• The Lady From Zagreb
  • Prayer
  • A Man Without Breath
  • Prague Fatale
  • Field Gray
  • If The Dead Rise Not
  • A Quiet Flame
  • The One From The Other
  • Berlin Noir
  • Hitlers Peace
  • A Philosophical Investigation
If The Dead Rise Not

Berlin, 1934: Bernie Gunther, now a hotel detective, finds himself caught between warring factions of the Nazi apparatus as Hitler and Avery Brundage, the head of the U.S. Olympic Committee, connive to soft-pedal Nazi anti-Semitism before the 1936 Olympiad.

Havana, 1954: Batista, aided by the CIA, has just seized power; Castro is in prison; and the American Mafia is gaining a stranglehold on Cuba’s exploding gaming and prostitution industries. Bernie, after being kicked out of Buenos Aires, has resurfaced with a relatively peaceful new life. But he discovers that he truly cannot outrun his past when he collides with an old lover—and a vicious killer—from his Berlin days.

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Reviews

The book recently won the Ellis Peters Award for historical crime fiction, and it’s not hard to see why…. Bernie—with his Humphrey Bogart-like blend of sardonic humour and sombre integrity—is among the most winning of current sleuths.
The Sunday Times (London)
Earlier this year the Scottish writer Philip Kerr picked up the world’s most lucrative award for a work of crime fiction — Spain’s RBA International Prize, worth €125,000 (£113,840), and followed it with the financially far more modest, but highly regarded, Ellis Peters Dagger for the best historical crime fiction. The winning book was If the Dead Rise Not, the sixth in the series featuring Bernie Gunther, ex-cop-turned-private-eye in the Berlin of the Thirties. In 1934, Hitler is Chancellor and the National Socialists are increasingly taking action against Jews. The Olympic Games are near and there are those hoping to prevent them. Gunther, anxious about his one-quarter Jewishness, has to deal with dead bodies, assorted conspiracies, being beaten up and falling in love. Kerr has a terrific feel for the scary, uneasy mood of the period.
Marcel Berlins, The Times (London)
One of the greatest series of crime novels in the world.
El Pais (Spain)
...we should all be taking (and reading) him and the best of his genre more seriously.
London Evening Standard
Kerr is great at capturing the feel of the time but never forgets to entertain and doesn’t ram home political points.  PIs and Nazis—a lot of writers would kill for an idea like that.
The Sun (London)
Kerr's period detail is utterly convincing. The way he captures a lost Berlin on the brink of cataclysmic change is in turns poignant and gritty....[T]he city and its citizens are caught insect-like in the amber of Kerr's words. A sophisticated thriller.
The Independent (London)
Something special.
The Daily Telegraph (London)
The pace is cracking, the dialogue crisply Chandleresque, the mise-en-scene and characterisation refreshingly stereotype free... Bernie Gunther is an iconic creation and each new book a treat to look forward to.
The Times (London)
Both newcomers and established fans will appreciate Kerr’s outstanding sixth Bernie Gunther novel…. The case…provides ample opportunities for Gunther, whom Sam Spade would have found a kindred spirit, to make difficult moral choices. Once again the author smoothly integrates a noir crime plot with an authentic historical background.
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
On any continent, in any decade, no one does melancholy better than Bernie Gunther, and melancholy, after all, is the hard-boiled mystery fan’s emotion of choice.
Booklist (upfront review)
Among this novel’s many strengths is how Kerr manages to impart so much information without letting it get in the way of a fast-moving plot: He is also very good at showing us Bernie's sardonic wit and the burgeoning love affair between him and Noreen. Even when the story jumps about 20 years…and lands in 1954 Havana with an older (but not necessarily wiser) Bernie, Noreen and Reles, Kerr is still in total control of his story, managing his characters, complex plot and intersections among assorted Nazis and communists, dictators and American gangsters with equal aplomb…. Whether this novel is the reader's first taste of Bernie Gunther or another course in the series, "If the Dead Rise Not" is a richly satisfying mystery, one that evokes the noir sensibilities of Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald while breaking important new ground of its own.
Los Angeles Times
A solid addition to the great crime novels that make up the Berlin Noir trilogy.
New York Times Book Review
The greatest strengths of "If the Dead Rise Not" are Kerr's portrait of a chilly, ominous Berlin—and Bernie Gunther himself, whose way with a cynical one-liner never palls.
Washington Post Book World
This magnificent Berlin flashback lasts for 280 pages. The second part of the novel occurs 12 years later in Cuba. That same American gangster now owns a luxury hotel there. Kerr does a splendid job portraying moral ambiguity. Bernie Gunther is a deeply conflicted character — he can commit evil while attempting to do good. Then he must live with the outcomes of his deeds.
Dayton Daily News
Gunther is smart, tough, and muscularly unillusioned…. Yet so much of the appeal of these books has to do with Kerr’s ability to communicate a rich sense of time and place. They’re like Alan Furst’s World War II espionage novels that way, only with beer and wurst instead of champagne and oysters. It’s not just a Germanic heft that gives the Gunther books more weight than Furst’s. Thanks to the series’ settings, it has a moral gravity rarely seen in the detective genre. The mean streets Gunther walks down don’t come any meaner, world-historically speaking…. Kerr is a virtuoso plotter…. Gunther, it turns out, isn’t the only one to have relocated from Berlin to Havana. There’s a massive switcheroo, the nature of which would have warmed Ross Macdonald’s heart. Things get resolved bloodily, though not so conclusively as to rule out a return engagement.
Boston Globe
Its blend of history and entertainment make it ideal summer reading. “Terrific…. Part of the allure of these novels is that Bernie is such an interesting creation, a Chandleresque knight errant caught in insane historical surroundings. Bernie walks down streets so mean that nobody can stay alive and remain truly clean…. Of course, with its trademark blend of madness and murder, the Nazi era makes a compelling backdrop for any thriller, but Kerr doesn't belabor the obvious. He gives you the texture of Hitler's Berlin and takes you inside events that are often forgotten…. What happened in Nazi Germany didn't end with Hitler's fall. It sent shock waves through the next decades, and what's great about this series is the way that Kerr has expanded his vision beyond the conventional crime novel. Bernie isn't one of those detectives who gets to solve crimes and put things right. Instead, he just tries to behave decently in a world where the serial killers run governments and history itself may be the biggest crime of all.
John Powers, “Fresh Air”/NPR
As a writer of historical thrillers, Kerr is simply a phenomenon at incorporating the reality of the past into his fiction of it
Roger K. Miller, Tampa Tribune
How much longer can Bernie Gunther go on? I almost hope Kerr doesn’t answer that question, because the way he’s extended his urbane, sardonic Berlin-born sleuth’s life has been masterful, again (as in A QUIET FLAME) contrasting a 1930s-era case - and the ramifications of one quick decision - with the pre-Castro Havana of the mid-1950s. Kerr has a complicated story to tell, but his juggling is expert and culminates in one of the best ending confessions I’ve read in ages.
Sarah Weinman, “Off on a Tangent” blog