The Sleepwalkers (Paul Grossman)
I received this book in an Advanced Read Copy (ARC) giveaway from Goodreads.
I loved everything about this book. It’s well written. The main character, Inspector Detective Willi Kraus is compelling and sympathetic. The historical setting and description of the Berlin of the period was incredible.
Inspector Detective Willi Kraus, a Jew, is a famous detective in the Berlin police department as 1932 comes to an end. Communist groups are clashing with Nazi Brownshirts in the streets of Berlin. Nobody quite believes that the maniac, Adolph Hitler, will succeed in taking power. The Jews are beginning to feel the heat of the Nazi rhetoric against them and Kraus is only nominally protected by his badge and his fame. In this setting, beautiful women sleepwalk into the night and mysteriously disappear. And a woman washes up on the banks of the Havel River with legs that have been horribly – and horrifyingly – deformed.
Grossman does a great job of building the tension in the book while tension is building in Germany.
This book is more than just a murder mystery. Grossman paints a fascinating picture of Berlin in late 1932 and early 1933 and the variety of people living there. I was really glad to see a preview of another Willi Kraus story at the end of this one; Kraus and his life in Berlin make a good story and Grossman tells it well.