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If the Dead Rise Not (Bernie Gunther Series #6)

If the Dead Rise Not (Bernie Gunther Series #6)

4.2 25
by Philip Kerr

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"Every time we're afraid we've seen the last of Bernie Gunther, Philip Kerr comes through." -The New York Times Book Review

Hailed as "one of the greatest series of crime novels in the world" (El Pais, Spain), Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther novels continue to garner fantastic acclaim both here and abroad. This time, it's 1954 and Bernie has


"Every time we're afraid we've seen the last of Bernie Gunther, Philip Kerr comes through." -The New York Times Book Review

Hailed as "one of the greatest series of crime novels in the world" (El Pais, Spain), Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther novels continue to garner fantastic acclaim both here and abroad. This time, it's 1954 and Bernie has resurfaced in Havana. Life is relatively peaceful, but the world-weary ex-cop discovers that he cannot outrun his past when he collides with an old lover-and a vicious killer-from his life in Berlin. Alternating between the flamboyant corruption of Batista's Cuba and Nazi Germany during the buildup to the 1936 Olympiad, If the Dead Rise Not is another stunning example of Kerr's virtuoso talent.

Editorial Reviews

Kevin Allman
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. As he sums up his philosophy: "Some people like to believe in a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. I'm the type who thinks the pot of gold is being watched by four cops in a car."
—The Washington Post
Marilyn Stasio
Leaving the intrigue to the flashy guys in espionage novels, Bernie arms himself with a strong right hook and a tough-guy line of patter to make it out of this one alive.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Both newcomers and established fans will appreciate Kerr's outstanding sixth Bernie Gunther novel (after A Quiet Flame), as it fills in much of the German PI's backstory. By 1934, as the Nazis tighten their grip on power, Gunther has left the Berlin police force for a job as a hotel detective. His routine inquiry into the theft of a Chinese box from a guest, a German-American from New York, becomes more complex after he learns that the identical objet d'art was reported stolen just the previous day by an official from the Asiatic Museum. The case proves to be connected with German efforts to forestall an American boycott of the 1936 Olympics, and 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. Note that the action precedes the events recounted in the series' debut, March Violets (1989). (Mar.)
The Times (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 book a treat to look forward to.
The Independent (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.
London Evening Standard
...we should all be taking (and reading) him and the best of his genre more seriously.
The Daily Telegraph (London)
Something special.
Library Journal
As in A Quiet Flame, British author Kerr sets the action of his sixth Bernie Gunther series in two distinct epochs—prewar Berlin (1934) and Havana 20 years later. Forced off the Berlin police force because of his allegiance to the old Weimar Republic, Bernie is now the Adlon Hotel's house detective. As the Nazis consolidate power, the survival of the city's Jews grows more precarious. Bernie, one-fourth Jewish himself, gets embroiled in a conflict between corrupt businessmen who aim to profit from the 1936 Olympiad and a beautiful American (and Jewish) journalist, Noreen Charalambides, who hopes to derail U.S. participation. By the time the dust settles, Bernie is locked in a stalemate with American mobster Max Reles. In 1954, Bernie is living in Havana and runs across Noreen, now a successful author living in Hemingway's Finca Vigía, where she consorts with Communists. To Bernie's surprise, Noreen's daughter is palling around with Max Reles, now in cahoots with Meyer Lansky and other mobsters. Soon, Bernie will have one more murder to solve if he hopes to survive and save those dear to him. VERDICT As rich in historical atmosphere as any Alan Furst thriller and leavened by the cutting wit of Bernie's cynicism, this outstanding roman noir will delight readers of detective fiction and historical thrillers alike. [See "Prepub Exploded," BookSmack!, 10/1/09.]—Ron Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson
Kirkus Reviews
It's 1934, and Bernie Gunther's chasing bad guys in Hitler's Berlin. It's 1954, and bad guys are chasing Bernie in the Mafia's Havana. Twenty years will mark a man's face. It will also mark his psyche, and Bernie, ex-homicide detective, ex-hotel dick, ex-soldier in two losing wars, ex-secret policeman in Hitler's despised S.A., has a deeply damaged one. Skeptical to the point of cynicism, a bred-in-the-bone survivalist, he's lied, cheated and, on several occasions, murdered to stay alive. And yet there's that inextinguishable Galahad in him-obdurate, and often as not painfully inconvenient. In 1934, for instance, when it would have been so easy to join the Nazi party and keep his job, he declined the invitation. And Bernie truly relished being a homicide cop. The fact that he saw the Weimar Republic as seriously flawed and probably not worth the sacrifice didn't matter. Loyalty mattered. Flash forward to 1954. It's not been an easy couple of decades for Bernie, including two miserable years in a Russian prison camp. Now here he is in Havana, confronting deja vu situations and at least two very unsettling people: Noreen Charalambides, a beautiful Jewish woman he'd loved and risked for, and Max Reles, a ferocious gangster he both hated and feared. In Berlin, Noreen had enlisted him in a cause he knew was lost, and that, thanks to Reles, he had almost died for. Suddenly, Berlin is an unfinished story, and Bernie has choices to make. Another sexy, mordantly funny, thinking man's thriller from Kerr (A Quiet Flame, 2009, etc.), who, despite an impressive body of work, continues to fly under the radar.
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."

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Bernie Gunther Series , #6
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Philip Kerr is the author of many novels, but perhaps most important are the five featuring Bernie Gunther—A Quiet Flame, The One from the Other, and the Berlin Noir trilogy (March Violets, The Pale Criminal, and A German Requiem). He lives in London and Cornwall, England, with his family.

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If the Dead Rise Not (Bernie Gunther Series #6) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
BETKAT More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
hubbabubba1 More than 1 year ago
This was my second Kerr book. In particular I enjoyed this one as it moved twenty years and went from Germany to pre-Castro Cuba. A little slow at the start but finished very well.
silencedogoodreturns More than 1 year ago
Wow. I thought this was the best yet in the Bernie Gunther series. The usual good character story of the hero/anti-hero, along with a jump to the past and more insider stories of 1934 Berlin. In fact, the first 250 pages of the book could have been separate, and worthy, story all on its own, as Bernie gets tangled up with American mafia, German Nazis and unscrupulous business men of all stripes trying to cash in on the upcoming 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Then a jump 20 years to find Bernie now living in pre-Castro Cuba after getting kicked out of Argentina. In Cuba he runs into the characters he last saw 20 years ago in 1934 Berlin. This story is well written, thoughtful and has two different major plot surprises at the end (though I guessed one). Highly recommend this great read. Bernie is becoming more philosophical as he ages, coming to grips with more truths of life and his own humanity.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read "Prague Fatale" before this book, so I guess I was expecting more. Prague was certainly far superior to this one. The story about the Berlin experiences during 1934-1936, was somewhat interesting and at times exciting. The Havana part was a bit abrupt, and difficult to tie in to the earlier part at first. Even though in the end, the two were tied into a nice package. I thought the end sort of "fell off the table", with: "I'm shot, he said redundantly". To be continued, is what I wondered?
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Tigerpaw70 More than 1 year ago
Book 6, in the Bernie Gunther series The readers are carried deeper into Bernie's saga in this terrific story that flips from 1934 Berlin into the rapidly changing world of 1954 Havana. The blend of madness and murder mixed with the Nazi and the Batista era creates an action packed backdrop for an exciting read and Mr. Kerr knows how to spice it up and to deliver it well. 1934, Germany is preparing to host the 1936 Olympic Games. The action begins when Bernie, the house detective of the Hotel Adlon discovers the body of a German businessman with strong construction industry ties dead in his room. With a body and a multitude of clues, Bernie's investigation propels him into a world of international corruption and dangerous double dealings involving American gangsters, corrupt Nazis and an insight into Hitler's plan for the 1936 Olympics. Meanwhile, Noreen Chalambides, an American journalist is also a patron of the hotel, she is on assignment to expose the Nazi regime and convince the American powers that be they should boycott the Olympics'.Bernie soon finds himself infatuated by her charming personality. Two thirds into the novel, the action switches to post war- Cuba 1954 After being expelled from Argentina (the previous novel 'A Quiet Flame') Bernie relocates to Havana with the hope of living a less stressful life under an assumed name. That soon changes when he runs into his old flame, the journalist Noreen, and is invited to her home for a dinner party. Bernie sees this as a chance to rekindle a previous relationship but he quickly learns Noreen has another agenda. Unable to escape his past and head first into the presence, he learns he is still the target of a vicious killer and due to his recent acquaintances he finds himself caught up in the smoldering rebellious movement which is being magnified by Fidel Castro incarceration. Mr. Kerr's stories are told entirely in dialogue, there is a lot of chatter going on mostly handled by Bernie, I love this, it makes you part of the story. I really enjoy Bernie, he is funny even when dealing with serious issues, he is not portrayed as the customary super hero as found in most novels of this genre. The plot is dynamic and captivating with many twists and turns and tense situations, an attention grabber to the last page. Although, highly entertaining the story is a tad predictable and less realistic than the previous novels, nevertheless following Bernie on his escapades is always a blast, and a journey into historical fiction. I am looking forward to Bernie's next exploits.
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Anything by Philip Kerr with Bernie Gunther wisecracking his way through it is worth getting into your hands.
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KenCady More than 1 year ago
This is my second Bernie Gunther novel, and I have thoroughly enjoyed both of them. Here the author takes us into both Nazi Germany as Hitler is rising and then into the mafia days of Cuba. He gets the local color right, and the characters are well-drawn. Each development in the story only makes me want to keep reading.
Stork2009 More than 1 year ago
Kerr reminds me a lot off Len Deighton but a little darker. I stumbled on to Private Investigator several years ago and have absolutley enjoyed alomost every page of every book even though I usually do not like period pieces.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CozWiz More than 1 year ago
A continuation of the adventures of Bernie Gunther only this time Kerr provides a thread that allows us to go back with Bernie to his early 1930 Berlin days and to leap forward to the post-war era into the 1950s pre-Castro Cuba. Bernie may be getting older but he still possesses a sharp dialog aided by years of hard won experience. A truly enjoyable book and Mr. Kerr's plot-line leaves plenty of opportunities to mine more of Bernie's adventures. Let's hope that he does just that.
SM7 More than 1 year ago
My first time reading the Bernie Gunther Series and I did not really enjoy the book. I doubt very serisoouly if I would read another Philip Kerr unless it had multi recommendations. I have read 40 books thus far in 2013 so I consider myself an avid reader.