The One from the Other

2006 ~ Bernie Gunther Book 4

Bernie Gunther, the tough, fast-talking detective who made his first appearance in MARCH VIOLETS in 1989, takes centerstage in this twist-filled thriller that turned Philip Kerr's German trilogy into a surprise-filled quartet. Readers had to wait 15 years for Bernie's resurrection. The return is not disappointing. Gunther is the ideal narrator for Philip Kerr's bleak tale of the dirty deals made by victors and vanquished alike in postwar Germany.

Munich, 1949. Amid the chaos of defeat, it's a place of dirty deals, rampant greed, fleeing war criminals, and all the backstabbing intrigue that prospers in the aftermath of war. A place where a private eye can find a lot of not-quite-reputable work: cleaning up the Nazi past of well-to-do locals, abetting fugitives in the flight abroad, sorting out rival claims to stolen goods. It's work that fills Bernie with disgust -- but it also fills his sorely depleted wallet. Then a woman seeks him out. Her husband has disappeared. She's not looking to get him back—he's a wanted man who ran one of the most vicious concentration camps in Poland. She just wants confirmation that he's dead. It's a simple enough job. But in postwar Germany, nothing is simple... Taking the case, Bernie takes on far more than he'd bargained for, and he soon finds himself on the run, facing enemies on every side. Because in a defeated and divided Germany, it's hard to know friends from enemies, the one from the other...

Critical Praise

"A welcome return [of Bernie Gunther]... A somber, melancholy, compelling work, THE ONE FROM THE OTHER stretches the notion of entertaining fiction to breaking point... Philip Kerr impressively sustains the novel's parched, opportunistic, bottomlessly comprised world. Where next for Bernie Gunther?" ~ The Times Literary Supplement

"It is a highly entertaining book, imaginatively conceived and smartly executed. Although it stands as a remarkable work of historical fiction, fans of hard-boiled detective stories will not be disappointed." ~ Historical Novels Review

"Once more, Kerr demonstrates his mastery of a time well-mined in fiction but still rife for exploration." ~ The Baltimore Sun

"Kerr's book is his spectacular follow-up to his extraordinarily brilliant BERLIN NOIR trilogy. Kerr is the only bona fide heir to Raymond Chandler that I have ever come across; his German private detective Bernie Gunther would have been respected by Philip Marlowe and the two of them would have enjoyed sitting down at a bar and talking. One of the things that is so amazing about Kerr's four Bernie Gunther novels, to me, is that while the books are ostensibly hard-boiled mysteries, they gave me a glimpse into the incomprehensible horrors of the Second World War and the Holocaust in much the same way D.M. Thomas's THE WHITE HOTEL and Spiegelman's MAUS once did. For me they are all works of art that for a moment enabled me to grasp the unimaginable, before my mind clouded over and returned to the safety of the quotidian." ~ Jonathan Ames

"Kerr's stylish noir writing makes every page a joy to read." ~ Publishers Weekly

"I discovered—and devoured—Mr. Kerr's new noir, THE ONE FROM THE OTHER. It crystallized my dissatisfaction with recent le Carre novels (clumsily didactic) and made me rethink my addiction to Alan Furst's oeuvre (brilliant but a bit too thickly varnished with romantic glamour)... The achievement of Philip Kerr's novels is that he takes his Chandler/Hammett-style detective, that lone figure in the (largely ahistorical) mean streets of the urban jungle, into the midst of a far more highly charged historical backdrop, a different, more profoundly mean—indeed, evil—sort of mean-street neighborhood, the crossroads of history and tragedy. Mr. Kerr has set his detective on an Inferno-like trajectory that takes us deep into the heart of darkness." ~ The New York Observer

"Bernie's wicked wit is a delight, the plot is gripping, and the historical settings are masterfully developed... [His] dazzling touch will sweep readers away." ~ Library Journal

"Because he never had any illusions to begin with, Gunther is the ideal narrator for Kerr's bleak tale of the dirty deals made by victors and vanquished alike. Having learned that there's no way to distinguish 'the one from the other,' the cynical P.I. has the moral clarity to see through the deceit and hypocrisy of both friend and foe. He's the right kind of hero for his time—and ours." ~ The New York Times

"It is to be sincerely hoped that a very large number of readers buy this book so that Mr. Kerr won't be tempted to abandon Bernie Gunther again, and that his adventures will continue for many years. Even if the author wants to torture his hero, he shouldn't do it to his readers." ~ The New York Sun


Publishers Weekly
The Washington Post
Kirkus Reviews
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Open Letters Monthly

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