Generally speaking, I'm not a big fan of noir fiction or hard-boiled detectives but the synopsis of this book reeled me right in. And, for the most part, I'm glad it did. The period atmosphere is perfect. Almost too perfect, because let's face it Nazi Germany was a very depressing place to be if you have any moral scruples at all. The narrative style is marvelous. Bernie is a tough-guy private eye that I love despite not loving tough-guy private eyes. The twists and turns of the plot are convincing and they pull you in and keep you there. So, what you may ask is the part that makes you not so glad? Two things. One: I am well aware that the hard-boiled school tends to live on ridiculous metaphors. But, seriously, Bernie has more metaphors than a coon hound has fleas. (See? It's rubbed off!) And some of them are down-right horrible. Here are just two examples: "Her breasts were like the rear ends of a couple of dray horses at the end of a long hard day." and "She gave me a smile that was as thin and dubious as the rubber on a secondhand condom." Two: The penultimate scenes were a bit brutal. Heck, they were a lot brutal. That put me off a bit. Of course, I also realize that situations in Nazi Germany were a great deal more brutal than that. But it did take me by surprise.
I would like to continue reading this series. There are loose ends left at the "wrap-up" of this one that I'm curious to see how Kerr ties them up. I think I'll have to wait a bit for another dose of the mean streets of Germany, though. Three and a half stars.