Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Publication Date: 2 July 2013
Format: Paperback, 448 pgs
Set in war-torn Yugoslavia, military intelligence officer Captain Gregor Reinhardt is called upon to investigate a case involving a death of a beautiful young woman and a German officer. They have been brutally murdered and Major Freilinger, Captain Reinhardt's superior, thinks he's the best person to assist the Sarajevo police, Inspector Andro Padelin. After all, Reinhardt has nearly twenty years as a detective in the Berlin Kriminalpolizei. Homicide and organised crime is nothing new to him. Then again, Reinhardt is also haunted by his wartime actions and the mistakes he's made off the battlefield.
Back to the case, the Croat wants to find the killer of Marija Vukić, the dead woman who used to be a filmmaker and a journalist. Lieutenant Hendel, the other dead intelligence officer, is the reason why Major Freilinger is adamant to get one of his own men to look into this case. What are the chances that the two deaths are connected and why? As Reinhardt goes around asking questions, he found out that not many people he enquired is interested in Hendel's death but more interested in Marija and her social life with many senior officers. It seems she had the likes of them and her behaviours might have sparked some anger from officers who are younger and junior. But is jealousy and hatred really the reasons? And why Reinhardt has the impression that the Croatian and even Padelin have something to hide? Even Major Freilinger has seemed to warn him not to inquire much further with the senior officers, or the Waffen SS without an evidence. Something's real fishy but what?
The Man from Berlin is the first of a series introducing Captain Gregor Reinhardt. Set amidst the chaos of WWII, the book is filled with history, military politics and of course, the mystery. Reinhardt is an interesting character; and despite the war scars he's carrying he remains his composure and carry out his duties diligently. It must be these traits that also leads his life into danger and jeopardy, as he wades his way through the political and military minefields. It is also inevitable that personal agendas are involved, given his rank and his past moments during the war. While I wasn't very much interested in ranks and war political, I find these didn't really bother me as I raced through the story due to Reinhardt's determination and efficiency in carrying out his job. I rooted for him and hoped he would crack the case. And what did I think of this book? I thought it was an amazing first novel featuring Captain Gregor Reinhardt. If you are into history, politics and mystery, then this book is for you.