My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Independent described this book “as noir as they get”. I also love some of the other reviews. They give you a sense of the muscle in the book:
“A dark and compelling novel, full of perverse sex and violence as the world begins to spin off its axis.”
-The Mail on Sunday
“The city of Breslau is as much a character in this thriller as the parade of gothic loons that inhabit it...This addictive soup has an air of burlesque about it.”
-The Daily Telegraph
“Krajewski relishes the period detail as takes us from bloody interrogation cells to Madam LeGoef’s sweaty bordello...What’s haunting about Krajewski’s book, however, is the worst was yet to come.”
-Independent on Sunday
There’s something about a corrupt police department still trying to uphold the law and do what’s right. They need devious means to cut through the criminality of others. It’s a power struggle between bad, evil and ultimate evil.
Set mostly in interwar Germany, bordering on Poland, in a city which would become Polish again after WWII, the Machiavellian protagonist, Eberhard Monk, tries to solve the chilling murders of a young girl, her nanny and a railway worker.
What I love about the book is that Mock, for all his dastardly methods, is still the good guy. After all, the ends do justify the means when you’re dealing with the Nazis. Ironically, he still longs to be a “[m]an pure, by crime untouched.”
Breslau is the perfect setting, with its own layers of multiple identities.
There are many dead cluttering the stage by the end of the book. Indeed, for all the blood and gore, it feels as if there are only two people surviving by the conclusion.
The writer sets out clever clues for the reader. We get to understand what is going on just before the characters do. Just, just.
I would have liked the translation to have been a little less melodramatic. It may be echoing the original book, but I haven’t seen the Polish edition.
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