Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Germania: A Novel of Nazi Berlin by Harald Gilbers

Germania by Harald Gilbers

Germania: A Novel of Nazi Berlin by Harald Gilbers
ISBN-10 : 1250246938 - Hardcover $28.99  
Publisher : Thomas Dunne Books (December 1, 2020).
Review copy courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley.

The blurb:  Berlin 1944: a serial killer stalks the bombed-out capital of the Reich, preying on women and laying their mutilated bodies in front of war memorials. All of the victims are linked to the Nazi party. But according to one eyewitness account, the perpetrator is not an opponent of Hitler's regime, but rather a loyal Nazi.
Jewish detective Richard Oppenheimer, once a successful investigator for the Berlin police, is reactivated by the Gestapo and forced onto the case. Oppenheimer is not just concerned with catching the killer and helping others survive, but also his own survival. Worst of all, solving this case is what will certainly put him in the most jeopardy. With no other choice but to further his investigation, he feverishly searches for answers, and a way out of this dangerous game.

My review: Germania by Harald Gilbers is a gripping detective novel set during the 1940s in Nazi Germany.  When the novel takes place, Richard Oppenheimer lives in a designated "Jewish House" and is surviving on bare scraps.  His wife is a German but is excluded from her community and penalized because she married Jewish Oppenheimer.  As for Oppenheimer, he had won the Iron Cross during World War I and had been a highly respected homicide detective but has been forced out of his job.  

Oppenheimer wakes up in the middle of the night to find SS officer Volger in his bedroom. Volger takes Oppenheimer to a crime scene and requires Volger to assist in the homicide investigation.

Oppenheimer's situation and the dangers that he faces as a Jew in Nazi Germany are made apparent during the investigation.  Even as Oppenheimer is granted privileges in order that he can investigate unimpeded, he is aware of precarious position.  I was drawn into the story almost immediately.  Gilbers created a sympathetic character who faces terrifying odds and repeatedly proves his character and skill.   Germania is a detective mystery with an unusual premise told by a talented storyteller.  I'm looking forward to reading Harald Gilbers' next novel!

About the Author:  Harald Gilbers studied English and history in Augsburg and Munich. He is the recipient of the Glauser Prize for the best crime debut and the French Prix Historia for Odins Söhne (Odin’s Sons) for his first novel, Germania.

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