dimecres, 5 de març de 2014

"If The Dead Rise Not", Philip Kerr

If The Dead Rise Not
Philip Kerr, 2009
Quercus, ebook kindle

Berlin, 1934. Bernie Gunther is working as a house detective at the Adlon hotel. Hedda Adlon, the wife of the hotel owner, asks him a special favor: help Noreen Charalambides, an American journalist friend of her, to investigate the real situation of Jew population in Germany. During this investigation, aimed to promote an American boycott to the Berlin 1934 Olympics, Bernie Gunther will discover a construction racket related to the Olympic sites that will put him on a very complicated situation, in which he will have to choose between love and life... Later on, in 1954 in the city of La Habana, he will have the opportunity to resume the life he was about to have twenty years before, but twenty years might be too much time.

If The Dead Rise Not is a story that starts in the era of the Totalitarianism and ends in the era of Cold War. However, it has not a great involvement with the political situations, at least in the second part of the book. In the first part of the book (Berlin 1934), Bernie Gunther gets involved in something very big, a construction racket in which are involved American gangsters and some of the most important Nazi personalities. In fact, Gunther does not have any obligation to investigate this racket, but he has something personal on it, as he suspects of one of the guests of the hotel, Max Reles. This is another evidence of the idealistic behavior of our hero, incapable of putting things away. But this time there is an unprecedented element that will gets things harder than ever for him: Bernie Gunther is deeply in love, so in love that he will pass over his principles to preserve her lover's life. In my opinion this is one of the strengths of the book, showing us a Gunther that is very human, as he has always been, but that goes further than his own morals. For the first time, he sacrifices almost innocent people to serve his own interests, his love for Noreen. In the other side, during most of the second part of the book (La Habana, 1954), I had the impression that it was an addition that was unjustified, and even that in the end the connection is evident and in a way (spoiler!) the story between Reles and Gunther gets definitively closed, in fact the only good thing that this second part reports us is going deeper in the humanization of Bernie Gunther.

However, In my opinion this is a very good crime novel, at least the first part, that has a lot of ingredients to be successful: love, sex, mystery, gangsters, corruption rackets, etc. It is another good novel about Bernie Gunther, a character that gets more human than ever in this book.