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Field Gray: A Bernie Gunther Novel by Philip…

Field Gray: A Bernie Gunther Novel (original 2010; edition 2012)

by Philip Kerr

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4263524,790 (3.87)28
Title:Field Gray: A Bernie Gunther Novel
Authors:Philip Kerr
Info:Penguin Books (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:2012 Read, Your library
Tags:2012 November, W W II, Spy thriller, To review

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Field Gray by Philip Kerr (2010)



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English (30)  Dutch (4)  Danish (1)  French (1)  All languages (36)
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
This is my second Philip Kerr book after his science fiction novel which I liked but not nearly as much as this. Field Grey is just a fine historical thriller. I kept thinking about Alan Furst who I consider the master of pre-war thrillers which are notable for their detail and accuracy. Field Grey brings the same eye for detail and historical accuracy except that it is built around the central and recurring character, Bernie Gunther in Kerr's series of 1930's-1940's thrillers set mostly in Germany.
This a complex and ambitious book with a large cast of characters in which Kerr shifts time frames back and forth with ease and coherence. It is a long narrative that never seems to lose the edge or bog down. We know that Bernie is on a mission as a reluctant participant courtesy of the CIA and the French but we don’t really get the full story until the very end.
I just really enjoyed this book, it is my first “Bernie Gunther” but will surely not be my last.
As I said earlier, if you like Alan Furst, you will probably enjoy “Field Grey”.
( )
  blnq | May 11, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Philip Kerr’s seventh Bernie Gunther adventure is a dark and gritty look at Europe before during and after World War II that should appeal to fans of Eric Ambler, John le Carré, and Dashiell Hammett. ‘Field Gray’ opens in 1954 as Gunther is fleeing Cuba only to be seized by the American Coast Guard and returned to Germany to answer allegations that he participated in war crimes during the war. Much of what follows are flashbacks as far back as 1931 in which Gunther describes to interrogators his relationship with Erich Mielke, a real-life German communist for East Germany until 1989, after which he was tried and convicted of the murders of the two policemen. In the book, Gunther is assigned to this case and is tasked with tracking down Mielke and bringing him to justice. While the story itself doesn’t follow the usual course of mysteries or spy novels I did enjoy Kerr’s portrayal of some of the incidents in related to the war that many have tried to sweep under the rug. Kerr’s description of French (yes, French) concentration and Russian slave labor camps were very convincing. One particularly poignant scene describes the return of a trainload of 1,000 German POWs returning from Russia nine years after the end of the war.

Bernie Gunther, for those like me who haven’t read Kerr’s other books, is a former Berlin policeman turned private investigator, turned do-what-it-take-to-survive-type-guy whose adventures bring him in contact with many of the leading characters of the era. He’s a quintessential noir hero; damaged, wise-cracking, appealing to women. While there is little original about his character, the settings make Kerr’s book an enjoyable read even though the plot left several questions with unsatisfactory answers.

As a series, my impression is that these books should be best read in order to enjoy them fully. There were occasional references to places he’d been and people he’d known that apparently occurred in previous volumes. Even so, I was still able to enjoy book seven without having read the previous six.

The review copy of this book was obtained from the publisher via the LibraryThing Early Reader Program. ( )
  Unkletom | Feb 24, 2013 |
This is also a history lesson
BERLIN cop Bernie Gunther is anti-nazi, so I share his horror when, after WW2, he is sentenced to death as a nazi war criminal. But being a victim is par for Gunther. In this and other novels he arouses the ire of Authority.
This time he's hounded by Russians, French, Yanks and even fellow Germans. I was surprised the Brits leave him alone, but maybe the author is saving a few research secrets for his next Gunther adventure. Philip Kerr has peerless skill in resurrecting real monsters to spice his fiction. Field Grey covers the horrendous half-century when Fascists and Communists battled to control the world. It is a history lesson, too, and a comment on the deceit and treachery that, too often, motivate governments.
This book switches back and forth between the 1930s and 1950s, which I sometimes found confusing. Yet Gunther, irrespective of decade or particular conflict, strives steadily for justice. And his familiar wisecracks keep on coming. The end twist is stunning and unguessable. ( )
  Cathymacleod | Jan 20, 2013 |
an interesting study of a man who was a police detective and worked with the SS during WWII. ( )
  barb302 | Apr 3, 2012 |
This book, first published in 2010 in Britain, was recommended to me by my brother. I did not realize it has as its protaganist a German detective who has been in many prior novels. The book jumps back and forth in time, from 1931 to 1954 and years in between. i would much have preferred a straight chronolgical account. The "I" is the protaganist, Bernie Gunther, who can only be deemed admirable when compared to other characters in the book. There really is no character one can admire. Many of the characters are historical, and when they are they live or die in accordance with history. I plan to read nothing more by Philip Kerr. If I were to read anything by Kerr I should read the first book in the series, not this one. ( )
  Schmerguls | Feb 27, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
The great strength of the novel is Kerr’s overpowering portrait of the war’s horrors. Its perhaps inevitable weakness is that we sometimes lose our way amid the avalanche of carnage, suffering and duplicity. The glue holding it all together is Bernie himself, our battered, defiant German Everyman...Bernie’s a-plague-on-all-your-houses mind-set leads to the novel’s truly shocking ending, one that left me with no idea what lies ahead for him, only the devout hope that his story will continue.
While some might quibble over occasional long sequences of dialogue that would be better served with tags, Kerr writes Gunther as he should be—world-weary, sardonic and as independent as an introspective man might be as he ricochets between murderous criminals, hell-bent Nazis or revenge-minded communists.
added by Shortride | editKirkus Reviews (Feb 15, 2011)
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I don't like Ike (Graham Greene, The Quiet American)
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'That Englishman with Ernestina,' she said, looking down at the luxuriously appointed public room. 'He reminds me of you, Senor Hausner.'
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Publishers Weekly: Bernie Gunther's past catches up with him in Kerr's outstanding seventh novel featuring the tough anti-Nazi Berlin PI who survived the Nazi regime (after If the Dead Rise Not). In 1954, Bernie is living quietly in Cuba, doing a little work for underworld boss Meyer Lansky, when he runs afoul of the U.S. Navy and lands in prison in Guantánamo. Later, at an army prison in New York City, FBI agents ask him about his service in World War II, in particular as a member of an SS police battalion on the Eastern Front. Another transfer sends him to Germany's Landsberg Prison, where Hitler was imprisoned in 1923. Officials from various governments question and torture him, but grimly amusing Bernie, who's smarter than any of his interrogators, successfully strings each one of them along. Vivid flashbacks chronicle Bernie's harrowing war experiences. Series aficionados and new readers alike will take comfort knowing that Kerr is hard at work on the next installment.
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It's 1954 and Bernie finds himself flown back to Berlin to work for the French or hang for murder. Bernie's job is simple: to meet and greet POWs returning from Germany and snag one Edgard de Boudel, a French war criminal and member of the French SS. But Bernie's past as a German POW in Russia is about to catch up with him -- in a way he could never have foreseen.… (more)

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