Field Gray by Philip Kerr

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Philip Kerr delivers a novel with the noir sensibility of Raymond Chandler, the realpolitik of vintage John le Carré, and the dark moral vision of Graham Greene.

"Bernie Gunther is the most antiheroic of antiheroes in this gripping, offbeat thriller. It's the story of his struggle to preserve what's left of his humanity, and his life, in a world where the moral bandwidth is narrow, satanic evil at one end, cynical expediency at the other."
-Philip Caputo, author of A Rumor of War

"A thriller that will challenge preconceptions and stimulate the little grey cells."
-The Times (London), selecting Field Gray as a Thriller of the Year

"Part of the allure of these novels is that Bernie is such an interesting creation, a Chandleresque knight errant caught in insane historical surroundings. Bernie walks down streets so mean that nobody can stay alive and remain truly clean."
-John Powers, Fresh Air (NPR)

Bernie on Bernie: I didn't like Bernhard Gunther very much. He was cynical and world-weary and hardly had a good word to say about anyone, least of all himself. He'd had a pretty tough war . . . and done quite a few things of which he wasn't proud. . . . It had been no picnic for him since then either; it didn't seem to matter where he spread life's tartan rug, there was always a turd on the grass.

Striding across Europe through the killing fields of three decades-from riot-torn Berlin in 1931 to Adenauer's Germany in 1954, awash in duplicitous "allies" busily undermining one another-Field Gray reveals a world based on expediency, where the ends justify the means and no one can be trusted. It brings us a hero who is sardonic, tough- talking, and cynical, but who does have a rough sense of humor and a rougher sense of right and wrong. He's Bernie Gunther. He drinks too much and smokes excessively and is somewhat overweight (but a Russian prisoner-of-war camp will take care of those bad habits). He's Bernie Gunther-a brave man, because when there is nothing left to lose, honor rules.

About Philip Kerr

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Philip Kerr is the author of many novels, but perhaps most important are the five featuring Bernie Gunther—A Quiet Flame, The One from the Other, and the Berlin Noir trilogy (March Violets, The Pale Criminal, and A German Requiem). He lives in London and Cornwall, England, with his family.
Published April 14, 2011 by Penguin Books. 481 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Field Gray

Kirkus Reviews

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When fans meet Bernie Gunther in this latest saga in the adventurous life of the hard-bitten, sardonic policeman, Kerr's (If the Dead Rise Not, 2010, etc.) stalwart Berliner detective is in pre-Castro Cuba.

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Publishers Weekly

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Bernie Gunther's past catches up with him in Kerr's outstanding seventh novel featuring the tough anti-Nazi Berlin PI who survived the Nazi regime (after If the Dead Rise Not).

Feb 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Field Gray

BC Books

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Field Gray by Philip Kerr is a novel tak­ing place alter­na­tively between the 1931 and mid 1954, mostly in Berlin.

Apr 09 2011 | Read Full Review of Field Gray

The Washington Times

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Because Mielke and Gunther saved each other’s lives at critical moments, the intelligence operatives are justifiably convinced that Gunther can help locate him.

Jun 03 2011 | Read Full Review of Field Gray

Los Angeles Times

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Colorful Bernie Gunther is captured by the U.S. Navy but soon finds himself on the trail of a person he's hunted for 20 years.

May 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Field Gray

Reviewing the Evidence

When I finished reading IF THE DEAD RISE NOT, the book that precedes this in the Bernie Gunther saga, I remember thinking that it was hard to imagine how Kerr could improve on this representation of the life and times of his noir hero.

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Somehow in Erich Mielke - a character not unlike the young Jrg - he finds more to admire than in either of the regimes seeking to bring Mielke to justice.

Nov 10 2010 | Read Full Review of Field Gray

Bookmarks Magazine

Marilyn Stasio Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 4 of 5 Stars "Unlike the previous six novels, Field Gray is not about mundane crimes that Bernie investigates, but about monstrous crimes committed by the state and how and why even decent individuals, including Bernie, are forced to collude in them.

Jan 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Field Gray

Fred Beauford

Cross the tough black and white noir imagery of Dashiel Hammett with the moral ambiguity of John Le Carre’s gray world of duplicity and you may get an idea of the corrupt delusional and desolate landscape that is the beat of Bernie Günter—ex-Berlin police detective, ex-PI, ex-SS security offi...

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