New York Times-bestselling author Philip Kerr treats readers to his beloved hero's origins, exploring Bernie Gunther's first weeks on Berlin's Murder Squad.

A portrait of Bernie Gunther in his twenties: He's young, but he's seen four bloody years of trench warfare. And he's not stupid. So when he receives a promotion and a ticket out of Vice squad, he knows he's not really leaving behind the criminal gangs, the perverse sex clubs, and the laundry list of human corruption. It's 1928 and Berlin is a city on the edge of chaos, where nothing is truly verboten. But soon a new wave of shockingly violent murders sweeps up society's most vulnerable, prostitutes and wounded ex-soldiers begging on the streets.

As Bernie Gunther sets out to make sense of multiple murders with different MOs in a city that knows no limits, he must face the fact that his own police HQ is not immune. The Nazi party has begun to inflitrate the Alex, Berlin's central office, just as the shakey Weimar government makes a last, desperate attempt to control a nation edging toward to the Third Reich.

It seems like the only escape for most Berliners is the theater and Bernie's no exception. As he gets deeper into the city's sordid underground network, he seeks comfort with a make-up artist who is every bit a match for his quick wit and increasingly sardonic view of the world. But even this space can't remain untouched, not with this pervasive feeling that everything is for sale in Berlin if you're man enough to kill for it.
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