This third volume in the Gereon Rath series seemed more focused than its predecessors, with a couple of plot lines easy to follow as they begin to converge.
In Weimar Berlin, a street urchin burgling a department store watches in horror when her young accomplice dies at police hands. But why were they caught in the first place?
Rath is assigned to track an American hit man visiting Germany on a tourist visa - to let him feel the police breath on his neck, deterring him from whatever he’s planning.
So what is Abraham Goldstein up to? That he’s Jewish is important: if Nazis, rising towards power but not yet there, get wind of it they’ll make more propaganda against the Jews.
In the background, a gang war looms, as crime rivals vie for control of Berlin’s underworld. One is tied to the crime boss Dr. Marlow, with his back channel that puts Rath just a little into Marlow’s power. The other is led by someone just out of prison and eager to reassert himself.
And police start popping up. Are they just crooked cops in league with criminals, or is there something else going on? And has Goldstein been hired by one side to whack their rivals?
Nazi power is more apparent now in 1931 than it was during the first story in 1929, and they’re suspects in any mayhem. Rath must glean who may be sympathetic to them, and what other corruption lurks among the police.
Rath is back on with Charly, but the strains in their relationship remain, particularly as she plots a career independent of him and may leave town for months. The work secrets each keeps strain their relationship as well.
There’s a new creature in their lives, the abandoned dog Kyrie that Rath adopted at the end of the last episode. What a modern couple: unmarried, living together sort of, their careers conflicting with their love, with no kids but cooperating to raise an animal.
Goldstein is a fascinating character; there’s both more and less to his presence than meets the eye. And when Nazis mess with him, they messed with the wrong Jew. It isn’t dealt with here, but Jewish gangsters were a counterweight to Nazis trying to organize in the U.S. in big cities. Sieg heil? Say hello to my little friend.
- Pocket Book: 726 pages
- Publisher: Contemporary French Fiction (1 January 2014)
- Language: French
- ISBN-10: 2757838598
- ISBN-13: 978-2757838594
- Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 3.5 x 17.7 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 358 g
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