Babylon Berlin

Babylon Berlin

Paperback - 2018
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" Cabaret on cocaine...captures the dark glamour of a briefly exhilarating time between the wars." -- NPR

"Volker Kutscher, who wrote the novels on which the series is based, has a similar disregard for the sanctity of his characters' lives as Thrones' George R. R. Martin." -- The Spectator (UK)

Babylon Berlin is the first book in the international-bestselling series from Volker Kutscher that centers on Detective Gereon Rath caught up in a web of drugs, sex, political intrigue, and murder in Berlin as Germany teeters on the edge of Nazism.

It's 1929 and Berlin is the vibrating metropolis of post-war Germany--full of bars and brothels and dissatisfied workers at the point of revolt. Gereon Rath is new in town and new to the police department.

When a dead man without an identity, bearing traces of atrocious torture, is discovered, Rath sees a chance to find his way back into the homicide division. He discovers a connection with a circle of oppositional exiled Russians who try to purchase arms with smuggled gold in order to prepare a coup d'état. But there are other people trying to get hold of the gold and the guns, too. Raths finds himself up against paramilitaries and organized criminals. He falls in love with Charlotte, a typist in the homicide squad, and misuses her insider's knowledge for his personal investigations. And as he gets further entangled with the case, he never imagined becoming a suspect himself.

"The first in a series that's been wildly popular in Germany is an excellent police procedural that cleverly captures the dark and dangerous period of the Weimer Republic before it slides into the ultimate evil of Nazism."-- Kirkus Reviews

"Conjures up the dangerous decadence of the Weimar years, with blood on the Berlin streets and the Nazis lurking menacingly in the wings."-- The Sunday Times (London)

"James Ellroy fans will welcome Kutscher's first novel and series launch, a fast-paced blend of murder and corruption sent in 1929 Berlin."-- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Publisher: New York : Picador, 2018.
Edition: First Picador paperback edition.
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781250187048
Branch Call Number: FIC Kutsc
Characteristics: 423 pages
Additional Contributors: Sellar, Niall 1984-


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May 29, 2018

While the book is good, the tv series is spectacular! The book is much less layered, less complex, and has fewer plot points, if I may be rather redundant.

Feb 18, 2018

1929: There is seething unrest in Berlin. The Commissioner of Police orders the Vice Squad to ruthlessly enforce the ban on demonstrations, and a state of emergency is declared in the Communist strongholds of the city. When a car is hauled out of the Landwehr Canal with a mutilated corpse inside, Detective Gereon Rath claims the case. Soon his inquiries drag him ever deeper into the morass of Weimar Berlin's 'Roaring Twenties' underworld of cocaine, prostitution, gunrunning, and shady politics. (The description/synopsis is slightly edited from the paperback edition and presumably provided by the publisher. This is the first English translation published in Great Britain by Sandstone Press in 2016. which originally was published in German in 2007.)

I decided to read this book after seeing an interesting review on the NPR website of the new Netflix series that is based on this book. I wanted to read the book before I watched the series.

The Volker Kutscher Gereon Rath series obviously will be compared to the Philip Kerr Bernie Gunther series, the primary difference being Kutscher is German and Kerr is British. At this point, the first Gereon Rath book in this series, Gereon Rath is not the disenchanted, anti-establishment, anti-hero that Bernie Gunther is, although I have a feeling that will change. Another comparison is that this book evokes the same Weimar time period that the early books in the Bernie Gunther series did – the chaos following World War I, the battles, physical, politically, and economically, among the Social Democrats, the Communists, and the National Socialists and the social upheaval.

From my research, Kutscher has written four subsequent books in this series, only two of which apparently have been translated into English. I intend to read those two, and I hope that the other two books will be soon translated.

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