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Seriously, Read a Book!

Thoughts on books, often interpreted through the high-brow prism of cartoon (read: Archer) references. Wait! I had something for this...

Currently reading

The Sketchnote Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Visual Notetaking
Mike Rohde
The Antidote
Oliver Burkeman
The Kind Worth Killing
Peter Swanson
Data Points: Visualization That Means Something
Nathan Yau
James Buchanan
Jean H. Baker, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

The Pale Criminal (Bernard Gunther #2)

The Pale Criminal - Philip Kerr

There's a fine line between being lovably flawed and being a jerk when it comes to detectives/secret agents and what have you. Last time around, Bernard Gunther was in the former category. You can't blame a guy for having a bleak outlook on life in late-1930s Berlin, and the misogynistic attitude was what it was. In round two of Bernie's adventures, The Pale Criminal, I found him much harder to stomach. 


It's not just the bedding of women during sex crimes investigations that got me, so much as his internal monologue of imagining himself between their thighs while they describe the last known whereabouts of their (presumably dead) children. Likewise, the threat of the pink triangle was real (I know, it's shocking that the Party wasn't more progressive when it came to same-sex relationships, but true nonetheless), but the quips about it just made Gunther seem mean (especially when paired with toilet humor even I didn't find all that funny).


German concentration camp prisoner markings


Philip Kerr makes more use of his environment this time around. Bernie gets sucked back into Kripo, and is keenly aware of the internal strife within the leadership of the Nazi Party (including the questionable "purity" of The Blonde Beast, Reinhard Heydrich's, status as an Aryan). Julius Streicher's fiercely anti-semitic rag, Der Stürmer factors in as well which, if nothing more, is an artifact of the times.


Der Strurmer 1934


In the end, the mystery just wasn't that good, and I liked Bernie less and less. If the last in the Berlin Noir trilogy doesn't come to my library, chances are I won't actively seek it out.