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Field Gray (Bernie Gunther #7)

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  3,367 Ratings  ·  287 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 October 28th 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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
Jun 30, 2011 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Adam
Sep 06, 2013 Adam rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Susan
Apr 14, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, historical
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
Rachel
Sep 15, 2010 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...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.
Nigeyb
Nov 28, 2016 Nigeyb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'Field Gray' (Bernie Günther #7) continues immediately where 'If The Dead Rise Not’ finished. Bernie is still in Batista’s Havana in 1954 living under his false identity and both working for, and reluctantly spying on, Meyer Lansky for the secret police. He decides to flee to Haiti. Sadly for him, his female companion has killed a police captain for Fidel Castro and, when they are stopped en route, Bernie is also arrested because he’s still wanted for murder in Germany. Soon he’s in the custody ...more
Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com
Apr 04, 2011 Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
“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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William Bentrim
Mar 28, 2011 William Bentrim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Diane Wallis
Feb 24, 2011 Diane Wallis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Donald Luther
Dec 05, 2013 Donald Luther rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is probably Kerr's most complex tale of Bernhard Gunther, following him from 1931 and the murder of two Berlin policemen by a German communist during a street battle against the SA up to 1954 and his escape from the last of a series of imprisonments. The character who ties all of these disparate adventures together is the perpetrator of the above-mentioned murders, Erich Mielke, a real-life horror of a human being. Also along for the ride is Elizabeth, whom Bernie encounters several times t ...more
Toni Osborne
Dec 22, 2011 Toni Osborne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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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Althea Ann
Dec 03, 2011 Althea Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
KarenC
Feb 25, 2012 KarenC rated it liked it  ·  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
...more
Adam
Sep 02, 2013 Adam rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 19, 2011 Irene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookswap, arc
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
...more
John Gaynard
Nov 09, 2011 John Gaynard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 29, 2012 Charles Fields rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Sam Reaves
Sep 03, 2012 Sam Reaves rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Philip Kerr has done some really interesting things with this series, which started out as an inspired twist on the PI genre and has become a tour of the nightmare heart of the 20th century. This one finds Bernie Gunther on the Eastern Front and points west as the wheels come off the Nazi war machine and Germany pays the price.
Jake
Sep 02, 2011 Jake rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Wayne Zurl
Dec 08, 2016 Wayne Zurl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
FIELD GRAY by Philip Kerr…..

Bernie Günther, the guy I describe as the German Philip Marlowe is back again in FIELD GRAY. But this time Bernie isn’t a pre-war Kripo homicide detective or Berlin private eye. He’s been conscripted into the Waffen SS as an intelligence officer eventually sent to the Russian front.

The story begins with Bernie in 1954 Havana, working as head of casino security for the infamous Meyer Lansky and hobnobbing with another famous character, Graham Greene. The good-natured B
...more
Alison Hardtmann
Philip Kerr wrote a brilliant trilogy published in an omnibus edition as Berlin Noir about a detective in the hardboiled tradition. Bernie Gunther had a talent for witty banter that got him punched more often than not, an independent spirit and an eye for the ladies. The twist? Bernie lived and worked in Berlin in the 1930s and 40s, where survival often depended on one's ability to toe the line and no one's hands were clean.

He smiled without smiling--the sort of expression a snake has when it op
...more
Paul
Feb 15, 2017 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably the weakest entry in the series so far, but an entertaining read nonetheless. The scope of this book is vast, and to a certain extent serves as a summary of Bernie Gunther's life up until 1954. The attention to historical detail is good, but the central story is somewhat flat, and it lacks the excitement of earlier books in the series.
Rhonda Bentley
Interesting read but not my kind of book
Yvonne Alexis
Intricate tale of criminal and other nefarious deeds during and beyond the end of the second world war, told from the perspective of a former cop, former SS officer Bernie Gunther. I've read several of Philip Kerr's books, this was readable, but not one of my favourites. A great deal of historical information, which I'm sure was well researched, but more than I needed to know really.

Well worth reading though...
Mal Warwick
Oct 06, 2016 Mal Warwick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Havana, 1954. This is Bernie Gunther’s story. A former German officer, living under an assumed name. A high-ranking Cuban intelligence officer has threatened to kill him unless he refuses to spy on his boss, the American gangster Meyer Lansky. Since neither alternative is appealing, Bernie has resolved to flee Cuba for Haiti. He has no sooner made his escape from the island on a powerboat than he is forced to allow the US Navy to search his vessel. There, they discover his ride-along, a young wo ...more
Frank Kelly
Oct 01, 2016 Frank Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Like comfort food on a cold, rainy day - always wonderful, horrifying, funny and fascinating at the same time.
Stephen
Oct 02, 2013 Stephen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bernie Gunther survived Hitler's Germany and a Soviet prison camp, so when he's forcefully detained by the American Navy on the open seas and interrogated, he's not too much impressed by their attempt at viciousness. Sure, he had the bad luck to be traveling with an attractive lady who happened to be wanted by the American government for assassinating a cop in Cuba and fomenting revolution, but he's had worse luck. Back in the 1930s, he once saved the life of another cop killer who is now one of ...more
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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.

Librarian’s note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
More about Philip Kerr...

Other Books in the Series

Bernie Gunther (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • March Violets (Bernard Gunther, #1)
  • 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)

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