Set in Berlin just after the end of World War II, a brilliant thriller about the end of one war and the beginning of another, by the bestselling author of Los Alamos.
Berlin, 1945. Jake Geismar, former Berlin correspondent for CBS, has managed to wangle one of the coveted press slots for the Potsdam Conference. His assignment: a series of articles on the American occupation of postwar Berlin. His personal agenda: to find Lena, the German mistress he left behind at the outbreak of the war. When he stumbles on a murder--an American soldier washed up on the shore of the conference grounds--he thinks he has found the key that will unlock his Berlin story. What he finds instead is a larger story of corruption and intrigue reaching deep into the heart of the occupation and a city not only physically but morally devastatated, where children scavenge for food in the rubble, sex can be had for a cigarette, and the black market is the only means of survival.
Berlin at zero hour is like nowhere else--a tragedy, and a feverish party after the end of the world. And nothing is simple--not the murder of a soldier and not any of the lives, American and German, that Jake encounters as he tries to solve it. More unsolvable still is the larger crime that hangs over everything in 1945, a crime so huge it seems beyond punishment.
At once a murder mystery, a love story, and a riveting portrait of a unique time and place, Jason Kanon's The Good German is a historical thriller of the first rank.
Again taking one of the 20th century's most momentous periods as a backdrop, Kanon recreates Berlin in the months following WWII in this lavishly atmospheric thriller overburdened with political and romantic intrigue. Though driven by strong characters and rich historical detail, the book ultimately falters under the weight of a ponderous, edgeless plot. At the center of the drama is Jake Geismar, a journalist who arrives in Berlin ostensibly to cover the Potsdam Conference. In reality, he's consumed with finding his prewar lover, Lena, with whom he carried on a torrid affair unbeknownst to her husband. Before he finds her, however, Geismar becomes intrigued by the murder of an American soldier whose body washes ashore near the conference grounds. The military's reluctance to investigate or provide any details of the murder convinces Geismar that this could be his big story. Though he's warned not to meddle, Geismar can't resist the story's draw. His investigation leads him deeply into Berlin's agonizing struggle for survival its black market, its collective guilt and its citizens' feeble attempts to wash themselves clean of wartime atrocities. And, most importantly, Geismar learns of the Allies' frantic attempts to round up Nazi scientists, including Lena's husband, Emil, whose expertise with missiles made Germany such a fierce enemy. Kanon (Los Alamos; The Prodigal Spy) is at his strongest when giving voice to the hard choices and moral dilemmas of the times, yet he labors at bringing his plot to a close and blurs its core in the process. While his descriptive skills have never been sharper the writing is uniformly elegant Kanon's third thriller since leaving his job as a publising executive digs in when it should be attacking. BOMC featured selection; $150,000 marketing campaign; movie rights optioned by Warner Bros.; 12-city author tour.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Extraordinary insight into post war Berliners
When I think about the WWII, I think about the battles etc and the grand scheme of history. But this book makes you think about the people who lived that war, who barely survived and how they survived. Ordinary people, not monsters out to run the world, just trying to live ordinary lives in an unthinkable, unbearable environment. What would I have done in their place? What would you?
The good German
This book is a hidden gem.The plot is plausible like it could really have happened.
The good German