The Man From Berlin (Gregor Reinhardt)
by Luke McCallin
Cover Artist: Morning Mist by James L. Stanfield / Getty Images
Review by Linda Marie Schumacher
Berkley Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425263051
Date: 02 July 2013 List Price $15.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /
I chose to read The Man from Berlin because I am a fan of World War II fiction. I knew in advance that it takes place in Sarajevo, and I wanted to expand my boundaries outside of Germany and into other part of Europe during the time period. What I got is one of the best murder mysteries I have read in a long time. Yes, it takes place in 1942 in Sarajevo. At the beginning of the novel, a German officer is murdered, along with a very popular Croat journalist. Captain Gregor Reinhardt, the lead character and a German officer, is called to lead the murder investigation since his previous job was as a police detective in Berlin.
The history of the time period was a little difficult for me. The politics in that part of Europe were complicated then, and still are now. It took me a little bit to figure out which teams were fighting together. Luke McCallin, the author, provides some background through the plot. It was enough to follow the story, so that was good. At the end of the book, I found a summary of the politics and I was happy that what I had figured out through the plot was correct.
In present day, we know what happened after WWII when Marshall Tito's communist forces ran Yugoslavia and we also know what happened when it all fell apart fifty years later at the end of the Cold War. Tito's group at the time of The Man from Berlin is known as "The Partisans", and the majority of the novel outside of the murder mystery is the German Army preparing Operation Schwartz, to attack the Partisans. I got what I asked for when I wanted to read about WWII outside of Germany. The quality of the murder mystery is a bonus.
Reinhardt is a complicated character. He is a German combat veteran of World War I and still suffers a lot of mental anguish about that war. Today, we would call it PTSD. He is very unsure of the Whys of what he and his country are doing fighting another war after they saw the destruction, waste, and futility of the first one. I really like Reinhardt and I can empathize with him about this feeling.
By 1942, the Germans knew they were losing, and regardless of which team you are on, it is a terrible thing to know your people continue to fight and die and to know that you probably will still lose overall. Reinhardt grows steadily throughout The Man from Berlin. At first, he is near suicidal and by the end he has found the purpose where he fits into this war and into Germany in general. I was very impressed at all the surprises that turn up in the plot as the story progresses. The story continually gets better as Reinhardt grows which made me very happy.
I highly recommend The Man from Berlin for all mystery readers and especially to fans of WWII fiction. The author plans to make Reinhardt a recurring character and I can't wait to read the next one.