Set in Berlin just after WWI, a Socialist revolution is sweeping across the whole of Germany. For Detective Inspector Nikolai Hoffner and his assistant Hans Fichte their attention is being taken up by the murders of six women from the slums that have identical markings carved into their backs.
When one of these women turns out to be the socialist revolutionary, Rosa Luxemburg, the Polpo (political police) start to take an interest. Will their involvement help or hinder Hoffner and Fichte in their investigations? Neither man can envisage the road that lays ahead for them as this case takes a troubling and personal turn.
The author has done his research very well and thus presents us with a Berlin which is rich in atmosphere but is only portrayed in the bleakest of terms. At no point was I able to see any hope for the future within the book which made it a rather depressing read. However, Mr. Rabb has tried to portray a post war Berlin which has become a political battleground and he does this very well.
I can’t say that I really liked any of the characters. They were interesting and well developed but I did not seem able to find any kind of connection with them and this always gives me a problem in a novel.
The plot was interesting and detailed and did keep me guessing but still there was something lacking for me. Perhaps because the whole book is so bogged down in misery reading it became hard work and I was not finding myself rushing to get back to it. It lacked any hint of optimism throughout and consequently, I found that this essentially well thought out and soundly written book was something of a slog to get through.
I do not think there is anything wrong with this book per se and I think many people will enjoy this dark tale of politics and murder. It simply was not my cup of tea.
This is the first book in the Berlin Trilogy but I will be calling it a day with this one. Please let me know your thoughts on this book if you have read it. I would be really interested to hear what you thought of it.
ISBN: 978 1905559046
Publisher: Halban Publishers
Price (today at Amazon.co.uk): £9.99
About the author:
Jonathan Rabb is the author of five novels: The Second Son, Shadow and Light, Rosa, The Overseer, and The Book of Q. He lives in Savannah, Georgia, with his wife and twin children.