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The Killing of Emma Gross

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  111 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Based on the true story of notorious serial killer Peter Kürten and the unsolved murder of Düsseldorf prostitute Emma Gross…

Düsseldorf, 1st March 1929, the dying days of the Weimar Republic. A prostitute is found dead in a cheap hotel room, brutally murdered. But her death is soon forgotten as the city's police hunt a maniac attacking innocent women and children. A killer
Kindle Edition, 264 pages
Published November 27th 2011 by Blasted Heath
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Nov 03, 2014 Raven rated it really liked it
I have recently attended CrimeFest in Bristol and saw Damien Seaman on a couple of the crime panels in which he mentioned his book, currently only available in e-book format. I was very intrigued by the premise of the story which is a historical re-imagining of the infamous serial killer Peter Kurten aka ‘The Vampire of Dusseldorf’ set in the 1920‘s so hastily downloaded it. I was thoroughly gripped from start to finish and found Seaman’s recreation of this period utterly real and with close adh ...more
Nigel Bird
Dec 30, 2011 Nigel Bird rated it it was amazing
The Killing Of Emma Gross is based upon a true story, set in a period when ‘the Ripper’ (or ‘Vampire Of Dusseldorf’) was terrorising families in Germany in the late 1920s.

The murder we’re concerned with is of one Emma Gross, a prostitute found killed in the room of a seedy hotel where customers pay by the hour. It’s one that comes as part of a rather unfortunate package.

Seaman takes the idea of this unsolved case and weaves a wonderful story for the reader to delight in.

The book opens with Detec
Dec 20, 2011 Josh rated it really liked it
The Killing of Emma Gross chronicles the reign of notorious serial killer Peter Kürten in which late 1920's/early 1930's saw Düsseldorf's own Jack the Ripper terrorise residents and taunt police in a spree which can be compared to modern day horrors typically more macabre and heinous than those of the bygone era.

Damien Seaman invokes the provocative and nurtures the killers' prerogative through blood red lenses as he depicts a period piece where artistic licence and fact bleed a more daring form
Nancy Oakes
Jul 09, 2013 Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: readers of dark crime
Recommended to Nancy by: I can't remember
I have the Five Leaves Crime version of this novel -- the cover picture is so much better than the edition listed here. (Give it a look-see here.

As I've been known to say for some time, I like my crime fiction dark and edgy. The Killing of Emma Gross is both of those things, and is based around the real-life case of Peter Kürten, the so-called "vampire of Düsseldorf" or "monster of Düsseldorf," a serial killer who plied his trade during the days of Germany's Weimar Republic (1919-1933). The auth
Katherine Tomlinson
Jan 16, 2012 Katherine Tomlinson rated it it was amazing
March, 1929…a prostitute named Emma Gross is killed in a Dusseldorf hotel room and her body mutilated so the wounds mimic those borne by two other murder victims. Johann Stausberg confesses to all three crimes and is sent to Grafenberg Asylum for the criminally insane. That should have been that, but a year later, the arrest of serienmörder (serial killer) Peter Kürten brings to light certain discrepancies that investigating officer Thomas Klein simply can’t ignore. And it doesn’t hurt that prov ...more
Sep 19, 2012 Louise rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rebecca McNutt
Creepy, and the content will linger in your mind long after you read it, but this book was really morbid and I was more interested in the police procedures than hearing a bunch of PSYCHOlogy nuts' theories about killers. I like crime fiction but only when there's more to it than just disturbing content.
Nov 03, 2014 Quentin rated it it was amazing
Excellent. One of the best things I've read this year.
Anthony Cardenas
Sep 16, 2012 Anthony Cardenas rated it really liked it
I really, REALLY liked this book. More than I thought I would. I usually don't read "based on a true story" type of fiction, as I'm almost too tempted to look up the subject matter on the internet ahead of time and have it all spoiled for me before I even read the story. Thankfully, I knew nothing of the historical case, and I kept my curiosity reserved for the actual book, which was an absolute pleasure to read.

I won't repeat the synopsis, as the book description pretty much says it all. The wr
Dec 18, 2015 Elusive rated it it was ok
Shelves: review
Based on a true story, ‘The Killing of Emma Gross’ is about a prostitute who is found dead in a hotel room. Meanwhile, the police are focusing on capturing a serial killer nicknamed the Ripper. It is up to Detective Thomas Klein to determine if there is any connection between the prostitute and the serial killer.

This story held so much promise but it ultimately didn’t quite deliver. The opening scene itself was a massive mistake as it revealed the identity of the person involved in the prostitut
Nov 03, 2014 Midnight rated it it was amazing
I found this very clever combination of fact and fiction totally riveting. Most good fiction has a loose foundation on actual experiences or events with a generous dollop of the author’s imagination. In this story, Damien Seaman takes an actual historical ‘cold case’ and places his own twist on it.

The story is set in Germany from March 1929; a period when a killer daubed ‘The Ripper’ and the ‘Vampire of Dusseldorf’ by the media is alluding police. During this time, prostitute Emma Gross was murd
Nov 03, 2014 Kath rated it it was amazing
I have been a follower of Blasted Heath since they went live and, when I read the blurb about this book, pre-ordered it in a flash mainly because I was intrigued by the concept of injecting fiction into a very well known murder enquiry.
I am pleased to say that my expectations were not just met but totally superseded. Attention to detail was perfect, and the amount of research done was clearly evident. The timeline at the end of the book added an extra dimension and did actually leave me wanting
Jun 26, 2012 Scot rated it liked it
This debut novel by author Damien Seaman gets points with me for being based upon a carefully researched hisotircal incident, the serial killings of "the Vampire of Dusseldorf" in the late 1920s. A researched chronology of the actual historical events is a useful and interesting addendum.

The narrator, a heroic hard boiled type with the requisite code of honor and a wry sense of humor, has to deal with the political machinations and underhandedness of a former partner--whom, we later learn, he cu
Mark Satchwill
Nov 03, 2014 Mark Satchwill rated it it was amazing
Taking inspiration from the real life crimes of the "Vampire of Dusseldorf", Peter Kurten, Damien Seaman's debut novel is a dark and gritty crime thriller set in Weimar-era Germany.
Emma Gross, a prostitute, is murdered. A simple young man, Johann Stausberg confesses to the murder, and to two others, and is thrown in an asylum. So why is newly arrested Peter Kurten, keen to form a bond with officer Thomas Klein, confessing to the murder as well? Is this a chance to humiliate his ex-partner Micha
Chris Longmuir
Nov 03, 2014 Chris Longmuir rated it it was amazing
There isn’t much joy in this book, not only is the story dark, but the austerity of post war Germany paints a bleak picture. This is a historical crime story, based partly on the serial killer, Peter Kurten, otherwise known as the Dusseldorf Ripper. Thomas Klein, the investigator, is a dark, moody character, fighting the establishment as well as investigating the murder of Emma Gross. He is not convinced that Gross was one of Kurten’s victims, although his superiors would prefer that she was. Th ...more
Rob Kitchin
Oct 06, 2012 Rob Kitchin rated it it was amazing
The Killing of Emma Gross is a well constructed historical police procedural that is based on the story of the real Dusseldorf ripper, Peter Kurten, using real characters from the case such as Inspector Gennat and the pathologist. The story is gritty, edgy and dark, with a nice tension running throughout centred on the fraught rivalry between Klein and Ritter, and Berlin Kripo's presence. The plot is well paced and as it unfolds becomes a real page-turner. The characterisation is excellent throu ...more
Oct 31, 2012 Kurt rated it it was ok
Nah. Such a promising historical setting -- Dusseldorf, Germany, in the 1930s. Meeting up with psychotic murderer/ripper Peter Kuerten should have been enough to pump my interest, but the author lets it all drag while insisting on having our narrator trap the evil police detective. One of the factors that makes this feel rather pointless is that the reader is shown the crime of this detective character in the first pages of the novel -- and the subsequent efforts of the narrator to expose him ar ...more
May 18, 2012 Peggy rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, ebook
This is the first novel by Damien Seaman and I am looking forward to more from this talented writer! He combines fact and fiction, shaping real events and fictional events into one great tale. There's a character you love to root for and one you can't wait to see get his due. The wonderful build of anticipation kept me flipping pages until I finished. I really appreciated the historical note and actual timeline at the end.

Jul 27, 2014 Peveril rated it it was ok
I bought this for the period elements. I'm no great reader if crime thrillers so cant comment, though it didn't seem that great ti me. My main gripe is that I never really felt a sense of the time and place. Some specifics thrown in, presumably accurately rsearched felt, well, 'thrown in' only.
I reached a point after reading chunks in between other things that I just thought I ought to finish haing come so far.
Rory Costello
May 25, 2014 Rory Costello rated it really liked it
The atmosphere here is the greatest strength. Seaman does a superb job in depicting Germany just before Hitler came to power; he really knows his stuff. Klein is a very strong character and the supporting cast is well done too. I only wish Seaman had made one crucial different choice in his plotline (which I won't mention because it's a spoiler).
Nov 03, 2014 Kate rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, it had me gripped from the first page to the last. Based on actual events Damien Seaman weaves a story that shows the darker side of humanity alongside facets of hope and goodness.
Ray Melville
Jan 23, 2013 Ray Melville rated it really liked it
A ggod read, very much in the style of the Bernie Gunther series: jaundiced detective with chip on his shouloder and a disrespect for authority.
Betty Young
Oct 06, 2012 Betty Young rated it really liked it
I found myself researching the real case as I read the book. Although this story is embellished greatly, it is still a great read!
Nov 22, 2016 Jack rated it really liked it
Set in Germany between the wars, the novel uses the real life serial killer Peter Kurten as the backdrop for a clever mystery.
Anthony Smith
Mar 08, 2013 Anthony Smith rated it it was amazing
This is a great, great novel. I love the feel, the mood, the characters. Just deserves a huge readership, says me. If you like Kerr's Gunther books, then you want to grab it, certainly.
Ruth Dudley Edwards
Nov 03, 2014 Ruth Dudley Edwards rated it it was amazing
This is brilliant. Have a look at amazon to see innumerable appreciative reviews. It's just on kindle at present, but deserves to be available in every format.
Jane Shaw
Jane Shaw rated it liked it
Apr 10, 2014
Neil rated it liked it
Jun 01, 2014
Fiona Hewlett-parker
Fiona Hewlett-parker rated it did not like it
May 13, 2014
Samantha Gilbert
Samantha Gilbert rated it liked it
Jul 09, 2015
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A former journalist, editor, parliamentary assistant, financial analyst, factory worker and security guard, Damien has lived in Belgium, Germany and Libya.

He has a degree in modern history from the University of Oxford and a morbid fear of camels that he doesn't like to talk about.
More about Damien Seaman...

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