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Set in a devastated Berlin one month after the close of the Second World War, Berlin has been acclaimed as "ambitious . . . filled with brilliantly drawn characters, mesmerizingly readable and disturbingly convincing" by The Sunday Telegraph (London). An electrifying thriller in the tradition of Joseph Kanon and Alan Furst, Berlin is a page-turner and an intimate portrait of Germany before, during, and after the war.

Occupied Berlin, American sector, 1945: Ben, a German boy retrieving cigarette butts to repackage and sell on the black market, discovers the body of a beautiful young woman in a subway station. Blonde and blue-eyed, she has been sexually assaulted and strangled with a chain. In the scramble to identify the body, the victim is mistaken for an American and a local investigation becomes a matter for the U.S. Military Police. Captain John Ashburner and Inspector Klaus Dietrich realize quickly that to solve this apparently motiveless murder they will have to work together. When the bodies of other young women are discovered it becomes clear that this is no isolated act of violence.

Pierre Frei has searched the wreckage of Berlin and emerged with a gripping whodunit in which the stories of the victims themselves provide a powerful commentary. There is a powerful pulse buried deep in the rubble.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802118325
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 10/28/2006
Pages: 425
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

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Berlin 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
William_BN More than 1 year ago
I love a good storyteller. The plot in this book is utterly insignificant to the story itself. You will meet five women who are smart, sexy, witty and inventive survivors while at the same time giving you a feel for what it was like to be a German living in Berlin during the period from about 1933 to 1945. I wish I could have met five more. You will also follow a young conniving teen obsessed with two objects of his desire. This is a book for that long cross country plan ride, that rainy or snowed in weekend. Relax settle back and enjoy. This is not a heavy, mysterious or cumbersome read. This is escapism. Lose yourself in this book and you will thoroughly enjoy the time spent.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found the book to be totally captivating. It is not just a who donit, but a story of the women who were murdered. It gave character and humanity to them they were not just victims. I enjoyed it thoroughly and have recommeded the book to many of my patrons.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Need to get more of his work translated.
FicusFan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this book for a RL fiction book group. I enjoyed it very much. It was a quick read, because the story made me keep turning the pages.The story was about a serial killer who was killing blonde, blue-eyed German girls. It was set in Berlin, after the war was over. The killings took place in the American sector, and were near the place where the Americans had set up their fenced-in official enclave. The victims worked for the occupation forces and were killed just outside the fence. What was left of the German police in that area was in charge of investigating, with some-time American help, hindrance and observation. The story was structured a bit oddly. There was the present day with the killings that ran throughout the book, but set into it was the story of each victim as she was found. It told who she was and how she ended up dead. It went back to see their lives before and during the war, as well as how they ended up working for the Americans. Many of the minor people in the backstories were connected to each other, so you learned about their lives too as you saw them in the background of the various victims' lives.Although this is a mystery, it isn't really a thriller type. It was more a look at the lives that were destroyed by the war, and how small actions had large ripples. In many cases the killer just finished the job that the war had started of killing these people. Overall it was very sad, because their lives had started to look better, and then they were dead.The writer did a good job with the setting, and developing the characters. He also showed how tough it was during and after the war for the average German. There were good and bad Germans and Americans. It didn't white-wash the atrocities, but it also showed the liberators as people who were wrapped up in themselves and didn't always care about the suffering of the conquered Germans. From the Americans there was only a small amount of maliciousness, mostly they were too clueless and selfish to care about how they were impacting others. Of course the Russians came across as animals, so they aren't really part of the equation, and were only in the story briefly.The book presented antisemitism as being on both sides, and that there were also those who were against it on both sides. One of the women was connected with a camp, and so the author showed small glimpses of what was done. Another of the women was a nurse and was in a hospital for the 'defective' and it showed that others were also subject to the final solution.The story focused on the individuals and their problems and how they tried with decency and dignity to do what was right, but that they always had to balance that with the need to survive and to keep friends and family alive too.The book was very earthy so there is a lot of blunt talk about sex, and rape. Not sure if I approve or not. I am not a prude but the killer was sexually assaulting the victims first, and to talk abut it each time, to me bordered a bit on the gratuitous side.This book was written in another language and translated, so there are some problems, but that isn't the author or the book's fault.Some words are not translated, or into something the translator knows but the rest of us may not (Zander - Some kind of Fish ?). British English is used in several places so that might be the problem with the unexplained terms. Some sentences make no sense at all, and there are a lot of German names and place-names. The US publisher was too cheap to get an American to clean it up, which is too bad because there are readers who will hold it against the book.The other issue is the pacing, which may be the author's fault (unless the translator just removed the connecting passages). There would be a conversation between some characters, and then the next line was a jump somewhere else with different people. There needed to be something to set up the change and put some distance between scenes. But once you knew that was an issue, it was ea
Adolphogordo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A murderer attacks in post-war Berlin. Together the new German police and the American occupation troops look for him. It's very interesting how the author explores the lives of the victims in Nazi Germany.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It has been awhile since I have read this book, maybe 7 years, but it's a book I still think about. The story caught me from the beginning and never let go. I enjoy historical fiction, especially WWll stories but this gave such a unique encounter. Each story was intriguing in its own right. I recommend if you enjoy a good murder mystery that holds your attention till the bitter end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cynrunner More than 1 year ago
The author is indeed talented creating his characters. Loved learning about each one but then they each would get brutally killed for no rhyme or reason. The same theme followed throughout the whole entire book. Too bad he did not take just one or two of the characters and create a "whole" story about their lives. Would have loved to read a coherent story about these people's lives back then because this writer is really a good writer! I was disappointed and would not recommend this book to anyone. Sorry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent mystery by a fine writer LLL
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent. Grabs your attention right from the start and doesn't let you go. The description of post war Berlin mixed with investigators'search for a serial killer makes this definitely worth reading.