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The Widow Killer

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  137 ratings  ·  25 reviews
In Prague during the final months of the Nazi occupation, a sadistic killer consumed by his own psychopathic agenda relentlessly stalks his victims.
Hardcover, 391 pages
Published October 1st 1998 by St. Martin's Press (first published 1995)
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Kohout is a Czech writer who was one of the leaders of the 1968 Prague Spring revolt. His work was ruthlessly suppressed for twenty years. This mystery of his is set in Prague during the later years of W.W. II.
The complexities of wartime Czechoslovakia are rendered as an engrossing mystery story. A psychopathic killer is murdering widows. The Gestapo take little interest until a German resident is killed and the investigation begins to show a pattern and links to other killings. Erwin Buback, u
Set in Prague, during World War II, this novel blends the genre line between historical fiction and literary mystery into a quite pleasurable read. The richly described setting revolves around a quite interesting murder case. Kohout manages to bring together characters from opposite sides of the War, and makes them both surprisingly sympathetic as they work together to solve this string of ghastly murders. The tension - from both the murders and the War - mounts with more tragic events and a few ...more
Anna Prejanò
Ultimi giorni del Terzo Reich a Praga. La polizia criminale indaga su un assassino seriale mentre la città precipita nel caos e si prepara a passare dal regime nazista a quello comunista.
Non avrei mai letto un libro con questo soggetto se non fosse stato scritto da Pavel Kohout, autore di uno dei romanzi che più ho amato ultimamente: "La carnefice".
A Kohout la storia del proprio Paese (da cui fu espulso) sta molto a cuore, ed è capace di raccontare come andarono le cose in modo più chiaro di q
Czechoslovakia. World War II. Serial killer.

One would think I would have been all over this one, all of the elements were in place for what should have been a thoroughly gripping book. I was even looking forward to reading it. Even with the setting and the story and all of the other details I should have been jonesing for, I never once got into this book. I read the entire thing, I tried to care even a little bit about any of the characters, but I absolutely could not. I kept reading in order to
Part serial killer procedural, part war novel, the combination makes for an intriguing read.

While the crime story elements are all very familiar, the setting and the characters elevate the story beyond the limits of that storyline. By setting the story in Prague toward the end of World War II, the author has created a unique political and moral environment that raises a number of interesting questions.

Tragic, thought-provoking, and well-paced (it might be slow for some, but the pace always felt
I can't say that I greatly enjoyed the writing style, but the story is great. WWII just before the end of the war, Prague still occupied by the Nazis, resistance growng fast, the Germans know they're about to lose but all play it cool. The country's boiling underneath. In this setting we meet various characters on both sides ... chief among them a serial killer. As they would today, he lives his blood lust in secrecy ,,, but when all hell breaks loose, he joins the resistance and suddenly finds ...more
Mar 17, 2008 Dennis rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: historical thriller buffs
I think living in the Czech Republic for many years and understanding this strange attempt to straddle surving repeated conquest versus fighting for your country helped me understand the internal struggles going on here, and the opportunity to kick people when they're down in a show of "bravery" is universal. Taking a murder thriller and setting it in the middle of total chaos was brilliant, something I haven't seen since perhaps Len Deighton's "SS-GB", and it's historical part was reminiscent o ...more
Lynn Weber
This was an interesting mystery/crime novel set in the last months of the Nazi occupation of Prague. A German Gestapo agent is assigned to help a young Czech policeman work on a serial-killer case, and in the course of the investigation the two break through their political barriers and become friendly. In the end their ability to relate to each other personally provides them both with a safety net during the difficult transition as the Nazis prepare to retreat. I particularly enjoyed the remind ...more
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The story here takes place in Prague as the end of WWII is nearing. The Germans are afraid that the Czechs will take their anger out on them personally for the crimes of the Reich. The Czechs are afraid that they will bear the brunt of the German wrath if they try to organize and nationalize. The whole thing plays out against a plotline of a murdering psychopath as the police try to catch him. Suspenseful at first, slow and boring in the end.
Jeremy Hornik
A terrific thriller. It's sort of like "Red Dragon", if "Red Dragon" were set in a city occupied by increasingly lame-duck Nazis, everything has deep political implications, and the main characters were two civil detectives, a Czech and a German, who just want to get their jobs done. A fantastic page-turner. The last half of the book, set in the five days of the 1945 Prague uprising, kept me up reading until after midnight.
I liked this book a lot. I didn't/don't know too much about Checkoslovakia in WW11 or Prague Spring and all of that, so I learned a little something. I liked most of the characters...Grete kind of bugged me...or maybe I just don't like the title my love....that bugs me. It was a good story, suspenseful...I like Jan a lot, not just because my name is Jan...I think the book is interesting mostly because of the man who wrote it.
Sam Reaves
A serial killer is on the loose in occupied Prague late in World War II, and a young Czech detective is teamed with a Gestapo officer to reel him in. The German is beginning to think he's on the wrong side; the Czech just wants to survive the war so he and his sweetheart can have a family... The looming collapse of the Third Reich complicates everything. Blood and intrigue in a complicated thriller.
this is a good story and well written, but with nazis and a sadistic sicko serial killer, it can be pretty dark at times and i have to put it down for a time lest i begin to fear fear the dark, like a child.

It was overdue at the library and I just could not muster the enthusiasm to finish it. I had better books to read. Not that this isn't a good one, but I did had to kind of make myself read it.
It's been so long since I could read for pleasure that I forgot what it was like to stay up late because I couldn't wait until the next night to see how it ended. It's rather gory and does NOT have a fairy tale ending, but I was thoroughly entertained.
El título en español ('La Hora Estelar de los Asesinos') probablemente no le hace justicia... Novela negra de ambientación histórica: final de la Segunda Guerra Mundial en Praga (Checoslovaquia).

Ideal para los que disfrutaron con 'El Niño 44'...
The typical book of murders, but far more than it. A book that can gather the most tipical taste of the juvenile readers with a interesting and deep reflexion about the nearer european history. Perfect for a high school.
Great murder mystery set in the closing days of WWII. Kohout captures the complex politics and personal relationships people had to navigate to stay alive (or not).
Jun 12, 2009 Chris added it
Mediocre novel by Czech aughor. Serial killer during Occupied Czech WW11. Superficial and no themes developed.
Laurie Vosen
I liked this book, and thought the WWII aspect of it was fascinating. A little gory though maybe for some people.
I found it an interesting read from a historical point of view, but it can be a bit heavy at times.
Kayla S.
This is an amazing book.
A great murder mystery for all you CSI geek fans.
Prague. Translated from the Czech.
it was too slow in places...blech.
Zacharias is currently reading it
Oct 24, 2014
Steve marked it as to-read
Sep 20, 2014
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