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Field Grey

(Bernie Gunther #7)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  5,992 ratings  ·  431 reviews
'A man doesn't work for his enemies unless he has little choice in the matter.' So says Bernie Gunther. It is 1954 and Bernie is in Cuba. Tiring of his increasingly dangerous work spying on Meyer Lansky, Bernie acquires a boat and a beautiful companion and quits the island. But the US Navy has other ideas, and soon he finds himself in a place with which he is all too famil ...more
Paperback, 567 pages
Published 2011 by Quercus (first published October 28th 2010)
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  5,992 ratings  ·  431 reviews

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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
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
Jun 30, 2011 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
Nov 23, 2016 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
Sep 06, 2013 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
Sep 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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. ...more
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Philip Kerr's 'Bernie Gunther thrillers' are much more than mere page turners. His absorbing 'Berlin Noir' novels are thoroughly researched and have as much historically authenticity as maybe, and 'Field Grey' is a revelation in its way of tackling the complex period at the end of World War Two, with avenging armies of the different partisan groups, and retreating German forces, and Soviet invading armies in hot pursuit, coalescing, in a maelstrom of vicious and horrific destruction and violence ...more
Apr 14, 2011 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
Benjamin baschinsky
The best Bernie Gunther novel I have read to date . Skillfully alternating between events of 1940 to 1954 , I am presented with a section of life no one would envy.
Bravo Philip Kerr- RIP
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a big fan of Phillip Kerr and the Bernie Gunther novels. Kerr has an amazing ability to insert details you'd never see coming into his stories. These are noir novels in the best traditions of the genre, full of twists and turns and doomed relationships. Bernie Gunther is a tragic hero, a German police detective caught up in the insanity of Hitler's Germany and forces beyond his control. Kerr's extensive research and his exceptional skill as a writer make the stories grimly realistic and beli ...more
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's impossible not to like Bernie Gunther. In the resourceful, bad luck-prone, ingenious, sharp witted, wise-cracking, escape artist, he has created the absolute perfect character for Historical Fiction. I can think of no flaws, no irritations at all. He's the guy you would hope could be there if you'd have been where he is, was.

Kerr uses him as a vehicle not just for his period jokes and wise-cracks, but as a way of looking at many of the unsavoury aspects of the Germans before, during and aft
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
FIELD GRAY is, I think, the darkest of the seven Bernie Gunther novels I’ve read to date. That says a lot for a series set in Germany in the ‘30s and ‘40s and (so far) South and Central America and newly-divided Berlin in the ‘50s. There’s a very Graham Greene QUIET AMERICAN vibe in this book.

I’m certain there are many interpretations of Kerr’s main message in this novel. It reminded me that the bad guy never sees a bad guy when he looks in the mirror. The capacity to commit evil resides in all
Rachael Singh
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After getting very sick and tired of Bernie Gunther in the preceding book, this one was really excellent.
Apr 04, 2011 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 abo
William Bentrim
Mar 28, 2011 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
Toni Osborne
Dec 22, 2011 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
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of historical novels
Recommended to Mark by: it came up
Filed gray the title refers to the color of uniform that Bernard Gunther as a police-officer has to wear in his official duty to apprehend a killer of two policemen. Bernard Gunther is a cop in Berlin during the early years in WOII, and he is not a Nazi, he actually does not like the people or their ideoligy. Due to the circumstances in Germany he gets caught up in the war and witnesses a lot of incomprehensable acts of murder and mayhem.

However the book starts in 1954 in Cuba where Bernie tries
Apr 19, 2011 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
Diane Wallis
Feb 24, 2011 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
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
Alex Cantone
Santiago’s a real melting pot…Jamaicans, Haitians, Dominicans, Bahamians - it’s Cuba’s most Caribbean city. And it’s most rebellious, of course. All our revolutions start in Santiago…

Field Grey opens tantalizingly in Cuba, 1953 where Bernie Gunther, using an Argentinian passport under the name Hausner, is being entertained at the largest brothel in Havana, run by Doña Marina. Also there, Englishman Graham Greene – writing westerns under the name “Buck Dexter”. Lt. Quevedo of the Cuban Military I
Field Gray, the 7th Bernie Gunther story, by Philip Kerr was my first exposure to this series. It was well-written and interesting but I'm not sure what exactly to make of it. This may have been one of those series that it is necessary to read from the beginning. Having said that there is more than enough information to get a feel for Bernie and you do get a good look at his past.

So, this is the gist of the story. We start in Cuba in 1954 where Bernie, living under an assumed name is warned that
After being arrested in Cuba Bernie Gunther gets extraded to the USA, first step in a long trip down memory lane.

The trip goes from the early 30's, a time when the german communist party still seems to be a force to be reckoned with, to Ukrain in 41 when Bernie discovers the crimes of the infamous einsatzgruppen, to besieged Koenigsberg in 45 and various russian camps where our hero is imprisoned as a POW.

Along this very interesting trip where we learn more of periods in Bernie's life only allud
Wayne Zurl
Dec 08, 2016 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
Bent Hansen
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a huge fan of this fantastically well-written and researched series, but this book tripped me up too many times, going back and forth in time with a seemingly neverending line of new names to keep track of.
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-books-read
Bernie starts in Cuba but finds his way back to Berlin with the help of the CIA, SDECE and other spies trying to make him do something he doesn't want to do. ...more
Rob Kitchin
May 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
John Gaynard
Nov 09, 2011 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
Sam Reaves
Sep 03, 2012 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.
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Philip Kerr was a British author. He was best known for his Bernie Gunther series of 13 historical thrillers 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.

Other books in the series

Bernie Gunther (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • March Violets (Bernie Gunther, #1)
  • The Pale Criminal (Bernie Gunther, #2)
  • A German Requiem (Bernie Gunther, #3)
  • The One from the Other (Bernard Gunther, #4)
  • A Quiet Flame (Bernie Gunther, #5)
  • If The Dead Rise Not (Bernard Gunther, #6)
  • Prague Fatale (Bernard Gunther, #8)
  • A Man Without Breath (Bernie Gunther #9)
  • The Lady from Zagreb (Bernard Gunther, #10)
  • The Other Side of Silence (Bernie Gunther, #11)

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