2007: #116 – Straight Into Darkness (Faye Kellerman)

13986514 Book #116 was Straight into Darkness by Faye Kellerman.  The back of the book reads:

With ten consecutive New York Times bestsellers, Faye Kellerman is truly a "master of mystery" (Cleveland Plain Dealer). Now she turns her acute eye on 1920s Munich, a war-wounded city rocked by political agitation and stalked by a nameless, barbaric butcher.

Lustmord-the joy of murder. The terrifying concept seems apt for the brutal slaying of a beautiful young society wife dumped in the vast English Garden. Homicide inspector Axel Berg is horrified by the crime…and disturbed by the artful arrangement of the victim’s clothes and hair-a madman’s portrait of death.

Berg’s superiors demand quick answers and a quick arrest: a vagrant, the woman’s husband, anyone who can be demonized will do. When a second body is discovered, the city erupts into panic, the unrest fomented by the wild-eyed, hate-mongering Austrian Adolf Hitler and his Brownshirt party of young thugs.

Berg can trust no one as he relentlessly hunts a ruthless killer, dodging faceless enemies and back-alley intrigue, struggling to bring a fiend to justice before the country-and his life-veer straight into darkness.

I thought this was quite good, and a departure for Mrs. Kellerman. Axel Berg is not the morally sound police detective you’re used to seeing as the main character in a novel like this. Berg is flawed and imperfect and realistic, much like Munich itself in 1929. The roiling political climate makes an excellent backdrop to the story. The end is unexpected, but not unthinkable.

Page count: 510 | Word count: 122,017

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