The Pale Criminal is set in 1938 Germany amid Hitlerís rise to power, Nazism, Himmlerís SS, and the prelude to World War II.
Bernard Gunter, a seasoned ex-police detective turned private eye, investigates a rich widow being blackmailed as well as being rehired by the Berlin Criminal Police (or Kripto) as a temporary Kommissar to head an investigation into serial killings involving teenage girls.
Gunterís persistence and hard-nosed approach lead him to the experimental and psychological practices of German medicine, which connects the two cases and the inner core of Himmlerís SS.
Using the backdrop of 1938 Germany gives this story a unique flavor. The characters are pretty well-defined, and pronouncing some of the German names presents a good challenge for any reader. Although the pace is fast, it takes about 80 pages to really get into the rhythm of the story. Aside from that, itís a gripping story in an interesting period.
This is Phillip Kerrís second novel in the Berlin Noir Trilogy.