It turns out that, after some speculation, Philip Kerr’s 14th Bernie Gunther novel will, in fact, be a prequel story.
Kerr, who passed away back in March after battling bladder cancer, was able to finish his next manuscript before his death. He was just 62 years old. The fact that his final novel will provide a true origin story for Gunther may soften the blow for Kerr’s biggest fans, though the genre and readers around the world no doubt feel the devastating loss of the talented Scottish-born author.
For Metropolis, Kerr takes readers even further back in time to explore Bernie Gunther’s first weeks on Berlin’s Murder Squad. Read the full plot synopsis below.
New York Times-bestselling author Philip Kerr treats readers to his beloved hero’s origins, exploring Bernie Gunther’s first weeks on Berlin’s Murder Squad.
A portrait of Bernie Gunther in his twenties: He’s young, but he’s seen four bloody years of trench warfare. And he’s not stupid. So when he receives a promotion and a ticket out of Vice squad, he knows he’s not really leaving behind the criminal gangs, the perverse sex clubs, and the laundry list of human corruption. It’s 1928 and Berlin is a city on the edge of chaos, where nothing is truly verboten. But soon a new wave of shockingly violent murders sweeps up society’s most vulnerable, prostitutes and wounded ex-soldiers begging on the streets.
As Bernie Gunther sets out to make sense of multiple murders with different MOs in a city that knows no limits, he must face the fact that his own police HQ is not immune. The Nazi party has begun to infiltrate the Alex, Berlin’s central office, just as the shakey Weimar government makes a last, desperate attempt to control a nation edging toward to the Third Reich.
It seems like the only escape for most Berliners is the theater and Bernie’s no exception. As he gets deeper into the city’s sordid underground network, he seeks comfort with a make-up artist who is every bit a match for his quick wit and increasingly sardonic view of the world. But even this space can’t remain untouched, not with this pervasive feeling that everything is for sale in Berlin if you’re man enough to kill for it.
New York Times bestselling author Philip Kerr was best known for his acclaimed Bernie Gunther novels, three of which — Field Gray, The Lady from Zagreb, and Prussian Blue — were finalists for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. Kerr has also won several Shamus Awards and the British Crime Writers’ Association Ellis Peters Award for Historical Crime Fiction. Writing as P. B. Kerr, he is also the author of the much-loved young adult fantasy series Children of the Lamp.
With a massive fan base that includes major celebrities like Jack Nicholson, Woody Harrelson, Tom Hanks, Salman Rushdie, Lady Antonia Fraser, George Pelecanos, and John Green, Kerr is widely regarded as one of the finest authors of his generation.
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.