Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Philip Kerr is back

For a long time, I thought Philip Kerr was like Weezer, starting off the career with the best work and then slowly deflating. Well, Weezer came back and so can Kerr. I devoured A Quiet Flame, the second in his Bernie Gunther after the war series. I worried that these books would suffer from missing the oppressive atmosphere of Nazi Germany. This book is set in Peronist Argentina and with Nazis on the run and an efficient police state of its own, this book has plenty of dark atmosphere. I could tell the book was going somewhere when Gunther is traveling on a boat with an unrepentent and completely repellent Adolf Eichmann on the way to South American exile.

Gunther feels a bit more like a Chandler character than I remember, maybe that is because I have read more Chandler since reading the Berlin Noir trilogy. His pulpy language goes over the top at times, but I thought he pulled it off well. What does go over the top, for some potenially, is an assertion he makes about Argentina in the 40s. Yikes is all I will say about that.

If I was smarter, I would have started with the One from the Other. The conclusion of that book explains how Gunther ends up on the run with Nazis. Oh well, I will still read it, but it won't be quite as fun.


Anonymous said...

The One from The Other is terrific - glad to hear the sequel is up to snuff as well. Kerr is a weird writer - his Gunther books are good-to-great (the middle book of the Berlin Noir trilogy was a showstopper, I thought), which the rest of his work is okay at best. Steve

Tripp said...

With his other books, I always felt like he was trying to get away from the Gunther noir books. He went Chrichton for awhile and then went for the updated politico thriller, but none of them really worked. I am glad he went back to what works.