Breslau, 1919: the hideously battered, naked bodies of four sailors are discovered on an island in the River Oder. As he pieces together the elements of this brutal crime, Criminal Assistant Mock combs the brothels and drinking dens of Breslau and is drawn into an insidious game: it seems that anyone he questions during the course of the investigation is destined to become the next victim. At the same time, he is haunted by appalling nightmares; only nights spent drinking and carousing can keep his demons at bay.
Dark, sophisticated and uncompromising, the distinctive Breslau series has already received broad critical acclaim. Phantoms of Breslau confirms Eberhard Mock as the most outrageous and original detective in crime fiction.
Set in 1919, Krajewski's second Eberhard Mock mystery (after 2013's The End of the World in Breslau) finds Mock, who's assigned to the Breslau Police Praesidium's vice department, transferred to the Murder Commission to assist with a strange case. Some schoolboys on an island discover the corpses of four men, naked except for sailor's hats and leather pouches over their genitals, with their eyes gouged out and limbs broken. The suspicion that the victims may be gay leads Mock's superiors to believe that his experience with the Breslau sexual underworld might be of use. The autopsies reveal that their killer probably broke their arms and legs by jumping up and down on them. A note threatening more "gouged eyes" if Mock does not admit a past mistake raises the stakes. Krajewski does his usual solid job of establishing mood while setting the stage appropriately for a grim and disturbing resolution.