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Field Gray (Bernard Gunther #7)

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  2,480 ratings  ·  235 reviews
This "The New York Times" bestseller will make the Bernie Gunther series the new gold standard in thrillers.

Bernie Gunther is one of the great protagonists in thriller literature. During his eleven years working homicide in Berlin's Kripo, Bernie learned a thing or two about evil. Then he set himself up as a private detective-until 1940 when Heydrich dragooned him into the
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ebook, 448 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Penguin Books (first published 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Michael
I love the pitch perfect tone in this noir tale set largely in Germany over the period from the 30’s to the 50’s. If you define noir in terms of a cynical, loner detective hero who seeks justice in an environment of pervasive corruption, the lead character Bernie Gunther’s struggle to maintain some kind integrity as a homicide inspector amid the extremist forces of Nazi, Communist, and capitalist factions before, during, and after World War 2 puts this series in the position of classic noir in s ...more
Jason
Field Gray is about the experiences of a Berlin police detective, Bernie Gunther, who becomes entangled in a web of espionage and deceit after being captured by the Red Army in 1945, serving hard time in a Russian POW camp, deflecting back to Germany, escaping to Cuba, being captured by the CIA, and finally being forced to serve for French Intelligence, which ultimately lands him back to his original starting point in Berlin in 1954. Sound interesting? Absolutely! And I felt this novel had such ...more
Adam
He still tells a few jokes but by this point in this series he occupies a landscape so hellish that their about as warming as chuckles in the torture room, this series removes all pretensions of detective novel for a more extensive look and a reexamination of this period of history. The monstrosity of the French concentration camps (in place at the start of the war read Koestler’s Scum of the Earth), the idiotic and murderous insanity of Operation Barbarossa, the murderous onslaught of the Red A ...more
Susan
I fell for Bernie Gunther (and Phillip Kerr) from the moment I started March Violets, and have been following Bernie's exploits ever since.Gunther is a man true only to himself and his own rather twisted morality, yet for some reason you can't help but like him. He is also a complete contradiction - an SS officer who despises the Nazis, a POW of the Russians who refuses to be cowed and a man with no qualms about double-dealing people he cares for to reach his own ends. This is especially true in ...more
Adam
Well, I must admit that I was seduced by what was written on the back cover of this paperback. After about 130 pages of the 563 page book (a Quercus edition, 2011) - a fair whack, my affection for the book had worn thin, and I abandoned it. So these are my comments about a book that might well get better later on. However, as time is limited, I have decided to move on to new reading matter.

I did not like what I read of this thriller because it is too obviously laden with factual information. The
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Rachel
Oh dear oh dear. Why do I put myself through it? Another gripping read about our old friend Bernie, who once again is in a hole and, owing to his capture by the Americans, has to relate his war time exploits. It was never going to be an easy read, I knew that. However when a book makes you look at your sons and wonder what kind of men they will grow into, then you know that it packs a hell of a punch.

There are some weaknesses, Bernie has to be uninvolved in the worst of the fighting and war crim
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William Bentrim
Field Gray by Phillip Kerr


This is apparently the 7th Bernie Gunther novel. I haven’t read any of the others. This one deals with a pre-WWII vintage ex-policeman who is tangled in a web of duplicity that permeates Europe after WWII.

Bernie is awash in a sea of trouble that is primarily not of his making. He seems helpless to chart his own course in a world that was changed so dramatically before, after and during World War II. One of the more interesting things about this book is that it forces y
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Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com
“Field Gray” by Philip Kerr is a fictional novel taking place alternatively between the 1931 and mid 1954, mostly in Berlin. The book is 7th novel starring Bernie Gunther.

The past of Bernie Gunther catches up with in 1954 Cuba while doing work for mobster boss Meyer Lansky. Even though this anti-Nazi PI survived the Nazi régime and a soviet POW camp it seems his history won’t leave him alone.

Landing in the US prison of Guantánamo and later in New York City, Bernie is interrogated by the FBI abou
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Diane Wallis
I've read at least 2 in the series and this was a welcome addition to March Violets and A German Requiem. Why haven't I read A Pale Criminal? I shall soon. Philip Kerr's novels about Bernie Gunther are perfect for those of us who love thrillers about Germany, the lead-up to WWII, the war itself and the aftermath. Both sides of the story are revealed and Gunther is hard-boiled, realistic and a good(ish) guy in the very best German tradition. Never a Nazi, he does object to the post-war American a ...more
James
Another Bernie Gunther thriller. Love this series so it pains me to say that this one is really a little weak. The story starts with Bernie in Cuba and of course very soon getting into trouble with the authorities whereupon he is passed around different spy organizations over the next years with flashbacks to earlier times to provide background to the plot. The style remains chandlerish but found myself always constantly bemused by the story in part because the plot is complex but more because t ...more
Robert James
I've read a number of the Gunther books and this one was by far the worst. I wanted to quit reading a number of times but kept going because I enjoyed the others so much. Hopefully this one was a fluke. I'm not going to give up on Gunther yet.
Toni Osborne
Also published under the title “Field Grey”

Book 7 in the Bernie Gunther mystery series

In this story Bernie Gunther reflects on his past, the good the bad and the ugly. Trying to outrun his shadows has resulted in a lonely life; his personal and political associations have left him a man with a trouble conscience. This is one of Mr. Kerr’s darkest and most complex novels I have read so far.

In the prologue, set in 1950s Cuba, Bernie is living the good life under an assumed name when his life is ch
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KarenC
Feb 25, 2012 KarenC rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to KarenC by: Edgar nomination
Diappointed that I missed previous books in this series. Struck me as an "old fashioned" spy novel of the Cold War period. While central character Bernie Gunther is not a spy, he gets mixed up with several from all of the World War II allied countries plus Germany. The plot is a believeable recounting of Gunther's WWII history, trying to remain a police detective surrounded by military agendas and intrigues.
The time frame goes back and forth between Gunther's current predicament in 1954 and his
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Adam
Well, I must admit that I was seduced by what was written on the back cover of this paperback. After about 130 pages of the 563 page book - a fair whack, my affection for the book had worn thin, and I abandoned it. So these are my comments about a book that might well get better later on. However, as time is limited, I have decided to move on to new reading matter.

I did not like what I read of this thriller because it is too obviously laden with factual information. The facts appear to be more i
...more
Irene
Philip Kerr is a new addition to my list of favorite authors. The varied consensus speculates that one should read the "Bernie Gunther" series in order. Personally, I believe Field Grey unequivocally succeeds as a stand-alone fictional biography of its unconventional protagonist through multi-layered flashbacks.

On the surface, Bernie Gunther appears a bit vapid, but quite emphatically he is a combustible, cunning and knowledgeable former Kripo homicide detective whose photographic memory unfaili
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John Gaynard
What saved the book for me was the way Kerr ranged over the whole German POW experience after WWII. At times, this did slow the plot down, but it provided the reader, who wishes to learn more about those terrible times, with important source material. The Nazis had it coming to them, for the bloodshed they brought to Eastern Europe, but Kerr's novel shows the terrible cost the whole German people paid for making a pact with the devil.

Some people have criticised Bernie Gunther's perceptions of th
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Charles Fields
This is a good story for someone who wants a very detailed look into the life of an unwilling German soldier who goes on to be a POW after the war, then a pawn of governments with a variety of agendas, no morality, and too much power after that.
Like reading history, it will tax your ability to remember lots of names, groups, and dates, as the protagonist has a really messy history. Still, Bernie Gunther is a man we can identify with as he makes the best of one bad situation after another. Don't
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Tuomo
"Field Gray" left me with three major takeaways: a filling in of gaps previously left open in the Bernie Gunther timeline; a cold war spy game in John Le Carré’s or Len Deighton’s tradition; and the realisation that Bernie Gunther must be the most unfortunate protagonist of crime thrillers ever.

Although technically book #7 in the currently nine part series, this is the conclusion of the Bernie Gunther series. Philip Kerr leaves the ending open enough to allow for a continuation of the post-WWII
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Leigh
I try to take the Roger Ebert approach to rating, I rate something according to the genre and what that audience would like. This was without a doubt the best detective novel I've read in a while. I guess the irony here is that the Bernie Gunther series of books have become progressively less about crime fiction and more to do with the murky morality of spying in the Cold War era, and the questioning of many of the stereotypes surrounding German and European WWII history.

This series begins as an
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Andrew Lee
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jake
Another entertaining read in the Bernie Gunther series by Phillip Kerr. There's really not much I can add here that I haven't said in my previous 6 Gunther reviews. If you like the series, you'll like this one but definitely don't start here.
Jonathan
I’ve read all bar one of the Bernie Gunther novels and this was the least enjoyable for me. The plot was pretty complex and largely raced along and kept you hooked, and I liked the switch in time from the mid-fifties to the thirties and the forties. What I found increasingly unlikely and this is common to all the books but more so here, is that the wise – cracking Chandleresque policeman/soldier who voiced such anti-Nazi views would have ended up in a concentration camp long before if not dead; ...more
Michael Magee
The Bernie Gunther books were not written in chronological order, and Field Gray is the last in the series, chronologically speaking, taking place in 1954, with flashbacks to 1931, 1940, 1944 and 1946. If you have read the series in chronological order as I have, you have suffered with Bernie Gunther for more than 20 years. When we met him, he was a police detective in his mid 30's who survived the Great War only to return home and lose his wife and infant son. He was already somewhat broken whe ...more
William
Kerr's Bernie Gunther is one of my favorite characters in crime fiction, but this novel is less about crime and more about espionage and the horrible conditions of both the Russian and German POW camps of World War II. It is 1954 and Gunther makes to leave Cuba where he has been hiding for a few years (and where he was for the last novel, If the Dead Rise Not). While on a boat, he is arrested by the American Coast Guard, and thus begins a trip that includes being held and interrogated by both th ...more
Monica
Bernie Gunther is an ex-Berlin cop, an honest cynic who was forced into the SS but never joined the Nazi Party. In fact, he hates Nazis and Communists equally. It's 1954 - Gunther is living quietly in Cuba, doing a little work for Meyer Lansky, when he is picked up by the U.S. Navy and lands in prison in Guantánamo. He's taken off to prison at Governor's Island in NYC to be interrogated, then to Landsberg Prison in Germany. In each prison he is questioned about his service in WWII, especially ab ...more
Rob Kitchin
Field Grey is the seventh Bernie Gunther novel. In my view it’s one of the best crime series presently being written. The last book – If the Dead Rise Not – was probably the weakest book in the series (despite winning the CWA Ellis Peters award for historical crime fiction), but Field Grey is a real return to form. In fact, I think it’s the strongest of the seven. It is a big book linking together parts of Bernie’s life between 1931 and 1954 and a connected set of events and actors in Germany, F ...more
Graham Powell
Bernie Gunther just wants to be left alone. Wanted for war crimes he didn't commit back in post-WWII Germany, forced to flee from Argentina after he discovers a few uncomfortable facts, he's now living under an assumed name in Cuba, splitting his time between the casinons and the bordellos. Even in Havana he can't find peace, as a secret policeman named Quevedo strong-arms him into turning informant.

So a little boat trip to Haiti seems like a good idea. Especially with a companion like Melba, be
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Althea Ann
I read the Berlin Noir trilogy a few years ago, which contains the first 3 Bernie Gunther novels. I haven't read 4, 5, or 6, so I'm not sure what I missed. However, 'Field Gray' concentrates heavily on backstory.

The reader doesn't realize this at first, which I'm not sure was the best strategy. There's a great setup - Gunther ditching Havana (circa 1950s) on a cigarette boat with a sexy dame who just might be a wanted criminal... but all that is soon all-but-dropped, and we've flashed back to th
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Ruth
C2010: It was refreshing to get back to a book that is so well written. Poor old Bernie – he really has been through the mill and is certainly no hero in the truest sense of the word. “I get like that myself at times: you’re born alone and you die alone and the rest of the time you are on your own.” In this particular episode, Bernie came across as the archetypical grumpy old man who is missing his home, “The sky was too blue and the cars too shiny: the sea was too much like glass and the banana ...more
Tony
Kerr, Philip. FIELD GRAY. (2011). ****.
This is Kerr’s latest episode in the espionage adventures of Bernie Gunther, a one-time detective in Nazi Germany. Gunther is the epitomy of the anti-hero. He was a detective on the Berlin police force from the early 1930s, but, except for a brief period in 1940, never believed in Hitler’s plan for a greater Germany and its 1,000-year Reich. The time is now 1954 and Bernie is working for a U.S. agency keeping tabs on Meyer Lansky and his interests in Cuba
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Kerr has published eleven novels under his full name and a children's series, Children of the Lamp, under the name P.B. Kerr.

More about Philip Kerr...

Other Books in the Series

Bernard Gunther (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • March Violets
  • The Pale Criminal (Bernard Gunther, #2)
  • A German Requiem (Bernard Gunther, #3)
  • The One from the Other (Bernard Gunther, #4)
  • A Quiet Flame (Bernard Gunther, #5)
  • If The Dead Rise Not (Bernard Gunther, #6)
  • Prague Fatale (Bernard Gunther, #8)
  • A Man Without Breath (Bernard Gunther, #9)
  • The Lady from Zagreb (Bernard Gunther, #10)
  • The Other Side of Silence (Bernie Gunther, #11)
Berlin Noir: March Violets / The Pale Criminal / A German Requiem March Violets The One from the Other (Bernard Gunther, #4) Prague Fatale (Bernard Gunther, #8) A Quiet Flame (Bernard Gunther, #5)

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