A serial killer stalks the streets of post-World War II Berlin in this international bestselling thriller.
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 US Military Police. Cpt. 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.
“The historical elements are compelling. . . . [O]nce involved in the story it is difficult to put it down.” —School Library Journal
A serial killer stalks the war-torn streets of post-WWII Berlin, preying on beautiful, blonde women, in Frei's disappointing debut thriller a bestseller in Germany. Each of the victims is shown being viciously murdered, then a long flashback tells the victim's story up to her death. Because the reader already knows how and when the young woman's life will end, there's no surprise or suspense when that end arrives. Likable German police Insp. Klaus Dietrich must work with John Ashburner, a U.S. military police captain, to find the murderer. The serial killer's character is never explored in any depth (he's driven insane because a woman laughs at the size of his penis), and his actions are so simple-mindedly brutal that a certain feeling of disgust begins to creep over the reader long before the killer's identity is finally revealed.