A solid thriller set amid riveting historical events in the seedy underbelly of a city—and a world—slowly going mad.

THE SLEEPWALKERS

In Grossman’s debut novel, a Jewish cop in 1932 Berlin hunts the perpetrators of a grotesque crime, against a backdrop of political turmoil.

Willi Kraus, the cop famous for catching the infamous Kinderfresser child murderer some years back, is called to a riverside crime scene on the outskirts of Berlin. The body of a young woman has washed up, and she’s been mutilated—someone has expertly grafted the bones in her calves on backwards. But before the investigation into this bizarre crime can begin, Willi receives another assignment, this time from President Hindenburg. A Bulgarian princess has gone missing while visiting Berlin, "sleepwalking" (in the words of the doorman at her hotel) into the night, and Willi is to drop everything and find her. Willi decides it’s too much of a coincidence that the somnambulant princess went to see the Great Gustave’s hypnotism act at a nightclub the evening she disappeared. When Gustave’s name comes up in the case of the dead girl, and after Willi and his loyal assistant find evidence of dozens of girls sleepwalking away into the ether in recently years, Willi is convinced that Gustave is hypnotizing girls with great legs, and sending them off into the hands of some evil master orthopedic surgeon. Meanwhile, Willi has become entangled with a prostitute named Putzi, the dead girl’s roommate. In order to help avenge her friend’s death, Putzi comes up with a scheme that involves her being hypnotized by Gustave, while Willi and his gadfly journalist friend Fritz follow along. It seems foolproof. But in Berlin in 1932, nothing is certain. Stripped of its setting, this book is a fairly straightforward thriller, but surrounded by the dramatic events of the Nazi rise to power, it takes on added heft and a relentless drive.

A solid thriller set amid riveting historical events in the seedy underbelly of a city—and a world—slowly going mad.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-312-60190-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

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A high-fatality, low-octane procedural that has its points but lacks the wow factor. Bring back Lucas Davenport.

DARK OF THE MOON

Virgil Flowers, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator introduced as a sidekick to Lucas Davenport in Invisible Prey (2007), gets a death-enriched case of his own.

In a little town like Bluestem, everybody knows everybody’s business, and what everybody knows these days is that everybody’s getting killed. The flagship victim is Bill Judd, 82, the wealthy lawyer/banker/trader who made enemies right and left with a Jerusalem artichoke pyramid scheme 20 years ago. He’s an obvious target for the methodical arsonist who burned down his house with him inside. But the other victims are much more inoffensive: ancient physician Russell Gleason and his wife, retired Stark County sheriff Roman Schmidt and his wife. The current sheriff, Jimmy Stryker, doesn’t mind working with a BCA type like Virgil. He doesn’t even mind the sidelong gazes Virgil casts at his recently divorced sister, Joan Carson. And he brings up his share of promising ideas about the case, which involves money laundering, a meth lab, a surprise claimant to the Judd estate and a truly nasty man of the cloth. But could he be the target of his own manhunt? The advanced age of the victims makes Virgil think that the crimes could have deep roots—maybe as deep as a “man on the moon” party Bill Judd hosted back in 1969. Sadly, it seems to take another 38 years for Virgil and company, making endless rounds of Bluestem to ask really obvious questions, to close the case. The pace is so much slower than when Davenport is in charge that you may wonder if Virgil, a perfectly reasonable hero, is under sedation. It’s not until the Acknowledgments, which are deferred till the end of the story, that this last and deepest mystery is cleared up.

A high-fatality, low-octane procedural that has its points but lacks the wow factor. Bring back Lucas Davenport.

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-399-15477-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2007

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A gloriously exciting yarn whose spell will end the moment you turn the last page.

TELL NO ONE

What’s worse than learning that your wife’s been abducted and murdered by a madman? Learning that she hasn’t—in this taut, twisty dose of suspenseful hokum from the gifted chronicler of sleuthing sports-agent Myron Bolitar (Darkest Fear, 2000, etc.).

For all the pain Manhattan pediatrician Dr. David Beck has suffered in the eight years since his childhood sweetheart Elizabeth, his bride of seven months, was torn away from him and later found dead, the case itself was open and shut: She was tortured, branded, and slain by the perp calling himself KillRoy, now doing life on 14 counts of homicide. But the case pops open again with the discovery of two corpses buried near the murder site, along with the baseball bat that was used to incapacitate Beck during the abduction, and with a jolting e-mail Beck’s received from somebody who looks just like Elizabeth. If the message is bogus, how was it faked? And if it’s genuine, why has Elizabeth been hiding for eight years, why has she come back now, and whose body did her father, New York homicide cop Hoyt Parker, identify as hers and bury in her grave? A face-to-face rendezvous that Beck’s mysterious correspondent sets up in Washington Square promises answers—but when it’s time for the meeting, Beck is being hunted by the police for a murder a lot less than eight years old. Aided by celebrity lawyer Hester Crimstein, grateful drug-dealer Tyrese Barton, and his own sister Linda’s lover—that glamorous plus-size model Shauna—Beck goes up against even more improbable foes, from ruthless zillionaire developer Griffin Scope to bare-hands killer Eric Wu, in a quest for answers that’ll have you burning the midnight oil till 3:00 a.m. and scratching your head in disbelief when you wake up the next morning.

A gloriously exciting yarn whose spell will end the moment you turn the last page.

Pub Date: June 12, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-33555-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2001

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