Customer Reviews for

Garden of Beasts: A Novel of Berlin 1936

Average Rating 4
( 31 )
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5 Star

(15)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

A must read!

I just finished Jeffrey Deaver's 'Garden of Beasts' and I HIGHLY recomnend it! Be warned, however, that the last quarter of it becomes a read-a-thon! Awesome character development and just the right amount of setting descriptions. Also, a very interesting education i...
I just finished Jeffrey Deaver's 'Garden of Beasts' and I HIGHLY recomnend it! Be warned, however, that the last quarter of it becomes a read-a-thon! Awesome character development and just the right amount of setting descriptions. Also, a very interesting education in the culture of Germany in the summer of 1936. It was a fascinating and horrifying time. In his own little way Mr. Deaver has 'kept alive' the lessons from that time we must never forget.

posted by Anonymous on July 4, 2006

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Five Star Sleep Aid

In a word: Puh-leeze! This should never be read by night watchmen or first responder's on call. My field guide to poisonous mushrooms has more action and suspense.One more 'Ach!' and I thought I would never gargle again.When the action began there were a couple of hopef...
In a word: Puh-leeze! This should never be read by night watchmen or first responder's on call. My field guide to poisonous mushrooms has more action and suspense.One more 'Ach!' and I thought I would never gargle again.When the action began there were a couple of hopeful moments and then the disappointment resumed. Boring and predictable. Paul, our protagonist, falls out of character as soon as Dickie Johnson makes the scene. Mr. Deaver should stick to Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sach's forensic mysteries.

posted by Anonymous on February 5, 2006

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2006

    A must read!

    I just finished Jeffrey Deaver's 'Garden of Beasts' and I HIGHLY recomnend it! Be warned, however, that the last quarter of it becomes a read-a-thon! Awesome character development and just the right amount of setting descriptions. Also, a very interesting education in the culture of Germany in the summer of 1936. It was a fascinating and horrifying time. In his own little way Mr. Deaver has 'kept alive' the lessons from that time we must never forget.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2005

    This rocks!

    This is by far the most ingenious Deaver I've ever read. IMO, none of the Rhymes comes close to this classic masterpiece from an acclaimed master. Drags you in from the first sentence and pulls you through the bloody and dangerous streets of pre-war Berlin, or is post-war? Right to its explosive end. You'd have fun with this, surely. Paul Schumann would keep wondering, the Nazi Kripo would keep you worrying, the Gestapo and Stormtroopers would keep you angry.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2005

    1936 brought to life

    I am not enough of a history buff to know the ins and outs of the period just before World War II but even without that knowledge, this novel was very enjoyable. Paul Schumann is a ¿Button Man¿ in New York City in 1936. He gets caught while on one of his ¿jobs¿ and is offered a deal. Since he has German ancestry, he is asked to pose as a journalist to the Summer Olympics. But in reality, the arresting officers want him to kill Reinhardt Ernst. In return, they will expunge his record and provide him money to start fresh. The deal is for Paul to travel to Germany, meet with his contacts and return to America. But does anything ever go as planned? Certainly not in the troubled times of the late 1930¿s. First there is a spy aboard the boat. Then the German Shupo (German Regular Police) and Kripo (German Criminal Police) get involved because a man is found murdered. He just happens to be murdered in the spot where Paul meets his contact, Reggie Morgan. There is a cast of characters such as the mistress of the boarding house Paul lives in Lisle, a waitress at the bar Otto, a criminal that helps Paul with disguises and ability to get into areas he otherwise wouldn¿t be able to and the Kripo and his assistant. You even get to meet people involved in the Olympics such as Jesse Owens. All is going according to plan until there is an unexpected twist. Reggie Morgan is¿¿well I don¿t want to spoil the book. You will just have to listen to it for yourself. When Paul finally gets all the details in place and is ready to do the job he was sent to Germany for, yet another twist gets in the way. This leads to an ending I never saw coming which is exactly what Jeffery Deaver is famous for ¿ his surprising endings. Jefferson Mays reads the novel with clarity. He does use a couple of different inflections for the various characters but not every character had a voice all their own. I had to pay close attention to be sure who was speaking at times. All in all, it was not overly hard to follow which character was speaking. Anyone interested in the history of this period will enjoy this audio book but even if you aren¿t as versed on the history, it is still time well spent listening to it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2008

    GREAT BOOK

    Berlin. The Olympics. Jeffery Deaver. A GREAT combination. Loved the book, couldn't put it down.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2006

    Five Star Sleep Aid

    In a word: Puh-leeze! This should never be read by night watchmen or first responder's on call. My field guide to poisonous mushrooms has more action and suspense.One more 'Ach!' and I thought I would never gargle again.When the action began there were a couple of hopeful moments and then the disappointment resumed. Boring and predictable. Paul, our protagonist, falls out of character as soon as Dickie Johnson makes the scene. Mr. Deaver should stick to Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sach's forensic mysteries.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2005

    Beasts in a Cage

    Garden of Beasts is a story of trapped animals, albeit human ones. American Paul Schumann is a depression-age hitman, forced into his profession when he avenges his father's death. When he is trapped by American intelligence he must become a weapon to kill the brilliant but ruthless Karl Ernst, the man behind Adolph Hitler's plans to rule the world. Schumann's opposite number is Willi Kohl of the Kripo, or civilian police, an eminently decent man who is also a captive trapped by having to live in The Third Reich. Schumann nervously puffs on Chesterfields as Kohl comtemplatively pulls on his Meerschaum. The resulting smokescreen is so thin that they could easily reach out and touch each other throughout the story. Whether they will or not makes for an exciting game of cat and mouse. The game begins when Paul travels to Germany under the guise of a sportswriter for the 1936 Olympics. Of course, things go terribly wrong. While Paul waits to make contact with his German counterpart, he is confronted by a possible Gestapo agent. When the agent is shot, Paul flees and goes underground. Enter the placid Willi, who becomes Nemesis' hound as he follows the trail Paul has unknowingly left behind. The book also contains interesting insights into Hitler and his inner circle. I also liked the characters. They are all prisoners of one sort or another. World-weary Kathe Richter with a tragic past becomes Paul's ally and lover. Karl Ernst is a dispassionate architect of mass murder but also a devoted father trapped by his own intelligence and his own vision for a post-Hitler Germany. Otto, an endearing underworld broker who makes his living off the shortages and shortcomings created by Nazi Germany, recognizes Paul as a kindred spirit and addresses him as 'Mr. John Dillinger.' Even Jesse Owens makes a cameo appearance, not only to provide vraisimilitude to the story, but as another trapped beast, a prisoner of his color. Deaver is a master at pace and significant detail. In short, Garden of Beasts is a great read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2004

    Reaching back in Time

    As a Lincoln Rhyme fan, I always give Deavers books a good look. This murder mystery set at the 1936 Olympics is a unique approach for an assassination plot in Nazi Germany. It's an excellent offering that takes the reader to a place in time that few still living can imagine. Deaver does a good job at character development, while maintaining a fast story pace. I especially enjoyed the historical references that acted both as a backdrop and plot focus. The small bits of factual history with characters like Jesse Owen added a non-fiction flavor that must be quite difficult to pull off as a writer Maybe this won't be a favorite of the regular Deaver readers, but I enjoyed it immensely.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2012

    Good read.

    Entertaining, easy read.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2012

    OK. Not Deaver's best.

    This is a good mystery with historical perspective of Berlin in pre-WWII days. I recently read an excellent historical account of Berlin during this time, "In the Garden of the Beasts", so this one wasn't as appealing. Prefer Deaver's Lincoln Rhymes series.

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  • Posted November 19, 2011

    Excellent Read!

    Good History....well written....enjoyed it tremendously!

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  • Posted February 27, 2011

    Great story

    Would recommend this book to anyone remotely interested in historical fiction. The characters hook you in and the plot intrigues throughout. Definitely worth reading.

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  • Posted July 17, 2009

    Fascinating look into rise of Hitler in Germany.

    Lots of mystery - no one trusting anyone. Surprises as one gets deeper into characters and finds out more about them. Some seem sympathetic and turn out to be horrifying. The main character, a criminal, remains a criminal but for better reason. Very thought-provoking.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2008

    How very unbeastly

    My first Deaver novel. I forced myself (and it was not easy) to read to page 200 or there about. By that time my eyes were crossed and I had to conclude:' ACH, ach...what a junk!!!! I am sure it did not help me to be quite fluent in German and to have lived through that era as a child and teenager. I was there. Deaver could not have done worse if he had seriously tried. And then again, that part of history is so extraordinarily inviting and opportune to write well about. Wish I could get my money back!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2005

    Sherlock Holmes?

    If your a fan of Sherlock Holmes and the dear Mr. Watson your going to love the wrting of this book. Deaver has you so drawn in to the plot that you don't see the twists coming till they hit you smack in the face, then you can't put this book down till the very end. One of his best.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2005

    Can't get enough of Deaver's writing

    Only 6 reviews so far . . . people we need to get the word out about this book. This maybe one of Deaver's best literary peice yet. Mr. Deaver took some time to get off the forensic science bandwagon and go into a new direction. The detail in this book is extreme and it looks like Mr. Deaver put a lot of time and a lot of heart into his book. This is not a book about your stereotypical characters with the hero, the heroine, the desperate lover, and the needed to be saved. The plot line of this book is one of the best I have ever read. The action is almost as great as the plot line. This book makes you feel like you are actually in Germany in 1936. That is how real this book is and that is how it makes you feel. Some of the best parts of the book is when he talks to Olympic athlete form the past. The conversations between people is deep and meanigful. The reader gets a feel of the time period, the controversy, and the real Nazi army. Anyone who is hesitant of this books because of it lenght, story, or the picture on the front of the book is crazy. I review this book for the school newspaer and the article went in the library, with order form to get the book sent ot our school. This book friggin rock my socks off. And anyone who gives this book under three stars needs to realize that this is as good as it gets.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2005

    Masterpiece

    I think Deaver has grown up and has just completed a masterpiece. No gory violence, no hardcore language and no sex. When a writer can hold your attention for over 500 pages without the above elements he has become a master at his craft. The great characters, clever plot, twist and history of this book puts Deaver at the top of his class. Look at Dan Brown's books? All 4 books are number 1 sellers and yet no gore, language or sex. If Deaver keeps wrting more books like this he will become one of the best, surpassing Grisham, Patterson and Brown. Again 2 thumbs up for this one and I'll be reading it again and again. Movie maybe??

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2004

    A Must Read!

    When first reading the description of the book, I was skeptical because the topic was so different than Deaver's usual work which I have come to know and love. However, once I started to read it, I couldn't put it down. In my opinion, this was Deaver at his best.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2004

    New Direction for Deaver

    I enjoyed this book greatly. It didn't get into Deaver's famous twists and turns until about 3/4 of the way through, but the first 3/4 of the book was extremely interesting. It wasn't the type of book I was expecting from Deaver, but I feel that it only goes to prove that he's not stuck in a writers rut, and can write different types of novels. I would certainly recommend it to all Deaver fans, and anybody else who enjoys an interesting book. I've read all of Deaver's books, and this was one of my favorite.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2004

    Great Read

    Great story telling and captivating. A low-life is called upon to serve his country and in the end is a great human being. Several unexpected twists keep your interest.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2004

    Great storytelling

    In 1936, contract freelance hit man Paul Schumann enters the Hell¿s Kitchen apartment to bump off Malone, but the mark is not here. Paul realizes he has been set up and the subsequent phone call tells him that twelve armed men wait for him to throw out the window his two guns, to remove his jacket, and wait for their entry with his hands up if he wants to survive..................... Navy Intelligence Officer Bull Gordon gives Paul a choice. If he refuses, they have evidence to prove he murdered people, which would lead to at least life in Sing Sing that is if they do not turn him into cement. Paul accepts their kind offer to go to Berlin to kill Colonel Ernst, Hitler¿s brilliant militarization expert....................... Disguised as a reporter covering the Olympics, Paul sails across the Atlantic, but a Nazi undercover agent believes he might be a paid assassin. Paul kills the spy, but not before word reaches Berlin. When he kills a second person in the German capital, Police Inspector Kohl is on his crowded trail loaded with Nazis wanting to kill Paul before he completes his mission.......................... Jeffrey Deaver is at his best with this suspense laden historical thriller that brings 1936 Berlin vividly alive in a contrasting manner. On the one hand, there is the Olympics while on the other there is the Nazi movement. The three subplots (Paul¿s mission, Inspector Kohl¿s investigation, and the Nazi efforts to kill the American) all tie together in a fantastic tale that will bring deserved accolades to Mr. Deaver as he proves once again that he drives more than just a Lincoln................................... Harriet Klausner

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