British writer Philip Kerr’s rather bleak triology, Berlin Noir, explores the insidiousness of the Nazi power base  pre- and post- WWII through the investigations of Bernie Gunther, a Berlin cop, sometime private detective, and habitual wise guy.

Kerr portrays Berlin as a cosmopolitan city somewhat at odds with its Nazi occupiers, who nonetheless become an entrenched force thanks to its citizens turned willing – and unwilling – collaborators. (The alternative – to not cooperate – having all too dire consequences.) Think Marlowe with more pathos.

This hard-boiled volume combines March Violets, The Pale Criminal and A German Requiem. Our verdict: Addictive story-telling with a touch of brutality.