mock the ridiculous rhetoric coming from the National Socialists. Besides, most of them are Bavarians and since when did a Bavarian have either wit, word or worth?The copper is, of course, Bernie Gunther. Enthusiasts have followed his career from its infancy in the Berlin kripo of the Weimar Republic, through the dark days of World War II (accompanied by such luminaries as Reinhard Heydrich and Joseph Goebbels.) We have held our breath in the 1950s as Gunther tries to elude hunters who, mistakenly, have his name on a list of Nazi war criminals. We have been in the same rooms as Eva Peron and William Somerset-Maugham. Our man has led us a merry dance through mainland Europe, Cuba and Argentina but, sadly;“Our revels now are ended. These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits and Are melted into air, into thin air: And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep.”Metropolis sees Gunther in pursuit of a Berlin Jack The Ripper who is certainly “down on whores.” Four prostitutes are killed and scalped, but when the fifth girl to die is the daughter of a well-connected city mobster, her death is a game-changer, and Gunther suddenly has a whole new world of information and inside knowledge at his fingertips. He is drawn into another series of killings, this time the shooting of disabled war veterans. Are the two sets of murders connected? When the police receive gloating letters, apparently from the perpetrator, does it mean that someone from the emergent extreme right wing of politics is, as they might put it, “cleaning up the streets”?As ever in the Gunther novels, we meet real people from the period, exquisitely researched and re-imaged by the author. As well as the actual senior police officers of the Berlin Kriminalpolizei, Kerr introduces us to the artists Otto Dix and George Grosz. Gunther rubs shoulders with theatre folk too, but he is no fan of the singing of Lotte Lenya:“..the mezzo-soprano could hold a note no better than I could hang on to a hot poker. She was plain, too – I caught sight of her onstage as I made my way up to one of the dressing rooms – one of those thin, pale-faced, red-haired Berlin girls who remind me of a safety match.”On the bright side, Gunther’s trip to The Neus Theater is not entirely wasted, as he meets Brigitte Mölbling. He sees:“..an Amazonian blonde whose perfectly proportioned windswept head lookd like the mascot on the hood of a fast car; she had a cool smile, a strong nose, and eye-brows that were so perectly drawn they might have been put here by Raphael or Titian.”Mölbling helps Gunther disguise himself as one of the disabled ex-soldiers, as he reluctantly accepts the role in order to attract the killer who, in his letters to the cops, signs himself Dr. Gnadenschuss. Gunther’s trap eventually draws forth the predator, but not in the way either he or his bosses might have anticipated. Philip Kerr died on 23rd March 2018 and Metropolis is his final work. Of all the many portraits of Bernie Gunther, which one does he leave us with? Our man is young. He is handsome. His four years in the trenches were brutal, but he survived and he is resilient. The cynicism? If new-born babies feel anything other than hungry or full, cold or warm, wet or dry, then perhaps the infant Bernhard ruefully first opened his blue eyes and gazed on a world which he already knew was full of imperfections and disappointment. But let Bernie have the final word. The entrancing Brigitte ends their relationship, unable to become close to a man who has seen – and will continue to see – so much horror and blood:“I burned her letter. It wasn’t as if I hadn’t had one before, and I suppose that before my time is up, I’ll have others. Never forget, always replace. That’s the first rule of human relationships. Moving on: this is the important part.”
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  • Alex Jones
    January 1, 1970
    This is the 14th book In the Bernie Gunther series, Written before the sad and untimely death of the author Philip Kerr. I actually have most of the series in my tbr pile but this came up on netgalley and caught my interest so here is my reviewSet in 1928 , Berlin is a place of debauchery, prostitution, transvestites, bars and sex clubs, drinking is rife, sex is currency, beggars and homeless are everywhere, corrupt cops, anti semitism and drug dealers on the streets. it’s a new Babylon as the a This is the 14th book In the Bernie Gunther series, Written before the sad and untimely death of the author Philip Kerr. I actually have most of the series in my tbr pile but this came up on netgalley and caught my interest so here is my reviewSet in 1928 , Berlin is a place of debauchery, prostitution, transvestites, bars and sex clubs, drinking is rife, sex is currency, beggars and homeless are everywhere, corrupt cops, anti semitism and drug dealers on the streets. it’s a new Babylon as the author describes at a time when the Weimar Republic Is coming to its end, before Hitler and the Nazi Party came to power.A young Bernie Gunther working in vice , is promoted to the murder squad , by the Berlin Chief of the Criminal Police, Bernhard Weiss, to work alongside highly experienced top cop the “Big Buddha” Ernst Gannet. they begin to hunt for a serial killer responsible for killing and scalping 4 prostitutes, dubbed the Silesian Station Killings.Soon A second set of murders begins. The killings of old war veterans and beggars, taunted by the killer in letters to the papers, the murder squad slow down their investigation in the prostitute murders to concentrate on this new string of more public killings.Yet Bernie is approached by the father of the fourth victim part time prostitute Eva Angerstein. Erich Angerstein , A Berlin Crime Kingpin asks him to continue the investigation on a promise of information in regards to other open crimes from the Crime Boss.Bernie is a somewhat innocent yet flawed young detective in his ways, a heavy drinker, at times a dreamer, he often goes against the wishes of his superiors and looks at other evidence himself, using help from others not strictly above board in hunt of answers. He also has a wicked sense of humour and wit which is prevalent through the whole book and really does help make the book for me.The Finale is cleverly plotted and leads to a very interesting end, its intricate, intelligent and also emotional.This book is quite dark in the sense that the nazi threat is looming large and the constant references only remind you of what is to come to Germany in the not too distant future. The Inviting writing, told in the 1st person, with stunning attention to detail is so easy to read. I felt drawn into 1920s Berlin. It’s a compelling, captivating tale and at times it almost felt charming.It’s beautifully written and just a pleasure to read. The use of some of the language from 1920s Berlin are a great addition, I enjoyed looking up the meaning of some while others were obvious it still added to the story for me.On this one book I have read and I can see the reason so many readers loved this Author and the world will be a lesser place without his writing.A 5 ⭐️ triumph and not only one the books of 2019 but one of the best since I started reviewing. I can not wait to discover the rest of the series from book 1 over the next year or 2
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  • Lou Jacobs
    January 1, 1970
    What a bittersweet experience ... I've just finished reading the last and 14th installment of the beloved Bernie Gunther series. Philip Kerr provides a tour de force entailing Bernie's origins as a 20 + year old policeman offered a promotion to the prestigious Berlin Murder Squad by his boss to be, Bernard Weiss. The scene is the Summer of 1928 .... in the Weimar Republic .... mired in the ever increasing decadence of Berlin as it tries to recover from the humiliating defeat of World War I. Ther What a bittersweet experience ... I've just finished reading the last and 14th installment of the beloved Bernie Gunther series. Philip Kerr provides a tour de force entailing Bernie's origins as a 20 + year old policeman offered a promotion to the prestigious Berlin Murder Squad by his boss to be, Bernard Weiss. The scene is the Summer of 1928 .... in the Weimar Republic .... mired in the ever increasing decadence of Berlin as it tries to recover from the humiliating defeat of World War I. There is an all pervasive feeling of gloom intertwined with the rumblings of an imminent emergence of Hitler and the Nazi's. Nightclubs, cabarets and even sex clubs are thriving , while the general populace scrapes by to put food on the table. Bernie is immediately thrown into investigating a series of serial killings of prostitutes ... they are viciously being bludgeoned in the back of the neck by a hammer and then scalped. The press provides the appellation of the Winnetou Murderer. Paying homage to the famous series of books penned by Karl May ... regarding the tales of the Nobel Indian Chief Winnetou. As the victims pile-up,Bernie crosses paths with a father of one of the victims ... a notorious gangster and head of probably Berlin's largest and most feared crime syndicate. A somewhat strange and precarious arrangement and bond is reached to help propel the investigation forward. However, a second series of murders interrupt his investigation. Handicaped veterans are being murdered across the city with the killer taunting the police in the newspapers. Supposedly he is cleaning up the city by removing the scourge and blight of Berlin. Intertwined between the investigations are Bernie's encounters with film director Fritz Lang and his scriptwriter wife Thea Von Harbou ... responsible for the highly acclaimed SF film: Metropolis. And, not to be forgotten are Bernie's customary dalliances with the local femmes. It's always amazing to experience the history of the time through Bernie's eyes ... the honest cop with scruples and a sardonic wit ,a sometime philosopher, and anything but a Nazi. Thanks to NetGalley and G.P. Putnam's Sons Publishers for providing an Uncorrected Proof of this Masterpiece in exchange for an honest review. I will sorely miss Bernie !!!
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    It is very sad that Phillip Kerr has died; he was a marvelous writer. This is the last of the Bernie Gunther detective series.Several of the other books in the series have been "out of order" or have included flashback or even flash-forward story lines. This last book in the series goes back to Gunther's start as a murder investigator with the Berlin police. It is a clever closing to the series.Although I did not read the series novels in order, and although this describes the character's early It is very sad that Phillip Kerr has died; he was a marvelous writer. This is the last of the Bernie Gunther detective series.Several of the other books in the series have been "out of order" or have included flashback or even flash-forward story lines. This last book in the series goes back to Gunther's start as a murder investigator with the Berlin police. It is a clever closing to the series.Although I did not read the series novels in order, and although this describes the character's early days, I don't think it would make sense to read this before the others. It is written assuming that the reader is familiar with Bernie Gunther.These novels all have certain common features, which is true of this last one as well. Occasionally you can see what is coming, but that is to set up some surprising development later on. Some of the characters and a few persons mentioned are real, taken from German history. And it is Kerr's ability to work 20th century German history into the fabric of his stories that makes them so compelling to read. Many detective procedural series carry the same group of police characters from novel to novel, but Kerr only does that some of the time. I don't think any of these characters were in his other novels. Gunther often carries on pithy conversations with his love interest in a particular book that seem, if you stop to think about it, unlikely - but they read well, and amuse. I'm sorry this is the last of these books; sad Mr. Kerr is not with us to share more of his unusual ability to inform and entertain.
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