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Pierre Frei

325 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0802118321 / ISBN 13: 9780802118325
Published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2003
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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About this Item

Author's first novel. "An evocative portrait of Berlin and Germany before and during the War." Translated by Anthea Bell. Bookseller Inventory # 004591

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Berlin

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, New York

Publication Date: 2003

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First American Edition

About this title


Set in a devastated Berlin one month after the close of the Second World War, Berlin has been highly acclaimed. 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 an electrifying thriller in the tradition of Joseph Kanon and Alan Furst, in which the voices and stories of the victims themselves provide an intimate portrait of Germany before, during, and after the war.

From School Library Journal:

Adult/High School—A satisfying cross-genre novel that has elements of historical fiction, suspense, and a tinge of romance. A sexual sadist is roaming the streets of Berlin during the post-World War II occupation, killing blond-haired, blue-eyed young women by torturing them. After each victim is found, Frei tells the story of her life before and during the war. The victims had a wide variety of experiences during the conflict and primarily represent Germans not involved in the Nazi party. The structure of the novel allows readers an interlude before returning to the investigation and murders. This is not a book for the fainthearted, and it is more appropriate for public libraries than for schools. However, teens will enjoy the novel, particularly those searching for earthy details of both war and violent crime. While not graphic, the sexual encounters are described in strong language. The pacing is good, and once involved in the story it is difficult to put it down. There are plenty of twists and turns, and a surprise assailant. The historical elements are compelling, particularly the division of Berlin and the relationships among the occupiers and the Germans. The weakest portion of the novel is the investigation itself, which relies on coincidence and luck for the eventual solution.—Mary Ann Harlan, Arcata High School, CA
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