What if Philip Marlowe had lived in Berlin in the 1930s instead of LA? Novelist Philip Kerr explored the question in a trio of novels written in the late 80s, with his Marlowe stand-in Bernie Gunther. The Berlin Noir trilogy achieved cult status over the years. My copy of the Penguin omnibus has been read and re-read. As far as anyone knew, Gunther’s adventures had ended. Then, fifteen years later, Kerr started adding to the series. With the most recent release, Prague Fatale, he has added five more books to the series, bringing the total to eight. I’m a big fan of these books. The series is well worth following.
When readers ask me about the future of the Roland March series, Berlin Noir is what comes to mind. The three novels in print — Back on Murder, Pattern of Wounds, and Nothing to Hide — complete the original contract signed with the publisher. They can be read as a trilogy, but they weren’t written to end that way. I have plans for future installments, assuming another publisher is willing to take the series on. If people want to see more of March, they will. It’s up to the readers.
In the meantime, I’m looking forward to more from Kerr. If you haven’t checked out these books yet, you really should:
This is exciting. Publisher's Weekly gave the audiobook edition of my novel Back on Murder, read by Mel Foster, a starred review this week:
Mel Foster delivers winning narration in this audio edition of Bertrand's mystery novel about burned-out Houston police detective Roland March's quest to solve two seemingly unrelated cases: the disappearance of the teenage daughter of deceased mega-church pastor and a gang shooting on the wrong side of the tracks. As he works the two cases, March must also confronts his own emotional baggage and work to rebuild both his career and his marriage. Foster perfectly captures the author's larger-than-life world: gritty law enforcement digs, mean streets, affluent suburban enclaves, evangelical congregations. Foster's attention to character traits and dialect makes for an across-the-board satisfying listening experience; he manages to evoke place and identity without descending into stock caricatures. Several depictions stand out in particular, including the charming but steely female head of the city's missing persons unit and the gruff, chain-smoking local medical examiner, who happens to be March's brother-in-law. Foster also provides an especially effective rendering of a devoted–if sometimes overly eager — youth pastor who joins March's investigation.
Congratulations, Mel! Mel narrates the second book in the series, Pattern of Wounds, too. I'm thrilled with how well received the audiobooks have been!