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

by Philip Kerr

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4954020,650 (3.85)30
Member:kellyn
Title:Field Gray: A Bernie Gunther Novel
Authors:Philip Kerr
Info:Penguin Books (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:2012 Read
Rating:****
Tags:2012, W W II, Historical fiction, Detective fiction

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Field Gray by Philip Kerr (2010)

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English (34)  Dutch (4)  Danish (1)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (41)
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
This, the seventh in the Bernie Gunther series, provides a lot of back fill covering the war years and its immediate aftermath. If the underlying feel of "Berlin Noir" remains present, it is pushed to the background by some of the gruesome war stories. Nonetheless Gunther remains a man conflicted between his love for country and his disgust at what the National Socialists are doing to it, without ever being tempted to play the hero. A superior thriller. 6 Feb 2016. ( )
  alanca | Feb 13, 2016 |
I read the Berlin Noir trilogy a few years ago, which contains the first 3 Bernie Gunther novels. I haven't read 4, 5, or 6, so I'm not sure what I missed. However, 'Field Gray' concentrates heavily on backstory.

The reader doesn't realize this at first, which I'm not sure was the best strategy. There's a great setup - Gunther ditching Havana (circa 1950s) on a cigarette boat with a sexy dame who just might be a wanted criminal... but all that is soon all-but-dropped, and we've flashed back to the 1930's.

The real focus of the book (we learn, as Gunther is interrogated, and thinks back to his past), is the relationship between Gunther and a man named Erich Mielke (an actual historical figure).

The facts (well, the fictional facts), on the face of it, seem unambiguously incriminating: Bernie Gunther was a member of the SS who repeatedly helped a man who was highly placed in the echelons of power, a murderer and a war criminal. But, as the reader learns, what actually happened was more nuanced, and much more complex.

Bernie Gunther is in some ways the quintessential noir investigator - hardboiled, tough and moody. It's still a bold move to have a Nazi (even a reluctant Nazi) as your hero; the Kerr pulls it off. I'd be happy to read the others in this series - I supposedly won the latest ('Man Without Breath') here on goodreads; but it hasn't arrived yet. Here's hoping it's on the way! ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
The seventh story featuring Bernie Gunter sees the action moving from Cuba to the United States, Germany, Russia and France as well as jumping in time from 1854 back to the 1940s as Bernie attempts to avoid being tried as a war criminal. Under interrogation from the French Secret Service and the CIA he has to relive his wartime experiences fighting for Germany and satisfy the competing demands of the post-war intelligence services and also retain his own honour and loyalty to friendships from his past.
The plot is even more labyrinthine than some of the earlier novels. But the story is just as compelling and Kerr evocatively captures the mood and atmosphere of the times that he writes about.
  camharlow2 | Nov 10, 2015 |
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 | Jun 24, 2015 |
Gunther has settled in Cuba but is pressured into helping female revolutionary flee to Cuba. Captured by Americans, he is pressure to tell all he know about current head of Stassi, with whom he has crossed paths many times since before the war. We learn of his time in Russian POW camp and other adventures during and since the war. His tales show a dim view of France and England, and worse of Russia.
  ritaer | Jun 23, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (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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Epigraph
I don't like Ike (Graham Greene, The Quiet American)
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For Allan Scott
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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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Book description
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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