Prussian Blue by Philip Kerr

Prussian Blue

Philip Kerr

“Bernie Gunther—sly, subversive, sardonic, and occasionally hilarious—is one of the greatest anti-heroes ever written, and as always he lights up this tough and unflinching novel. We're in good hands here.”—Lee Child

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From New York Times–bestselling author Philip Kerr, the much-anticipated return of Bernie Gunther, our compromised former Berlin bull and unwilling SS officer. With his cover blown, he is waiting for the next move in the cat-and-mouse game that, even a decade after Germany’s defeat, continues to shadow his life.
 
The French Riviera, 1956: The invitation to dinner was not unexpected, though neither was it welcome. Erich Mielke, deputy head of the East German Stasi, has turned up in Nice, and he’s not on holiday. An old and dangerous adversary, Mielke is calling in a debt. He intends that Bernie go to London and, with the vial of Thallium he now pushes across the table, poison a female agent they both have had dealings with.

But chance intervenes in the form of Friedrich Korsch, an old Kripo comrade now working for Stasi and probably there to make sure Bernie gets the job done. Bernie bolts for the German border. Traveling by night, holed up during the day, Bernie has plenty of down time to recall the last time Korsch and he worked together.

It was the summer of 1939: At Hitler’s mountaintop retreat in Obersalzberg, the body of a low-level bureaucrat has been found murdered. Bernie and Korsch are selected to run the case. They have one week to solve the murder—Hitler is due back then to celebrate his fiftieth birthday. Lucky Bernie: it’s his reward for being Kripo’s best homicide detective. He knows what a box he’s in: millions have been spent to secure Obersalzberg. It would be a disaster if Hitler were to discover a shocking murder had been committed on the terrace of his own home. But the mountaintop is home to an elite Nazi community. It would be an even bigger disaster for Bernie if one of them was the murderer.

1939 and 1956: two different eras, seventeen years apart. And yet, not really apart, as the stunning climax will show when the two converge explosively.


Advance Galley Reviews

I had selected this book to try reading a new genre. Unfortunately I was unable to get into it at all. No fault of the author, this book is well written and had I read some of the previous tomes in this series, I know it would have been easier to sink into it.

Not my usual type of read,I asked for 'Prussiam Blue' to read outside my comfort zone and am so glad I did! Normally I like to start with book 1 in a series,so jumping in on Book 12 could have been a dusaster but what Phillip Kerr does so well is create a character you can relate to in Bernie Gunther which does not require you to have read the others,but which interests you enough to read them. Set in two time zones,both overshadowed by the Second World War,a murder needs to be solved in the most awkwars of circumstances and the ripples are still felt nearly two decades later. Thanks so much First to Read,I appreciate the opportunity to have read 'Prussian Blue'.

Got ARC through First to Read. Liked the book. The characters were interesting. Liked the story flow. Interesting perspective to this point in history. Intrigue and mystery...edge of your seat reading. Will read more by this author.

Not being familiar with the Bernie Gunther series, I was somewhat put off at first by his edgy humor with the Nazis. However, once I got into it I really liked the history and Gunther was more believable as a character. I will definitely read more of Kerr's series.

I wanted to try anew author I hadon't not read before so I selected Philip Kerr. The synopsis of the book seemed interesting enough but I just couldn't get into this one.

Nice historical fiction and page turner.

I think the other reviewers below me summed this book up quite well. I received a digital galley of this book from the First to Read program, which in a way I regret, because I feel that I just have to read the rest of the books in the series. I love Bernie Gunther. As other reviewers have mentioned, he is raw, real, and easy to relate to. I was definitely at the edge of my seat towards the end. I have nothing else to say except that I thoroughly enjoy this book, and I can't wait to read more from this author.

I received this ARC from Penguin Books through First to Read. The plot line is well written and the characters well developed. I really enjoyed the way this story moved and the adventure within it. I'd definitely read another in this series and recommend this novel to others. I enjoyed the historical setting and the way the author provided knowledge as well as entertainment.

I definitely have put the other books in this series on my to-read list. LOVED IT! Bernie Gunther is a very entertaining character. This novel pulls you in and you do not realize you are at the end until you are there. Wow!

I love WWII era books. I have not read any of the others on this series, but i was able to read it as a stand alone, but might have gotten more from it had I read others. It reminds me of a dark Dick Tracy mystery. I haven't read as lot about Nazis after WWII other than those who died to other countries so it added new knowledge. It seemed a good mix of fact and fiction

Philip Kerr has created a character that is so unflinchingly real that you can't help but to connect to him. This book follows Gunther through two separate timelines that are seventeen years apart. The parallels between the timelines shine a light on the many similarities between the Stasi and Nazis. Kerr is able to bring this era to life with evocative, yet uncomplicated descriptions. It's easy to lose yourself to the post-war era that is often overlooked in the literary world. I am not as familiar with post-war Germany, but Kerr was able to communicate facts about the time without seeming long-winded. The narrative conveyed much of the historical information so it's easy to read and does not leaving you feeling like you've just attended a very dry 5 hour seminar. It's a refreshingly honest portrayal of a man stuck in a time that constantly compromises mens morals. This was my first novel from Philip Kerr, but definitely will not be my last.

“Prussian Blue” is the twelfth book in the “Bernie Gunther series”, yet again, it can be read as stand alone. This book finds Bernie in the French Riviera, working on a hotel, as he receives a dinner invitation from his wife. It sounds rather strange to him, as it would be a little difficult for her to be there at the time, but he accepts the offer. When he arrives at the date, he founds himself having dinner with the head of Stasi police. It is 1956 and the Eastern Germany Police is shuffling the cards of the deck. Bernie is asked to handle a loose end of an agent, he is not so fond of. Given his integrity and honesty, he cannot commit murder, even to someone he dislikes. Therefore he is on the run, trying to escape being captured by an old partner. The whole situation brings him memories of 17 years ago, 1939, when he was investigating a murder in Berghof, in Hitler’s country house, and actual headquarters of the chancellery and the Nazi Party, just before the invasion to Poland. It was not out of his fondness for the Nazis or Hitler that he agreed to this investigation, but rather of the selfe conservation feeling that kept him alive in the coming years. This is a hell of a detective’s story that Kerr is up to with this novel. History is around the trenches at all time and the whole pre and post World War II atmosphere is vivid in the air of this Bavarian village. The narration is split between two eras with 17 year difference between them. It starts at 1956, with the reality of the East German Police, Stasi, leading their way around the world, committing their own crimes, just like the Gestapo. That is because, the same people that were in the police forces of Hitler’s Germany are still pulling the strings after the war. Nothing new for those who study history. It continues back in 1939, going back and forth really smoothly and not confusing the reader, as all the events from one era connect to those of the other. Kerr’s narration is well known to his fans and so is Bernie’s integrity. The author tries really hard to keep his main character unchanged throughout the years and the difficult times, and he accomplishes it nonetheless. It is a remarkable job so to speak, being able to support your hero after 12 books! It’s an atmospheric long but enjoyable read, destined to put the reader into some thought. Human nature is not far from the savage times. Given the current situation in Europe and around the world in general, where the right and fascist parties are getting strength and power, it is a reminder to us all of what has happened and what can become of people in power. Even the slightest power can make man hungry for more, can make him greedy, can make him think low of human life. Do we really want to see another Hitler dominating our world? Cause we are really not far from that…

Put on a pot of coffee because Prussian Blue will have you reading through the night. I have never read anything from Philip Kerr but this book is amazing. I definitely have to read the other books in this series. The author sets the scenes beautifully, I honestly feel like I am there living in 1939. The main protagonist Gunther is witty and smart mouthed which resulted in me instantly loving this guy. Trying not to get himself killed and solving a murder on Hitler's private estate is absolutely electrifying to read. This is the reason why I love to read crime fiction, it has everything you could want in a good adult novel, from the characters to the storyline and the writing. My only small negative comment would be the two storylines did not seem to connect for me in the first 160 pages but it definitely made sense at the end. I love how the author weaves such an intricate tapestry of intrigue using existing places and well know poisons and makes it his own. You not only enjoy reading a well thought out story but you learn a few things along the journey as well.

I sincerely apologize, however this is yet another book that I did not realize was part of a series prior to requesting a copy and reading the first few chapters. I did hang in until about a third of the way into the novel, but then stopped as I felt I would not be able to give it an adequate review for First to Read. I did enjoy the author's style and I am a fan of historical fiction, but this book just was not for me.

Intriguing story spanning two eras and keeps you turning the pages

It's my first time to read Bernie Gunther Series and I thought that the plot was very interesting. I was in doubt at first because I haven't read any book in the series but it can be read as a standalone. However, I don't know what to feel after reading this book. I usually love historical fiction but I did not enjoy this one as much as I enjoyed other books in the same genre. I think there weren't much twist or turn of events that took me so long to finish it because I wasn't that looking for the next page. And I was having a hard time keeping up with the story since was not that familiar with the Germany's history. But, it was well written especially how cruelty and greed were described. And I like the idea of the story jumping from 1956 to 1939 which I would like to commend Mr. Philip Kerr. I would like to read his other book and give it another try. Maybe, this book is really not for me.

Prussian Blue is the twelfth book of Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther series. If I am going to be scrupulous though, it’s the twelve-and-a-half book because Gunther is caught up in more than one scary situation, one in 1939 and the other in 1956. It begins in 1956 when some old colleagues, including a former partner Friedrich Korsch, catch up with him in France to pressure him to assassinate an old flame. While fleeing them in 1956, he recalls the case that he worked with his Korsch in 1939. Gunther had requested his support in that investigation, but there are no permanent friends in a dictatorship, fascist or communist. In 1939, Gunther was sent to Investigate a murder on the terrace of The Berghof, Hitler’s mountain home in the Obersalzberg near Berchtesgaden. Martin Borman, Hitler’s right-hand man had requested the best investigator and Heydrich sent him. The victim was Dr. Karl Flex, a civil servant who worked for Borman. The problem is, it would be a challenge to find a single person in the region who didn’t want Flex dead. The investigation is fraught with peril as Flex was part of a group of grifters. He was using state power to force people to sell their homes below market value whether they wanted to sell or not. He was running a brothel and dealing in Pervitin, the crystal meth that fueled the Nazi war machine. He was skimming money in all sorts of ways, likely with Borman’s blessing. So, Gunther’s challenges are multiplying. Heydrich, his boss wants him to get dirt on Borman. Borman wants him to investigate and solve a murder without word getting out about the murder, because no one should be getting ideas about shooting anyone anywhere near the Leader. What would it say about Borman’s management if this new seat of government, this luxury compound for the leadership, was unsafe. Somehow, Gunther must navigate the interlocking web of corruption surrounding Borman and Flex without worrying Borman that he knows too much. I liked Prussian Blue quite a bit. It is tense, suspenseful, and some of the characters are satisfyingly complex. Gunther, of course, is incredibly complicated, but he is not alone. Kerr is successful in creating the place and time without resorting to pedantry. You understand the political situation through natural conversations, not lectures and explanations. I was worried after If the Dead Rise Not that taking him past the milieu of World War II Germany would diminish the knife-edge suspense, but it turns out that life can move on and Gunther can have post-war intrigue side by side with war-time recollections of his past. I liked the way the 1956 story intersected in multiple ways with the 1939 story. Not just because Korsch was his assistant then and his pursuer now. There are also geographic connections, each story ending in the same place. Even Prussian Blue is important in both timelines, an antidote in 1956 and a signal in 1939. These connections tie it all together well. I was introduced to Bernie Gunther in an omnibus edition called Berlin Noir that included the first three books in the series, March Violets, The Pale Criminal, and A German Requiem. I was hooked. Somehow, without noticing, I have missed a few in the series since the last one I remember he was in Havana and that was only the sixth. That’s only good news, more great books to read. Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther mysteries are satisfying. Gunther tries to be a moral man, but that is not an option. So he tries to be an honest cop–and discovers over time that is not an option, either. In trying to do his job honestly, rejecting Nazism as much as he can while still working for the Kripo, he finds himself implicated in Nazi crimes again and again. Is there a way to live and work in a fascist state with integrity. I think Gunther learns it is not possible if you work for the state. Prussian Blue will be released on April 4th. I received an e-galley through First to Read ???? http://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpress.com/2017/03/28/9780399177057/

I'm reading this book now. It is interesting, engaging, and reads like the narrator is telling the tale to a friend (the reader). It is not frenetic. Neither is it slow. It is more like a conversation. The imagery and back story are well developed. I want be able to read it straight through to the end. But, alas, I am very busy now. Spring break is right around the corner, so I will be able to plow through it, soon.

I would like to thank Firsttoread, Marian Wood Books/Putnamand Penguin books for an ARC of Prussian Blue by Philip Kerr in exchange for an honest review. Prussian Blue is a Bernie Gunther # 12 series. I have not read any of the other books, however, I did not feel at a loss. I followed along relatively easily. The story flows along two interesting timelines, 1939 and 1956. The main character, Bernhard Gunther is a detective who is exceptional at solving crimes. In 1956 he encounters "old acquaintances" who ask him to murder someone and Gunther tries to get his way out of it. In 1939, Gunther is needed to investigate a murder in the Bavarian mountains, and solve the crime within a weeks time. To me the 1939 timeline was more interesting. The book was extremely long and the two timelines took something away from one another. It is a good detective story, intermingled with action, historical facts and a very smart aleky detective. I did finish the story, however, the storyline did not "call to me." I couldn't wait to finish it, just to say I finished it.

Review by Linda Karau Prussian Blue by Phillip Kerr An outstanding combination of WWII Historical Fiction of Hitler's mountaintop echelon retreat in the Alps of Bavaria, and then the French espionage ofvthe mid 1950s! Both subjects new to me, their excitement snuck up on Me! After the the setting ofvthe intro in the first 40 pages or so, our prime detective, Bernhardt Gunther takes us for a run thru memory lane as he begins his own run from a very difficult assignment. He does not want to finish off an operative he once was involved with, anymore than he once wanted to spend time with Hitler's best adjutants in his private hideaway in Ober Salzburg! But, here's the rub, he has no choice, or he will be the one finished Off! KERR keeps us running too from 10939 to 1956 and back again as the story becomes more & more Engrossing! I loved this history lesson, along with the Raymond Chandler - esque feel his writing style gave Me! Being a fan of both style and no ir, I must admit, I wished it would move faster at a few key spots, to get me to the final chapters, but alas, all good things come to he or she, who Waits! So my Advice? Pick out a super comfy chair, and immerse yourself in this newest episode of Bernie Gunther life via PHILLIP KERR! It'll sneak up on you and hold you captive until the end!!! 5?????! ###

A Penguin First to Read ARC e-book in exchange for an honest review. “I like to encourage a man’s vices. Especially yours.” Prussian Blue is book 12 in the series. I felt like, yes you could read it as a standalone but, there was a lot of information that seemed to be missing when it came to character development and the various relationships. This story bounces from present day 1956 to the past, 1939. Though the story is split into two parts the two events end up intertwining. The story line in 1939 is surrounding a murder that happened on Hitler’s estate that he retreats to every year on/around his birthday and dominates most of the novel and I think is the better part. A week before Hitler’s 50th birthday in 1939 a man is shot and killed within the compound retreat. We get a look into the Nazi parties political struggle and how there is no shortage in supply of power hungry men that rule a small town. Also, we get a glimpse of the buildup before WWII was WWII and how methamphetamines played a role in the German community and how hatred and greed affected the leaders which was interesting. I liked 1939 story line and felt constantly interrupted by present day Gunther being on the run in year 1956.

It definitely wasn't my favorite read. I didn't get that feeling of not wanting to put it down, and whenever I had free time this book wasn't the first thing that came to mind to read.

I appreciate the opportunity to read an advanced reader copy of this book through First to Read Penguin Random House. From the website: From New York Times–bestselling author Philip Kerr, the much-anticipated return of Bernie Gunther, our compromised former Berlin bull and unwilling SS officer. With his cover blown, he is waiting for the next move in the cat-and-mouse game that, even a decade after Germany’s defeat, continues to shadow his life. Sounds great huh? For the record, I did not enjoy this book. It wasn't that it was poorly written or that there weren't twists and turns in the story. I didn't enjoy it for several more personal reasons. First, it takes place in Germany, prior to WWII - I'm not a huge fan of either the time period or the place. Second, it was FAR too long and drawn out. The story went back and forth between 1939 & 1956, and while that in itself wasn't distracting, the breaks in the continuity of the story were. I couldn't and didn't want to identify with any of the characters. I just plain didn't like it. While I did finish the book, I almost wish I had not. This book was just not for me. However, since this book is the twelfth in the series, I am guessing that there are those who do enjoy this author's work.

Firstly, I would like to thank Penguin First to Read for preapproving me to read and review Prussian Blue. I enjoyed the first few scenes in the book, but I would have to say that these were probably the best scenes in the book. As the story dragged on, I found that I was getting lost very often and by about halfway through the book I had no idea at all what was going on. I don't know; maybe it's because this is the first book I've read of Kerr's Gunther novels? Or maybe it was all the jumping around between time periods? I wanted to like this book, especially since the premise sounded so interesting. But it did fall a bit short of my expectations.

The jumping from one time and to another was difficult to follow. The author 's description of Germany both during and after the war needed a little more care and attention. If you like spy or thriller novels this is one you should choose

I received Prussian Blue by Phillip Kerr as a First to Read copy. I did not realize it was the 12th in a series. I picked it up and was instantly hooked. I found the reading interesting and descriptive, but not too long winded. It was entertaining to read if the witty and sarcastic Gunther stays alive and out of trouble....since it seems to find him. Overall, this was a great read.

This is the first book I've read by this author and in the Bernie Gunther series. I was worried at first that I wouldn't understand what was going on knowing that this was the 12th book in the series, but I was happy to find out that I didn't need to read the others to fully grasp the story. This book was a great mix of fact and fiction. I personally love reading about the Nazi era so this book was right up my alley. The only negative aspect was the length. I think it could have been trimmed down a bit because it definitely took me quite some time to get through, but overall it was a great, entertaining book! I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about WWII or likes mysteries.

When I was preapproved & offered this book I wasn't familiar with the author, nor this series. I did not read as the subject matter is very unappealing to me. Thank you for the opportunity to read an ARC.

I was not able to access the copy. When I finally got to where I needed to be I received a message that it had been delivered. I never did get to read the book.

Prussian Blue was a good mix of historical fact and fiction. It gives the reader a good feel for the general attitude of suspicion, and fear felt in pre and post war Germany. The main character Bernie Gunther is a good detective with a delightfully cynical and often humerous outlook . The prose tends to get a bit too wordy at times tediously so, but the story line is enhanced with the blending of events that occurred 17 years apart. A good read for fans of the Nazi era.

I am very glad to have received an advance copy of this book from Penguin's first to read program. I found it to be intriguing, humorous, mysterious, and utterly enjoyable from start to finish. The main character, Bernie Gunther, holds to his personal standards and values, and I liked the first person point of view and the insights into his thoughts and opinions. Although I agree with others that the book was a bit long, I thought the writing flowed well and the author did a good job of intermingling fiction with historical tidbits. This is the first book I have read by this author, but I will certainly look up the other adventures of Bernie Gunther now that I have been introduced to his character!

I really enjoys the tale of Bernie Gunther. The book Prussian Blue is a tad too long but thoroughly enjoyable. The story has two different time periods, one in 1939 and the other in 1956. The two eras merge together in the climatic ending. Germany and Hitler will forever be remembered. Highly recommend.

My Review of “Prussian Blue” by Philip Kerr I would like to thank First to Read, Marian Wood Books/Putnam and Penguin books for the ARC of “Prussian Blue” by Philip Kerr, for my honest review. The genres of this book are fiction and adventure. There is some mystery and a touch of history. The author uses two timelines, to tell us the story, 1939 and 1956. The author introduces us to Bernhard Gunther (Bernie) in 1956 when he is on his way to meet his estranged wife at a hotel, and instead meets with Erich Mielke, who becomes the head of the East German Stasti. Bernie Gunter is a detective with a special gift to solve crimes. Bernie is described as honest as one can be, resourceful, having a moral compass, and telling how he feels about something.(shooting from the hip, so to speak) In both timelines, this irritates his superiors. Bernie also has the terrible luck of finding superiors , with less ethical intent,who want to use him and his talents. Erich Miekle has deceived Bernie into meeting him and wants Bernie to kill a woman using thallium insuring her a torturous death. The only antidote is Prussian Blue, a pigment in paint. It seems that Bernie really has no choice if he wants to survive. Going back to 1939, Bernie is at Reinhard Heydrich’s beck and call to find out who shot and killed a man on Hitler’s terrace at Oberslzberg. Heydrich also wants Bernie, in a detective capacity, to also “spy” on Martin Bormann and other officials that work for Hitler. Again, Bernie really has no choice. The authors describe most of the characters in 1939, as complex, evil, and power-hungry. There are many suspects that fit the description of the killer, and many who would have wanted to kill this person. Martin Bormann wants this case revolved before Hitler’s birthday, which gives Bernie a week. In both timelines, Bernie finds himself in danger, and trying to use his wits to survive. There are times when we see Bernie feeling as “no one’s man”, and frustrated at the politics and situations. I enjoyed this intriguing and exciting book and would highly recommend it!! Author: lindasbookobsession

I was surprised how interesting and enjoyable this book was. The series is going on my to read list, and the length was the only complaint. The main character's personality was a plus. A great book to recommend.

This is the first Philip Kerr novel I've ever read, though it's inspired me to go back and read all the rest. The writing is absolutely wonderful! The prose, while often long-winded, is full of detail and the kind of imagery that takes your breath away. Kerr seems to be one of those authors that falls into the Hemingway tradition of writing very to the point and without preamble, though he is nowhere near as dry. Bernie Gunther is a true noir archetype: a sardonic, tough-talking, women-loving PI with a very concrete idea of honor and what should happen to those who lack it. He seems to hate nearly everyone, though he holds a special place for those who attempt to rule through viciousness and greed. Prussian Blue dips between events that occurred during Hitler's regime in the 1939 and newer happenings in 1956, though it soon becomes clear that time has done little to effect real, lasting change on those who mean to do harm to others. I was not prepared for the climax of this amazing novel, and I usually have no problem guessing what is about to happen. I'm looking forward to really exploring this series for the first time.

 


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