This was my first introduction to Philip Kerr’s noir detective series featuring German Bernie Gunther, a jaded ex-policeman trying to forge some justice within Nazi Germany during the war. As there a nine books in the series, I think it might have helped my understanding a tad if I had read a few prior to this.
A Man Without Breath focuses on the massacre of 4,000 Polish soldiers at Katyn Forest in war-torn Smolensk in 1943 as the Russians are continuing their advance towards Germany.
While I really loved the character of Bernie, and his sarcasm and cynicism really appealed to me, I was not able to read this story in large chunks and that, tied in with the seemingly hundreds of sub-plots and minor characters, kept me confused and scratching my head the whole time going “who was that again” and “did I already meet this character”?
This is still a great read and I am tempted to go back and start from the beginning of the series.
My rating: ★★★1/2