Introducing one of Europe's most widely popular detective series
Wanting out of high-stress detective work, Simon Brenner takes a calming job as a chauffeur, shuttling a two-year-old girl back and forth in a soothing ride along the Autobahn between her father, a construction tycoon in Munich, and her mother, an abortion doctor in Vienna.
Except then one day he stops at a gas station to buy the little girl a chocolate bar and comes back to find she’s been kidnapped . . . and suddenly he’s out of a job, thoroughly stressed out, and a detective again.
With no shortage of leads—both the father’s latest development and the mother’s clinic are under siege by protestors—Brenner makes his way through a powerful cast of characters and a growing pile of bodies to solve the crime in the only way he knows how: By being in precisely the right place at the worst possible time.
Told with sharp-edged wit, suspense that’s even sharper, and one of the most quirky, hilarious, and compelling narrative voices ever.
About the Author
Wolf Haas was born in 1960 in the Austrian province of Salzburg. He is the author of seven books in the bestselling Detective Brenner mystery series, three of which have been made into popular German-language films. Among other prizes, the Brenner books have been awarded the 2004 Literature Prize from the City of Vienna and the German Thriller Prize.
Annie Janusch is the translator of the Art of the Novella edition of Heinrich von Kleist’s The Duel.
What People are Saying About This
"Brenner and God is one of the cleverest—and most thoroughly enjoyable—mysteries that I've read in a long time. Wolf Haas is the real deal, and his arrival on the American book scene is long overdue."
—Carl Hiaasen, NY Times bestselling author of Skinny Dip
"Simon Brenner, the hero of Wolf Haas' marvelous series of crime thrillers, is a wildly likable and original character—a delightful and unexpected hero to show up in this noble and enduring genre. That Brenner struggles his way—always humanistically, often humorously—through Haas' acutely suspenseful narratives without the aid of a firearm, armed only with his smarts and sometimes fallible intuition, is a monumental plus."
—Jonathan Demme, Oscar-winning director of The Silence of the Lambs
“A must for crime fiction lovers with a sense of humor: In Simon Brenner, Wolf Haas has created a protagonist so real and believable that I sometimes wanted to tap him on the shoulder and point him in the right direction!”—Andrey Kurkov, author of Death and the Penguin
“Drolly told by an unidentified yet surprisingly reliable narrator, Brenner and God is very funny, leavened throughout with a finely honed sense of the absurd.”
—Lisa Brackmann, author of Rock Paper Tiger and Getaway
"Haas brings a wry sense of humor to this familiar story line with his detached, conversational style. American readers will look forward to seeing more of Simon Brenner."
"Brenner and God is a humdinger ... a sockdollager of an action yarn, revealed via the smart-ass, self-effacing narrative voice that's a sort of trademark of author Wolf Haas." —The Austin Chronicle
"Wolf Haas presents us with one of the most thoroughly likable characters I’ve come across in a very long while ... the book is a meticulously plotted, dark, and often very funny ride." —The Millions
"[A] superb translation of one of Austria’s finest crime novels. This is the first of the Brenner novels in English. We can only hope for more, "[Brenner] has been brilliantly brought to life by Mister Hass’ subtle yet masterful prose, with just the right balance of dark humor." —New York Journal of Books
Publisher Melville House is to be commended for translating the Brenner series into English, and bringing it to a wider audience. Mister Hass may not yet be a household name, this side of the Atlantic, but all that is about to change, thanks to Simon Brenner."—Globe and Mail
"A gleaming gem of a novel" —Crimespree Magazine
“Thanks to Simon Brenner, the Austrian Wolf Haas is one of the German-speaking world's premier crime writers, beloved by critics and readers alike.” —Der Spiegel
“This is great art, great fun.”—Germany Radio
“Wolf Haas writes the funniest and cleverest mysteries.”—Die Welt
"I liked the way Haas set up the narration of this story (and I LOVED Brenner)...quite funny, very well done. I will definitely be wanting to pick up the next Melville House Brenner release The Bone Man." Crime Segment
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Brenner and God is the first of Wolf Haas¿s Detective Simon Brenner series to be translated from German to English, though it is the seventh book in the series. It seems like an odd place to begin, but I doubt any one would guess.It was the premise that piqued my interest, introducing Brenner, once a police detective, now a personal chauffeur for a two year old girl, Helena. When Helena goes missing from the limousine while Brenner sips espresso in the service station, it is assumed that she has been kidnapped. The police suspect Brenner is involved, but her parents, a doctor who provides abortions and a construction and property developer giant, have plenty of enemies. When there is no ransom demand, or a body, Brenner decides to investigate the child¿s disappearance only to find himself mired in a cesspit of lies, betrayal and murder.Told in the first person by an omniscient narrator who is never introduced, intermittently addresses the reader directly as well as interjecting opinion, information and judgement, Brenner and God has one of the most unusual styles of narration I have encountered. The effect is initially bewildering and I am not sure I ever quite got used to the quirky voice, even though I admired the author¿s unique approach.Brenner is a cynic with an emerging pill habit and a history of ignoring authority. Despite being warned off becoming involved in the investigation he refuses to step back from the case, driven not only by his sense of guilt but also his belief in doing the right thing. Under suspicion is an anti abortionist campaigner and a cabal of business heavyweights, but even as bodies begin to fall, Brenner doesn¿t get any closer to finding Helena and finds himself, literally in the sh*t.I did enjoy Brenner and God, it¿s entertaining and clever with an appealing protagonist. This is a book for fans of noir detective fiction looking for something unusual and edgy.
I read this book in the original German. While I am not completely fluent, I remember reading a funny, interesting crime drama from a cynical former detective. However, from preliminary readings of the translation, it seems that most of the humor or voice was lost. I am not sure if the translator's native language is English or German, but a lot of the wording is cliche or sounds like it is trying too hard to be "natural", in my opinion.
I'm a huge fan of Haas. It's the voice that makes these books so memorable. Imagine the saddest most cynical detective you can, throw some dark, political crimes his way, but then give him a narrator that mocks and cajoles him the whole way. It's funnier than it has any right to be.
This is a thriller, but the only memorable parts are the occasional attempts at jokes. I fell asleep trying to read it more than any other book I can recall. The author writes as if she is a "story teller", and an irascible one at that, an affectation that annoys, rather than making the story interesting. There is no suspense, nothing to grab your interest, other than regrets at spending money on the book.
I tried to read this book as the synopsis sounded like it would good. I found what I read to be confusing and not interesting. I may not have been in the right mood to appreciate this book.