Brenner and God
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Brenner and God (Brenner #7)

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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  390 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Introducing one of Europe's most widely popular detective series

Wanting out of high-stress detective work, Simon Brenner takes a calming job as a chauffeur, shuttling a two-year-old girl back and forth in a soothing ride along the Autobahn between her father, a construction tycoon in Munich, and her mother, an abortion doctor in Vienna.

Except then one day he stops at a g...more
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Published June 26th 2012 by Melville International Crime (first published January 1st 2009)
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Chad Post
I don't read a lot of detective books, but picked this up based on Tom Roberge's recommendation and "The Weather Fifteen Years Ago," which is absolutely brilliant. Anyway, the book itself is totally fine and does exactly what it's supposed to do--sets forth a mystery, keeps the reader guessing a bit, includes a bit of sexy, a bit of violence, a few tight situations, all resolved in the end by our intrepid hero, Brenner.

But. Haas's writing style annoys the shit out of me. First off, there are a...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

I'm never a good person to listen to when it comes to crime novels, because I'm not really much of a fan of the genre; and then when it comes to Wolf Haas' Brenner and God, the English debut of what is apparently a hugely popular series in Europe, there's an additional problem, which is that the translatio...more
Nancy Oakes
Funny in a dark humor sort of way, and I really liked it; it also has one of the ickiest situations in a crime novel I've ever read.

Ex-cop Simon Brenner has finally found a profession he actually likes and someone who "understands him better that most adults he's had anything to do with in his life." Brenner works as a chauffeur for the Kressdorfs, the parents of two year-old Helena, with whom he can discuss his problems and worries while he's driving her out on the Autobahn. It's a great arrang...more
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
Brenner and God is the first of Wolf Haas's Detective Simon Brenner series to be translated from German to English, though it is the seventh book in the series. It seems like an odd place to begin, but I doubt any one would guess.
It was the premise that piqued my interest, introducing Brenner, once a police detective, now a personal chauffeur for a two year old girl, Helena. When Helena goes missing from the limousine while Brenner sips espresso in the service station, it is assumed that she ha...more
Rob Kitchin
Brenner and God is a curious book. The story is told through an anonymous narrator who both tells the story and 'talks to' the reader, sometimes telling them what to do ('My dear Swan, pay attention, this is important'). It’s a style that I found increasingly irritating, partly because it comes across as somewhat patronising. There are also a number of what are meant to be profound digressions, providing insights into modern society, but most fall flat. As for the story, it’s a kidnapping story...more
Robert Carraher
If you haven’t heard of the insanely talented and clever Wolf Haas, it’s probably because you speak English and live in America. One of the best selling crime fiction authors in Germany and other German speaking countries, as well as Europe, he is best known for his books featuring Simon Brenner – think of Brenner as the German Adrian Monk…sort of – three of which have been made into films ;Komm, süßer Tod (Come Sweet Death), Silentium! and Der Knochenmann (The Boneman). He has won several prize...more
Amy
Translated from the German by Annie Janusch

“Personally, I prefer to look on the positive side of life these days. Not just Murder He Wrote all the time, and who-got-who with a bullet, a knife, an extension cord, or what else I don’t know. Me, I’m far more interested in the nice people now, the quiet ones, the normals, the ones who you’d say—they lead their regular lives, abide by the law, don’t mistake themselves for the good lord when they get up in the morning, just nice tidy lives.

Look at Kre...more
Timothy Hallinan
The seventh (I think) in a bestselling German series, here translated for the first time, and I tried to like it. I really did, in part because it was given to me by someone whose taste I admire . . . but I couldn't. It's written in a cockamamie and fiercely irritating third person in which the narrator takes a very animated (intrusive would be another way of putting it) role, continually stepping aside to tell us what he thinks about this or that, to order us to pay attention (in case what he's...more
Erik Simon
Editor extraordinaire Robert Gottlieb said that Le Carre is not a spy novelist; he's a literary novelist who happens to use espionage to tell his stories. Similarly, Wolf Haas, wildly popular the world over but still little known in the U.S., is not a mystery novelist but rather a literary novelist who uses mysteries to tell his stories. He is deft, funny, macabre and unlike anyone else I've ever read with the closest comparison coming to the Ukrainian writer Andrey Kurkov. This book is a gem, a...more
Paul Oliver
"BRENNER AND GOD is one of the cleverest—and most thoroughly enjoyable—mysteries that I've read in a long time. Wolf Haas is the real deal, and his arrival on the American book scene is long overdue."
—Carl Hiaasen

Think of a Cohen brothers movie adaptation of a Carl Hiaasen novel set in Germany and you're only about halfway to understanding how enjoyable Wolf Haas "Detective Brenner" books are.
Des
What fun, what style, made me laugh out loud.
And I liked how the narrator takes the reader by the hand (leading/misleading). Will try to read the series from the beginning in German since the translation indicates a few Austrian jokes/insights worth savouring.
Orla Hegarty
A good mystery although the style reminded me of the dialect many German born Canadians seem to use when speaking English...and that made the fluidity of reading difficult but not off putting.
Katharina
Fantastic, smooth, cynical... and VERY VERY Viennese...
John Brooke
This one is beautiful. And it’s all in the VOICE.

I am always happy to find a new Euro cop I can enjoy. For me, Simon Brenner, a disaffected Austrian cop created by (Austrian writer) Wolf Haas is a delightful discovery. The unseen, unnamed narrator Haas assigns to relate this story is one of the truly funny literary voices I have read in a long while. In my opinion, “funny” is the most difficult challenge in any genre of writing. And the more so in mystery writing. Anyone who ever got hooked on...more
Tony
This is the seventh book in the "Brenner" series by Austrian writer Haas, but the first to appear in English. I generally hate it when series books are translated out of order, since it always leaves me with a nagging feeling that there's a whole lot of depth and backstory to the protagonist that I'm missing out on. That was especially the case with this book, which employs an unusually intrusive omniscient narrator who offers a snarky running commentary to the proceedings.

Brenner is an antidepr...more
Miles
This is a very clever murder mystery, written from an unusual and witty authorial viewpoint. The semi-omniscient narrator never identifies or explains himself, yet seems to know some things, and not know other things, and becomes a character in himself. He informs us early in the book that specific terrible things will happen, and when, and they do. This in no way detracts from the pleasures of walking through the poses and plans of the evil Senator, the rich developer and the scheming thugs. Th...more
Kathy S
I liked this short book featuring an Austrian ex-detective turned chauffeur. It was definitely quirky and different, but that's good. The story was told by a somewhat detached narrator who is not identified, and that took some getting used to. This is the first of Haas's books to be translated, and I'm not sure if it's the first in his series or not. Fantasticficion.com lists it as first, but maybe that's because it was translated first. I'll definitely try another.
Tim
Nach all den Jahren wieder ein Brenner! Allein schon aus Nostalgie habe ich das Lesen sehr genossen und damit die Nacht von Freitag (Erscheinungstag) auf Samstag verbracht. Stilistisch ist alles wie gehabt. Ich vermute sogar, dass kein Buch der Reihe was den Stil angeht so prototypisch ist. Auf "aber interessant" wartete ich wie bei jedem Asterix auf die Piraten und wurde nicht enttäuscht. Der Plot ist okay, kommt aber an die besten Bücher der Reihe nicht ganz heran. Nicht überzeugend ist leider...more
Alexandra
Der neue Haas ganz gut eben typisch. Bei manchen Szenen stellt man sich gleich vor wie grauslich das dann verfilmt wird.

So sehr ich vom Stilmittel des langsamen behäbigen Romans mit simpler einfältiger Sprache am Anfang begeistert war, so sehr nervt mich mit der steigenden Anzahl der gelesenen Brenner-Romane die ewig gleiche Fadesse.

Lieber Wolf Haas (ich glaub unter Auftraggeber und Mörder duzt man sich): Scheiss auf die Quoten für zukünftige Filme und murks endlich den Brenner gaanz grausllich...more
Rainer Berak
The storyteller is dead - long live the storyteller!! in the last of the 6 "Brenner" stories which are so special due to the way the lyrical I is speaking to us, he dies... Not the main character - no - the person telling is about Brenner, the ex policeman, ex detective. Now he is back and so is this "Mr. Simon" how Brenner is called in the beginning of this roller coaster of a crime story. As usual: written in an incomparable way Haas leads us through Austrian and general human absurdity - seen...more
Daisy
Dec 19, 2012 Daisy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Daisy by: Amy Henry

I read this in English. The translation is wonderful because it's such quirky, inventive language full of half-sentences and surprising quasi-sequiturs. I was completely taken in by this story for its plot, yes, since it had me baffled, but more for the telling.

"But if you're saying, that's despicable, then I unfortunately have to tell you, this was still the nice part of the story."

"midnight spaghetti"

It's number 7 in a series, I guess, and I'm going to look for number 1 to see if I might devou...more
John
Another compelling and original crime novel from Melville House. "Brenner and God" will either captivate or grate on the reader; there's no middle ground due to the highly unusual narrative voice of this novel. My father didn't particularly care for it ("weird") but I found the writing original and frequently hilarious, though hilarious in a fairly dark sense. The "detective," as it were, Brenner, gets in a bit over his head, without losing it completely, as he searchers for a young child that h...more
Scott
My first foray into the work of Wolf Haas, and I may bump this up to 5 stars when I inevitably read it again. A murder-mystery like none-other, thanks to a snarky protagonist and perhaps the most hilarious and off-beat narrator I've ever come across. It takes a little while to get the feel of it, but once I did, I enjoyed the ride. The titular Brenner is an ex-cop in Austria, where he is now a chauffeur for a wealthy couple's little daughter. After she's abducted, Brenner goes on the case, takin...more
Lynn Kearney
I have no German so read this in translation. It is much praised by Carl Hiaasen and I see his influence in the character of Brenner, but it doesn't really work for me.
Melissa
I stopped many times and almost gave up on the book but I persevered to the end. I'm glad I did as I can honestly say while there were interesting and funny elements in the book, I didn't take to the writing at all. Perhaps it's better in German?
Jess
The narrator's snarky tone sometimes made for funny reading, but often overshadowed other important, and necessary, elements like character development.
Dorian
The new English translation is unaccountably unavailable on Goodreads.

I'm so pleased Melville House is bringing this series into English, but why oh why must they--like so many other publishers--begin with a late entry in the series (number 7, I believe)? So infuriating.

What sets this book apart--and the series as a whole, from the bits of others I've dipped into in German--is the narrative voice: slangy, vicious, funny, and told from the point of view of an unnamed first person narrator, not t...more
Gaye
It was funny and a good story and I liked the author speaking to the reader, quite often saying "but for now, pay attention". There were definitely some things lost in translation though - things and ideas that are known in Germany or Austria perhaps, but not in America. Of course, that's exactly why I like to read translations - for that insight into another culture or place. I just felt like there were quite a few things that went straight over my head and I probably would have enjoyed it more...more
Angie
Quirky and fun. I would recommend it to my friends who like crime novels. Not really my genre, but I would read more books about Brenner if they were to be translated into English. The conversational authorial voice is engaging--except when it's occasionally irritating--and the use of the omniscient viewpoint, done here with a humor both chummy and dark, really carries the story along in an interesting way. If I were a crime novel enthusiast I would give this 4 stars.
B
I loved this book..the first by this Austrian author to be translated from German. The narrator had me laughing, the man accused of kidnapping a child, (Brenner, a former detective), is smart, gutsy and prone to misfortune, and the plot was involved, crazy but still completely plausible. Because I could practically hear it in German, (good job translator!), I've ordered it in German to read again.

If anyone else reads it, I'd like to hear your take on it.

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WOLF HAAS was born in 1960 in the Austrian province of Salzburg. He is the author of seven books in the bestselling Detective Brenner mystery series, three volumes of which have been made into popular German-language films. Among other prizes, the Brenner books have been awarded the German thriller prize and the 2004 Literature Prize from the City of Vienna.
More about Wolf Haas...
Komm, süßer Tod (Brenner, #3) Silentium! (Brenner, #4) Der Knochenmann (Brenner, #2) Das Wetter vor 15 Jahren Auferstehung der Toten (Brenner, #1)

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