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Publisher's Summary

Berlin, March, 1943. A month has passed since the stunning defeat at Stalingrad. Though Hitler insists Germany is winning the war, commanders on the ground know better. Morale is low, discipline at risk. Now word has reached Berlin of a Red massacre of Polish officers in the Katyn Forest near Smolensk. If true, the message it would send to the troops is clear: Fight on or risk certain death. For once, both the Wehrmacht and Propaganda Minister Goebbels want the same thing: Irrefutable evidence of this Russian atrocity. To the Wehrmacht, such proof will soften the reality of its own war crimes in the eyes of the victors. For Goebbels, such proof could turn the tide of war by destroying the Alliance, cutting Russia off from its western supply lines.
Both parties agree that the ensuing investigation must be overseen by a professional trained in sifting evidence and interrogating witnesses. Anything that smells of incompetence or tampering will defeat their purposes. And so Bernie Gunther is dispatched to Smolensk, where truth is as much a victim of war as those poor dead Polish officers.
Smolensk, March, 1943. Army Group Center is an enclave of Prussian aristocrats who have owned the Wehrmacht almost as long as they’ve owned their baronial estates, an officer class whose families have been intermarrying for generations. The wisecracking, rough-edged Gunther is not a good fit. He is, after all, a Berlin bull. But he has a far bigger concern than sharp elbows and supercilious stares, for somewhere in this mix is a cunning and savage killer who has left a trail of bloody victims.
This is no psycho case. This is a man with motive enough to kill and skills enough to leave no trace of himself. Bad luck that in this war zone, such skills are two-a-penny. Somehow Bernie must put a face to this killer before he puts an end to Bernie.
©2013 Philip Kerr (P)2013 Recorded Books
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Charles on 05-24-13

Disappointing narration

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Fine story -- as always -- by Philip Kerr. But the narration was weak. Little definition in the sound of various characters, leaving it often confusing about who was speaking in the story.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Couldn't tell one character from another. All the voices sounded the same.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

By Gestur on 08-12-14

For the love of god change the narrator!

Would you listen to A Man Without Breath again? Why?

No, sorry to say.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?


Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Paul Hecht?

Jeff Harding or John Lee would be the ideal candidates.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

As in previous books Philip Kerr takes you for a ride and thorugh the book there were many small and large moments evolving around Bernie Gunther.

Any additional comments?


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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Derrick on 05-01-13

Bernie's out of breath

I loved the early Bernie Gunther audiobooks. They bristled with noir-ish grittiness, atmosphere and style; essentially Sam Spade against a '30s Berlin background, with more wit, scarier gangsters and a lot more sex and violence. They were read wonderfully too by Jeff Harding; he WAS Bernie and you rooted for him.

Sadly, the series has gone on too long. This story is set in 1943 and uses the backdrop of the Katyn investigations by the Germans. Bernie's anti-Nazi sentiments now sound a little tedious and hackneyed, whilst some of the important plot twists are just silly. There are moments where the old vigour shows through, but not many. It feels like a book written to wring just a bit more out of a lucrative franchise.

Also, Paul Hecht does not capture the sardonic, wise-cracking Gunther in anything like the way Jeff Harding did.

Not a bad thriller, but a shallow imitation of the earlier works.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

By Richard on 04-23-13

Good story ruined by poor narration

I had not thought it possible to find a worse narrator than Christian Rodska but Paul Hecht beats him by a country mile.

I have read all of Philip Kerr's books and this is the first one I have listened to. The narration is very bland and dull and to my ears wholly inappropriate. A real pity as the story is good. A real disservice to the author.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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