Firstly I wish to thank Anne Cater and No Exit Press for inviting me to take part on this Blog Tour for THE ASHES OF BERLIN by Luke McCallin
World War II is over, and former German intelligence officer Captain Gregor Reinhardt has returned to Berlin. He’s about to find that the bloodshed has not ended — and that for some, death is better than defeat.
A year after Germany’s defeat, Reinhardt has been hired back onto Berlin’s civilian police force. The city is divided among the victorious allied powers, tensions are growing, and the police are riven by internal rivalries as factions within it jockey for power and influence with Berlin’s new masters.
When a man is found slain in a broken-down tenement, Reinhardt embarks on a gruesome investigation. It seems a serial killer is on the loose, and matters only escalate when it’s discovered that one of the victims was the brother of a Nazi scientist.
Reinhardt’s search for the truth takes him across the divided city and soon embroils him in a plot involving the Western Allies and the Soviets. And as he comes under the scrutiny of a group of Germans who want to continue the war — and faces an unwanted reminder from his own past — Reinhardt realizes that this investigation could cost him everything as he pursues a killer who believes that all wrongs must be avenged…
Longlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger and the CWA Historical Dagger 2017
The Times Book of the Month (Dec 2016) and Sunday Times Crime Club star pick
Third in Gregor Reinhardt series, following The Man From Berlin & The Pale House
The Man From Berlin was shortlisted for a CWA Historical Dagger award, reached #2 on the Kindle Bestsellers chart and was a Top 10 Historical Fiction book; it has an average rating of 4.6/5 stars on Amazon
Literary crime fiction reminiscent of Dan Fesperman’s Sarajevo thriller, Lie in the Dark & Philip Kerr’s ‘Berlin Noir’ trilogy with the atmosphere of The Third Man
For fans of CJ Sansom, Martin Cruz Smith, Alan Furst, Charles Cumming & William Ryan
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
Set in post war Berlin in 1947 Gregor Rainhardt, a former police officer, has returned to his home town to try carry on with normal life but this is now a new world. Berlin is still very much in ruins both the body and the soul of it. Divided into sectors Berlin is a place where it’s residents are more the outsiders, children living like urchins and supporters and fraterniseres of the SS shunned. Even the police force is now divided, being employed by either the Americans, French, British or Sovient Union factions There is no trust even here, as the allies that fought against a common enemy have no trust with each other, informers and spies are in abundance. Rainhardt has been employed by the Americans but he is not a man that is particularly liked or respected by his fellow officers.
When a call is received about, what is thought at first glance, the dead body of a drunk at the bottom of the stairs in an American sector apartment block, Rainhardt is one of the officers to respond. He follows a blood trail up the stairs that very much puts doubt on that being the case and he discovers yet further body in one of the upper apartments. While the other police officers seem to concentrate their investigation on the death of Carlsen, a British Agent, which seems much more high profile, Rainhardt homes in on the death of Noell, a former German Air Force veteran. Rainhardt could really be labelled, ‘does not play well with others’, but he works on instinct as well as facts and this case pulls him like a magnet.
Rainhardt wants a normal life but the past doesn’t want to let go, not yet, for some people the war hasn’t come to an end and it forces Rainhardt to revisit his past that he had worked hard on leaving behind him. This is no ordinary killing and as he begins to piece together murders that don’t work within ‘sectors’, it becomes clear that this is the work of one man. It seems that with each piece of this puzzle Rainhardt’s life expectancy is getting shorter.
This really is a stunning novel that describes a Berlin that feels as much displaced in the world as its residents. There really isn’t anything light and wonderful about this book, it is dark, grave and utterly compelling. This is the third book in the series, the former two set in the war years and Rainhardt’s participation and family. Do read on after you finish the story for a short piece by the author about post war Berlin, truly fascinating. Just Brilliant!
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Luke McCallin was born in 1972 in Oxford, grew up in Africa, went to school around the world and has worked with the United Nations as a humanitarian relief worker and peacekeeper in the Caucasus, the Sahel, and the Balkans. His experiences have driven his writing, in which he explores what happens to normal people – those stricken by conflict, by disaster – put under abnormal pressures. He lives with his wife and two children in an old farmhouse in France in the Jura Mountains. He has a master’s degree in political science, speaks French, and can just get by in Russian. When he’s not working or writing, he enjoys reading history, playing the drums, and heading into the mountains for a run.