website statistics The Sleepwalkers - PDF Books Online
Hot Best Seller

The Sleepwalkers

Availability: Ready to download

In the final weeks of the Weimar Republic, as Hitler and his National Socialist party angle to assume control of Germany, beautiful girls are seen sleepwalking through the streets.  Then, a young woman of mysterious origin, with her legs bizarrely deformed, is pulled dead from the Havel River.  Willi Kraus, a high ranking detective in Berlin's police force, begins a murder In the final weeks of the Weimar Republic, as Hitler and his National Socialist party angle to assume control of Germany, beautiful girls are seen sleepwalking through the streets.  Then, a young woman of mysterious origin, with her legs bizarrely deformed, is pulled dead from the Havel River.  Willi Kraus, a high ranking detective in Berlin's police force, begins a murder investigation. A decorated World War I hero and the nation's most famous detective, Willi also is a Jew. Despite his elite status in the criminal police, he is disturbed by the direction Germany is taking.  Working urgently to solve the murder, Willi finds his superiors diverting him at every turn. As he moves through darkness closer to the truth, Willi begins to understand that much more than the solution to a murder is at stake. What he discovers will mean that his life, the lives of his friends and family, and Germany itself will never be the same.


Compare

In the final weeks of the Weimar Republic, as Hitler and his National Socialist party angle to assume control of Germany, beautiful girls are seen sleepwalking through the streets.  Then, a young woman of mysterious origin, with her legs bizarrely deformed, is pulled dead from the Havel River.  Willi Kraus, a high ranking detective in Berlin's police force, begins a murder In the final weeks of the Weimar Republic, as Hitler and his National Socialist party angle to assume control of Germany, beautiful girls are seen sleepwalking through the streets.  Then, a young woman of mysterious origin, with her legs bizarrely deformed, is pulled dead from the Havel River.  Willi Kraus, a high ranking detective in Berlin's police force, begins a murder investigation. A decorated World War I hero and the nation's most famous detective, Willi also is a Jew. Despite his elite status in the criminal police, he is disturbed by the direction Germany is taking.  Working urgently to solve the murder, Willi finds his superiors diverting him at every turn. As he moves through darkness closer to the truth, Willi begins to understand that much more than the solution to a murder is at stake. What he discovers will mean that his life, the lives of his friends and family, and Germany itself will never be the same.

30 review for The Sleepwalkers

  1. 4 out of 5

    C.W.

    One of my favorite periods in 20th century history is pre-Nazi Berlin; a fragile time before the rise of an era of unspeakable darkness, when the city was a fabled cosmopolitan smorgasbord full of vibrancy- an international magnet for artists, bohemians, eccentrics, and the curious. The Berlin we know today is very different from the Berlin of before World War II and Paul Grossman’s THE SLEEPWALKERS offers us a superb evocation of that city’s pathos and tragic hedonism in the weeks leading up to One of my favorite periods in 20th century history is pre-Nazi Berlin; a fragile time before the rise of an era of unspeakable darkness, when the city was a fabled cosmopolitan smorgasbord full of vibrancy- an international magnet for artists, bohemians, eccentrics, and the curious. The Berlin we know today is very different from the Berlin of before World War II and Paul Grossman’s THE SLEEPWALKERS offers us a superb evocation of that city’s pathos and tragic hedonism in the weeks leading up to Hitler’s ascendancy, even as a resolute Jewish detective hunts for a killer. As the title suggests, this is more than a novel about a series of bizarre murders that Grossman’s hero, Detective Willi Krauss, is trying to solve. All of Berlin appears to be sleep-walking, seemingly oblivious to the endemic violence lurking under the surface, epitomized by Nazi thugs and opportunistic politicians scheming to rescue Germany from decades of penury and shame. Krauss, however, senses these fearsome undercurrents, even as he is swept up in a labyrinthine quest to discover why a young woman pulled from the river was subjected to horrific medical experiments. Revered for his recent capture of an infamous serial killer yet haunted by personal loss, Krauss is now beginning to experience a subtle but pervasive fraying of his impermeability. His keen observations of the shifting world around him anchor the novel’s dark, fascinating trajectory into both the high-ranking offices of a crumbling government and Berlin's seamy underworld. The supporting cast of characters includes an enigmatic prostitute, an extravagant hypnotist, an earnest cadet, a jaded aristocrat, and a street hustler. While some of the characters conform to established clichés, Grossman handles them with sensitivity and style, while his villains— including a terrifying, buck-toothed Josef Mengele—display the sociopathic tendencies which became a Nazi blueprint and are all the more unsettling because they are not fictional. Fast-paced action sequences interspersed with Krauss’s uneasy awareness that the life he’s always believed in is turning to quicksand under his feet give the novel a brooding, unstoppable feel that kept me reading far into the night. Though Krauss fights with every part of his being to halt the shadow sweeping over him, and everyone he loves, we know the inevitable outcome; it is a testament to Mr. Grossman's talent that despite this, we still find ourselves rooting for his idealistic, damaged hero, caught up in circumstances far beyond his control, like so many thousands of Germany's inhabitants.

  2. 5 out of 5

    dbbks3

    You must read this book. It starts slow. Do not give up. This is one of those precious books that completely surrounds the reader. One cries, shouts and mourns, yet one has hope. The hero is flawed but has a deep moral compass. He tries to save others. He fails some. He succeeds some. He carries on. I have read many stories and histories of this time. One knows these monsters' story. What made this book touch this reader so deeply is that the characters were just trying to live their lives. They You must read this book. It starts slow. Do not give up. This is one of those precious books that completely surrounds the reader. One cries, shouts and mourns, yet one has hope. The hero is flawed but has a deep moral compass. He tries to save others. He fails some. He succeeds some. He carries on. I have read many stories and histories of this time. One knows these monsters' story. What made this book touch this reader so deeply is that the characters were just trying to live their lives. They could not believe that such outrageous bullies could ever destroy their beloved country. As the truth was hurled against them, they had to make decisions that would destroy themselves or save themse;ves. It was all told in very personal stories that were not about fighting the Nazis but about finding truth and spreading truth and seeing though the coming darkness. I am a confessed bookaholic. I finish a book, I must start a new one. Some very few cherished times, I must stop, think about the story & charactes. I must think though feelings brought roaring to my mind and heart by the story. This is such a book. I will read it again after a while.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    This book, set in late 1932 Weimar Germany, is one scary book. One reason I like dystopias so much is that the horrible people in them are just pretend. But the Nazis who came to power in early 1933 were not pretend, and they committed atrocious crimes. And this close-up look at Berlin just as the brownshirts were taking it over is frightening both for what is described and for what you know will be coming later. Inspektor-Detektiv Willi Kraus, 35, is a respected Berlin homicide cop who received This book, set in late 1932 Weimar Germany, is one scary book. One reason I like dystopias so much is that the horrible people in them are just pretend. But the Nazis who came to power in early 1933 were not pretend, and they committed atrocious crimes. And this close-up look at Berlin just as the brownshirts were taking it over is frightening both for what is described and for what you know will be coming later. Inspektor-Detektiv Willi Kraus, 35, is a respected Berlin homicide cop who received the Iron Cross for his heroism in World War I, and additionally is a local hero for solving a child-killer crime not long ago. His wife Vicki died two years earlier in a freak accident, and her sister now raises his two young sons, Stefan and Erich. Now Kraus has two new cases. Washed up in the river on the west side of Berlin near Spandau, the body of a woman has been found with mutilated legs – her fibulae have been surgically removed and replanted in the opposite direction. Kraus also is charged with finding a missing Bulgarian princess. While missing persons are not within his ordinary purview, this situation could cause a diplomatic crisis. Both cases turn out to be connected, however. In fact, a number of women have gone missing over the past nine months, all of whom were thought to be under a hypnotic trance when they abruptly left their homes and took the train out to Spandau, from which they never returned. What Kraus discovers is a horrific preview of barbarity to come. And yet he, like so many other Jews at that time, still thinks that reason will prevail, and resists the idea of leaving Germany. But increasingly, his ability to do his job is stymied by anti-Semitism. As more and more non-Jews are hypnotized by facism, more and more Jews sleepwalk to their deaths. At the end of the book, you find yourself racing through to see if Kraus will escape in time. Discussion: For me, there were some problems with the book. The intermittent insertion of German phrases is bizarre – the characters presumably all speak German, not English. It just didn’t make sense. The tropes of hypnotism and sleepwalking are clever but at the same time too obviously trying to convey a message about pre-War Germany. And while I accept that the author messed around with the dates of some historical events for plot reasons (which he explains in the afterward), the addition of dialogue from some of the many historical figures of the era just felt like unnecessary “name-dropping.” Evaluation: This is a definite page-turner with an interesting premise – a Jewish cop trying to solve a crime in the early days of the Nazis. There is an eclectic, interesting cast of characters, and by the end, you can’t put it down until you know what will happen. Rating: 3.5/5

  4. 4 out of 5

    Noran Miss Pumkin

    Give away book received from Goodreads first read give-away. Mein namen ist Willie! (Well there goes most of my 30 year old HS German.) I will be your tour guide to 1933-34 Berlin. I will take you to the largest restaurants and biergarten's in the city-some seat thousands of hungry and thirsty people daily. I will introduce you to the infamous Boot Girls of Berlin-remember to buy your guidebook-so you know which lovely lady offers which services(really true!). I will show you The Wiemar underbell Give away book received from Goodreads first read give-away. Mein namen ist Willie! (Well there goes most of my 30 year old HS German.) I will be your tour guide to 1933-34 Berlin. I will take you to the largest restaurants and biergarten's in the city-some seat thousands of hungry and thirsty people daily. I will introduce you to the infamous Boot Girls of Berlin-remember to buy your guidebook-so you know which lovely lady offers which services(really true!). I will show you The Wiemar underbelly of my fair city. I will also teach German politics-Germans vs Communists vs Brown shirts vs Nazis. Most verses the special, the different, the challenged, the mental, the foreign, and of course the Jews-like me. I am a Jewish Police detective-Kripo. I will tell you of my last case, before the Nazi plague engulfed my Berlin, my home. I fought and lost for this great nation in the first war, and to see it turn on it citizens makes me physically ill. The horrors I will tell you I have seen, and the vile evils that lurk within the Nazi party. I am running not only for my life, but running to solve the case of my life-to save my country. Join me, as I a spin a tale of woe and horror, and intrigue in my city of Berlin. I learned so much from this book. I googled locations, people, and events. I ordered a book on Wiemar Berlin-that has been on my wishlist for a couple years now. I really enjoy a book that teaches me new things, and excites me about history. I feel the continuity of the story line suffered some. A mission is undertaken, then the next chapter starts: "Three days later, I arrived in Paris.". Come on--all readers of this book want to know about those 3 days! The writing from Willie's point of view is nice, but on the mission, I so wanted the hear the others' reactions to what they saw. Also, early one, there is a great character introduced to the story line, then this person just not there anymore. I felt it was poorly done-to create such a fascinating person, then just throw them away. I actually would give this book 4.5 stars-the more I read, the more I kept turning the pages-not being able to put the book down. I am looking forward to the author's next Willie book. It is to be set years before this one.....

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Where I got the book: LibraryThing Early Reviewers program Inspektor-Detektiv Willi Kraus's new case involves a corpse whose leg bones are the wrong way round. And a sleepwalking princess. Stringing together the clues drags him into contact with history; in Berlin in 1933, Hitler's National Socialists are gaining more power, more rapidly than anyone could have imagined. And they seem to be implicated in the mysterious disappearances. Kraus starts out thinking that he's looking for an ordinary seri Where I got the book: LibraryThing Early Reviewers program Inspektor-Detektiv Willi Kraus's new case involves a corpse whose leg bones are the wrong way round. And a sleepwalking princess. Stringing together the clues drags him into contact with history; in Berlin in 1933, Hitler's National Socialists are gaining more power, more rapidly than anyone could have imagined. And they seem to be implicated in the mysterious disappearances. Kraus starts out thinking that he's looking for an ordinary serial killer, but soon realizes there's a lot more involved. His contacts within the traditional power structure, and his knowledge of the Berlin underground, are of great use to him; but he has one huge disadvantage. He's a Jew, and his friends and family are saying just one thing to him: get out of Berlin now. It's such a pleasure to be able to give a five-star review to a debut author. I loved the way Grossman combines the elements of a murder mystery with the history of 1930s Berlin, blending fact and fiction together with great skill. His characters are well-drawn and memorable, and the novel is loaded with descriptive elements that pulled me right into its setting. The writing jarred at a few points, but these were minor quibbles compared to the novel's overall high quality. Recommended for thriller fans who like their reading to have a certain literary quality and a fascinating setting.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Mitchell

    I was interested in reading this novel because it is set in 1932-3 Germany, the end of the Weimar Republic and beginning of Hitler's Third Reich. This period and on through World War II in Germany's history is endlessly fascinating to me. How could Hitler and his Nazi Party seduce a whole country and commit such horrors as the attempt to annilate all Jews, gypsies, communists, handicapped people, and anyone else they didn't like? All this in an effort to form an unsullied blue-eyed, blond, stron I was interested in reading this novel because it is set in 1932-3 Germany, the end of the Weimar Republic and beginning of Hitler's Third Reich. This period and on through World War II in Germany's history is endlessly fascinating to me. How could Hitler and his Nazi Party seduce a whole country and commit such horrors as the attempt to annilate all Jews, gypsies, communists, handicapped people, and anyone else they didn't like? All this in an effort to form an unsullied blue-eyed, blond, strong Aryan nation, which of course if taken to the extreme would have taken out Hitler himself with his dark hair and eyes, and his Austrian childhood. So, perhaps because I have read so much about Germany's history, this novel scared me half to death from beginning to breathless end. Grossman has taken some actual events from later in the 1930s and incorporated them into the story, but most of this actually happened during the 1930s. The hero is Willi Kraus, a police detective in Berlin, who has achieved something of a celebrity status because his investigation had run down a serial child killer. That status opens doors and protects him in the first part of the book. Unfortunately in this time and place, though, Kraus is a Jew, a widower with two young sons which make him vulnerable. He also has ties to the government which put a target on his back with the growing Nazi Party. One morning he is called to a crime scene by the river. The body of a pretty young woman has washed up on shore. Everyone is standing around horrified because her lower leg bones have been surgically reversed. This case will lead Kraus on a trip to Hell, and the story will include an evil man who really did medical "experiments" on people, Dr. Josef Mengele. I couldn't read this book fast enough and yet occasionally I had to get away from it. I found myself warning characters under my breath as I read or breathing a sigh of relief when imminent danger was averted. I was so caught up in the story that I was nervous until the end. If that's the mark of a good novel, this one is very good. I'll be thinking about this one for a long time. I won this book from LibraryThing and the recently released paperback version is available at Amazon.com or your bookstore.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Paul Pessolano

    Paul Grossman has put together a mystery/thriller that is based largely on historical fact. The story takes place in Berlin on the verge of the Nazi takeover. Grossman depicts a Berlin that is not only alive with cultural brillance but also the home of unheard of decadence. Inspector-Detektiv Willi Krauss, a Jew and decorated war veteran, finds himself investigating a series of missing person cases. The cases all involve beautiful women with beautiful legs. Those who have seen them just before th Paul Grossman has put together a mystery/thriller that is based largely on historical fact. The story takes place in Berlin on the verge of the Nazi takeover. Grossman depicts a Berlin that is not only alive with cultural brillance but also the home of unheard of decadence. Inspector-Detektiv Willi Krauss, a Jew and decorated war veteran, finds himself investigating a series of missing person cases. The cases all involve beautiful women with beautiful legs. Those who have seen them just before their disappearance say they looked as if they were "Sleepwalking". Willi finds himself caught between the final days of the Weimar Republic and the rise of Adolph Hitler and the Third Reich. Willi must infiltrate the seedy Berlin underground. He finds himself enlisting the help of a prostitute, Paula, whom he starts to fall in love with. An affair that finds Paula helping Willi by becoming a willing decoy. She becomes a "Sleepwalker" to find out the fate of the other girls that have disappeared. Willi must now try and find out what has happened to Paul. He discovers that there is a group of doctors that are experimenting with human subjects. The experiments are being conducted on an island that Willi must penetrate and bring back proof of its existence. Willi is able to bring back the proof but finds that he is unable to use the information because it has been secured by the Reichstag. Willi is now in mortal danger and must find a way to flee Germany. An excellent story that combines historical fiction and mystery. The book is well crafted and will keep the reader engrossed throughout the book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michael Klein

    A meticulously researched novel about the same time period and location I'm writing about - 1930s Berlin. It's a very exciting and fast paced thriller with just the right combination of history and the writer's imagination. Grossman does an excellent job of giving us a smart and conflicted protaganist: a celebrated Jewish police detective, who is also a highly decorated war hero, who is torn between an intriguing case and a world that is literally crumbling around him - decending into the insani A meticulously researched novel about the same time period and location I'm writing about - 1930s Berlin. It's a very exciting and fast paced thriller with just the right combination of history and the writer's imagination. Grossman does an excellent job of giving us a smart and conflicted protaganist: a celebrated Jewish police detective, who is also a highly decorated war hero, who is torn between an intriguing case and a world that is literally crumbling around him - decending into the insanity that was 12 years of the Nazi rule. Without a doubt I'll read more from Grossman and look forward to it. Fans of Joseph Kanon and Alan Furst will not be disappointed - Grossman fits in with them seemlessly.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cold War Conversations Podcast

    In interesting premise - a Jewish detective on the Murder Squad in Berlin towards the end of 1932 just before the Nazi takeover. The author seems to cover well the atmosphere of Berlin in 1932, but I found the characterisations and dialogue a bit thin. However, the story rolls on a quick pace and kept me entertained. Not a "great" read, but I did like it and if you're interested in pre-WW2 Berlin and enjoy the David Downing "Station" series then this would be worth a look. In interesting premise - a Jewish detective on the Murder Squad in Berlin towards the end of 1932 just before the Nazi takeover. The author seems to cover well the atmosphere of Berlin in 1932, but I found the characterisations and dialogue a bit thin. However, the story rolls on a quick pace and kept me entertained. Not a "great" read, but I did like it and if you're interested in pre-WW2 Berlin and enjoy the David Downing "Station" series then this would be worth a look.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bandit

    I came across this one randomly while trying to find some audiobooks at the library. Our library has a sort of eclectic and very inconsistent selection, though they are free and therefore it's all magical. It also gives me a chance to discover terrific stories like this one. Grossman's debut is a spellbinding tale of a high ranking police detective and a respected WWI hero Willi Kraus trying to solve a brutal murder/mutilation in Berlin on the brink of the rise of the Nazi party. While this work I came across this one randomly while trying to find some audiobooks at the library. Our library has a sort of eclectic and very inconsistent selection, though they are free and therefore it's all magical. It also gives me a chance to discover terrific stories like this one. Grossman's debut is a spellbinding tale of a high ranking police detective and a respected WWI hero Willi Kraus trying to solve a brutal murder/mutilation in Berlin on the brink of the rise of the Nazi party. While this works very well as a mystery, for me the most compelling aspect of it was historical, particularly resonant for Kraus since he's a Jew and suddenly he, his family and his friends are becoming persons nan grata in a country he loves, country he fought for, country he now struggles to recognize. Given the worldwide rise of nationalism, this is something of a timely read. Grossman did a terrific job writing this, descriptions are vivid, the atmosphere appropriately claustrophobic, some of the setting are nightmarish enough to disturb even seasoned horror fans. And Kraus is a strong protagonist, moral, intelligent, compassionate. I didn't love the depiction of his brief affair with a working girl whose name I don't want to misspell, it reads slightly clunky, but otherwise what a great story. And well read by the narrator too. Now serialized with two more Kraus adventures in print, this makes a very strong case for reading series, not to mention a terrifically auspicious introduction. Recommended.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    This book combines a mystery with the outrages that prefaced the establishment of Adolf Hitler as the Fuhrer of Germany. It is 1932 when Willi, a police inspector, a decorated war hero and a Jew is investigating the disappearance of several women who were observed to be walking as though in their sleep shortly before disappearing. His investigation is stymied at every turn by the police bureaucracy to Willi's confusion and dismay, however when he does break the case he comes to understand that w This book combines a mystery with the outrages that prefaced the establishment of Adolf Hitler as the Fuhrer of Germany. It is 1932 when Willi, a police inspector, a decorated war hero and a Jew is investigating the disappearance of several women who were observed to be walking as though in their sleep shortly before disappearing. His investigation is stymied at every turn by the police bureaucracy to Willi's confusion and dismay, however when he does break the case he comes to understand that what he has found has the potential to sink the budding Nazi party and deter their hellish aims. Although the book is fiction many of the historical events and people are accurately portrayed although the time frames are changed for the sake of the story. As with any book about this era, it is a disturbing, but worthwhile read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alicia Coakley

    I won this book through Goodreads First Reads giveaways. The story was intriguing and original and I liked that it was loosely based on actual events that occurred during WWII. The crimes were horrific, but they were unusual crimes that are uncommon to Holocaust books. I had high hopes that this book would be a great, fast-paced thriller. While I did enjoy it, it wasn't without its flaws. My first problem with this book was that there were too many characters and not enough was written about them I won this book through Goodreads First Reads giveaways. The story was intriguing and original and I liked that it was loosely based on actual events that occurred during WWII. The crimes were horrific, but they were unusual crimes that are uncommon to Holocaust books. I had high hopes that this book would be a great, fast-paced thriller. While I did enjoy it, it wasn't without its flaws. My first problem with this book was that there were too many characters and not enough was written about them to help me differentiate them. When you're asking me to keep track of a dozen or so villains, they need to have strong personalities or features that are mentioned if you want me to remember which one is which later in the book. **SPOILER** Another problem I just couldn't get past: the main character, Willi, lacked consistency in his priorities. I wanted to throw the book across the room when he took a vacation to Paris right after Paula disappears. She could still be alive, and he does nothing to save her? Willi is portrayed as a top detective who is a devoted workaholic. There is no way he would've left her to the devices of those doctors without a fight. In the final chapters of the book, Willi escapes Germany, and returns twelve years later, where we discover the fates of his many friends. Except Fritz, his best friend and one of the most interesting characters in the story. It's as if the author hastily wrapped up the story and forgot Fritz. Another character that promised to become a more relevant character is Ava, a potential love interest. There is mention at the close of the book that Willi lives in Tel Aviv with a wife and children, but no names are mentioned. What become of Ava? And for that matter, what became of Erich and Stefan, Willi's sons? I personally need a more solid conclusion to this story.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    I was possibly expecting too much from this book when I started it and ended up being quite disappointed by it. Willi Kraus is a famous detective in the Berlin police force at the end of 1932. When a young woman with inexplicably deformed legs is washed up of the banks of the Havel River, Willi takes the lead in the murder investigation. When a politically sensitive missing person case is also added to his case load Willi must find out why beautiful young women are sleepwalking their way into obl I was possibly expecting too much from this book when I started it and ended up being quite disappointed by it. Willi Kraus is a famous detective in the Berlin police force at the end of 1932. When a young woman with inexplicably deformed legs is washed up of the banks of the Havel River, Willi takes the lead in the murder investigation. When a politically sensitive missing person case is also added to his case load Willi must find out why beautiful young women are sleepwalking their way into oblivion. With the Nazi Party becoming increasingly dominant and the Weimar Republic waning in power, Willi must be careful not to become a victim himself as it is becoming ever more dangerous to be Jewish in Berlin. There were several things that bothered me about this book, a few of the characters were irritating, most notably the prostitute Paula. It felt like they all could have done with a little more complexity or explanation or something to make them more engaging. The writing was lacking, I can't quite put my finger on why but it was and the end of the book.....I couldn’t wait for it to end, it seemed to take forever to wrap up the story once the mystery was solved. The history was this books saving grace. I loved it and from the bits and pieces I researched it seemed quite accurate and very disturbing. It was a great city and era to set a murder mystery in.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Steve Smits

    "The Sleepwalkers" is a blend of historical telling of the Nazi's assumption of power in 1933 and a captivating police mystery. Although the author takes a few liberties with the sequence of events (he admits these), his depiction is largely accurate and is coupled with a compelling story of the protagonist's efforts to expose the Nazi's horrific racially motivated crimes. Willi is an acclaimed police detective, widely famous for a crime he has solved, who is also a Jew. As the Nazi's get closer "The Sleepwalkers" is a blend of historical telling of the Nazi's assumption of power in 1933 and a captivating police mystery. Although the author takes a few liberties with the sequence of events (he admits these), his depiction is largely accurate and is coupled with a compelling story of the protagonist's efforts to expose the Nazi's horrific racially motivated crimes. Willi is an acclaimed police detective, widely famous for a crime he has solved, who is also a Jew. As the Nazi's get closer to taking control, he begins to experience their nascent intentions to persecute Jews and uncovers a sinister scheme that portends the massive crimes the Nazi's will commit in the years to come. Grossman weaves actual persons like Ernst Roehm, Josef Mengle and others into his story and creates an intriguing and action-filled narrative of Willi's attempts to expose the horrendous nature of the impending regime. The author captures well the chaos of Berlin on the eve of the Weimar republic's collapse and the incredulity of his friends and associates that the Nazi's can succeed. Although one knows the outcome, and that Willi's quest will not succeed, the story is fascinating and well-plotted.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tuck

    fast read, takes place in berlin nov. 1932-feb 1933 (from just before hitler became chancellor to right after he burned the reichstag). about a jewish police murder detective who finds that nazi doctors have been doing research on live humans in their new secret clinic, institute for racial hygiene. a fast read, his first novel, and though perhaps he tries to juggle too many characters and plots, in the end a satisfying and exciting debut. he even tips his hat to bernie gunther (sort of, or at l fast read, takes place in berlin nov. 1932-feb 1933 (from just before hitler became chancellor to right after he burned the reichstag). about a jewish police murder detective who finds that nazi doctors have been doing research on live humans in their new secret clinic, institute for racial hygiene. a fast read, his first novel, and though perhaps he tries to juggle too many characters and plots, in the end a satisfying and exciting debut. he even tips his hat to bernie gunther (sort of, or at least an allusion to gunther) Berlin Noir: March Violets / The Pale Criminal / A German Requiem and also reminds one of the "station" novels of david downing, good company. Zoo Station forgot to say, the title not only is integral to the plot, is also from hitler "I go the way that Providence dictates with the assurance of a sleepwalker"

  16. 5 out of 5

    Regina

    I was very excited to receive this novel as a Goodreads giveaway. Unfortunately, it took me forever to finish it (not the fault of the book-just life). The novel does start slowly, but is worth the read. It is also somewhat darker than my usual fare. I find that I am not a mystery novel kind of gal. I made the exception for this novel due the setting and plot: Germany on the cusp of World War II and Hitler's rise to power. This provides for a lot of tension and suspense within the story. However I was very excited to receive this novel as a Goodreads giveaway. Unfortunately, it took me forever to finish it (not the fault of the book-just life). The novel does start slowly, but is worth the read. It is also somewhat darker than my usual fare. I find that I am not a mystery novel kind of gal. I made the exception for this novel due the setting and plot: Germany on the cusp of World War II and Hitler's rise to power. This provides for a lot of tension and suspense within the story. However, I think that is also the reason I did not enjoy the novel as much as I should have: my own knowledge of what happens during the Holocaust and World War II. Having said that, the plot is creative and weaves in historical events with skill. Grossman takes a few artistic liberties with some of the dates, but this does not detract from the storyline in any way. This novel is so much more than just a straight mystery or crime novel. It is an examination of human depravity and the events that led to one of the most tragic chapters of human history.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    I liked this book, but didn't love it. The setting and history involved was fascinating. Berlin on the eve of the Nazi take-over is like watching a train wreck, you just can't look away. I often found myself yelling at the main character in my head, "GET OUT!! GET OUT NOW!!!" Which is probably the point. The mystery itself seemed like just a method to talk about 1932-33 Berlin. It just wasn't that much of a mystery; not strong enough for what seemed to be the supposed glue of the book. The charac I liked this book, but didn't love it. The setting and history involved was fascinating. Berlin on the eve of the Nazi take-over is like watching a train wreck, you just can't look away. I often found myself yelling at the main character in my head, "GET OUT!! GET OUT NOW!!!" Which is probably the point. The mystery itself seemed like just a method to talk about 1932-33 Berlin. It just wasn't that much of a mystery; not strong enough for what seemed to be the supposed glue of the book. The characters and setting were much more interesting. The writing was very uneven as well. Some of it was well done, other parts I found myself taken out of the story by glaring grammatical errors or a poorly turned phrase. The grammar can be blamed on an editor, but much of the writing just felt kind of clunky. That being said, if you enjoy this period of history, it's a pretty quick read and entertaining. Definitely good enough for a vacation read or a quiet evening at home.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tasha

    A good hist fic mystery. I loved the real historical info and scene descriptions throughout the book, you can tell the author loves history and did his best to make it as real as possible (with a few changes which he mentions later in the author's note). I felt the mystery was a good, solid one with more to come after the mystery was solved. Often times, I lose interest once the mystery/crime is solved but in this case, the author keeps you on the edge of your seat even after the fact. My one gr A good hist fic mystery. I loved the real historical info and scene descriptions throughout the book, you can tell the author loves history and did his best to make it as real as possible (with a few changes which he mentions later in the author's note). I felt the mystery was a good, solid one with more to come after the mystery was solved. Often times, I lose interest once the mystery/crime is solved but in this case, the author keeps you on the edge of your seat even after the fact. My one gripe is his use of 'd instead of just writing out the full word, i.e. Wili'd, Vicki'd. Annoying and lazy in my opinion. I thought about docking a star for this but by the end of the book, I just didn't feel I could give this one a 3 star rating. I'm overlooking this annoyance for the sake of the story.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Samide

    A really intriguing storyline that takes place in one of most important and interesting time period in history. It was pretty good mystery not great but good. My favorite thing about this book was that it was historically accurate to my knowledge. very well written and I'll be waiting for Paul Grossman's next book. A really intriguing storyline that takes place in one of most important and interesting time period in history. It was pretty good mystery not great but good. My favorite thing about this book was that it was historically accurate to my knowledge. very well written and I'll be waiting for Paul Grossman's next book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Julie Kellner

    This if the first time I have read this author. I stumbled across this book in my local library and thought I would give it a go, and I am glad I did. It is a great thriller set in pre Nazi Germany in the 1930's. The story follows Will Kraus, a Jewish detective, set among the turmoil as Hitler starts to come to power. This story is original and thrilling Highly recommended This if the first time I have read this author. I stumbled across this book in my local library and thought I would give it a go, and I am glad I did. It is a great thriller set in pre Nazi Germany in the 1930's. The story follows Will Kraus, a Jewish detective, set among the turmoil as Hitler starts to come to power. This story is original and thrilling Highly recommended

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bethica

    This book was AMAZING from start to finish. Grossman puts you into a world so vivid and full of life that you actually feel like you're there. This is one the characters will stay with you for a long time. This book was AMAZING from start to finish. Grossman puts you into a world so vivid and full of life that you actually feel like you're there. This is one the characters will stay with you for a long time.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    So, this was blurbed as "a riveting debut" and praised by NPR, which raised my expectations a bit. It's a mystery thriller set in Weimar Germany, immediately before (and during) Hitler's rise to power. The setup is annoyingly familiar: a woman is found mutilated & murdered, a man has to solve the crime. I keep thinking we're going to get past this trope, but apparently not. Still, I sighed and gave it a shot. Warning: strong language, gross and possibly trigger-y stuff. (view spoiler)[ On the con So, this was blurbed as "a riveting debut" and praised by NPR, which raised my expectations a bit. It's a mystery thriller set in Weimar Germany, immediately before (and during) Hitler's rise to power. The setup is annoyingly familiar: a woman is found mutilated & murdered, a man has to solve the crime. I keep thinking we're going to get past this trope, but apparently not. Still, I sighed and gave it a shot. Warning: strong language, gross and possibly trigger-y stuff. (view spoiler)[ On the con side... Although this is a first novel I had the weird feeling of having missed a prior book. Grossman sets up his hero, Detective Willi Kraus, as both a war hero and winner of the Iron Cross and as the renowned finder of the Child Eater...apparently a serial killer who murdered and ate children? (Just as long as there's no sensationalism!) The problem isn't so much that Grossman does this, as it is how he does it. There are asides in the narrative that refer back to Kraus's experiences in that case, and their tone seems to assume that the reader is familiar with it too. I kept thinking that this was a follow-up book. It also seems like a strange decision to ask your readers to assume a bunch of character development--all the stuff that got Willi to this point, a respected German senior detective who is also a Jew, whose wife was killed in what sounds like a freak accident that (again) we are told about in knowing terms as if we've witnessed it, who has two young sons and an alluring sister-in-law for no apparent reason since they're immediately shipped off to France. I mean, why not show any of that? Or if you're not going to show it, because it's not the story you want to tell, why allude to it as if we know it, rather than filling in Willi's history the old-fashioned way, through showing how it informs his current actions and dialogue? This may just be a technique thing, but there are some pretty generally accepted ways to show that, for instance, a man is grieving for his dead wife. Mementos, encounters with mutual friends, little tics and tells. I don't know, maybe I'm asking too much. Later, there's a getting-the-band-back-together moment with his fellow soldiers, aged now but willing to put their lives on the line to investigate a Nazi stronghold. That's great, but since we don't know these guys from Adam, Grossman has to halt all action and do some awkward, hasty footwork to let us know that this one is a communications expert, this one is a wirecutter, this one lost a finger or an ear or whatever... These guys do their bit and then disappear, never to be heard from again. Cue swelling music. What I'm saying is, there's some extremely odd pacing and characterization, and some failures of the narrative arc. They seem to me like things that an experienced editor should have caught and asked Grossman to reconsider--at the very least, if he was determined to hide his character's backstory in an alluded-to former life, he could have done it more smoothly and without causing as much confusion for the reader. So. Let's talk about this book's gender trouble. (Get comfy!) I shouldn't be surprised. I should have lowered my expectations for genre thrillers by now, maybe especially thrillers written by men, definitely especially thrillers whose inciting incident is a dead woman. But no. In fact, I just went and created three new Goodreads shelves for this. Dead women, abused women, women must suffer. If I went back through my reading for the last few years, I'm sure I could fill that shelf without half trying. We kick things off with a drowned woman found on a riverbank. Her legs have been mutilated--the bones from one surgically transplanted (backward, I think, I skimmed for the gist here) to the other. Due to the state of her legs, she couldn't have walked. Her head's been shaved, she's drowned. And of course she's described as beautiful, with "large, round breasts, the nipples already blackening." This is the point at which I like to pause, mark my place with a finger, and say aloud to the author: "Fuck you." If anyone participating in the media culture at this point isn't familiar with the concept of Fridging, I encourage them to go check it out. Mr. Grossman, go ahead. I'll wait. From here, we follow Willi through his investigation until he encounters Paula, a dominatrix prostitute with whom he starts an extremely unlikely and clichéd relationship. Paula is buxom, white-skinned, blonde, and of course not only a prostitute but a morphine addict. Another character explains that this means she's done for--there's no hope for her, she's as good as dead. It's never made clear in the narrative that this might be a flawed perspective. Paula bravely volunteers to infiltrate the Nazi gang, and to paraphrase Jane Austen, the reader can tell from "the tell-tale compression of the pages before them" that her goose is cooked. Offstage she's (probably raped and) murdered, her skull split open and her brain extracted for ghoulish Nazi experiments. In fact we never get confirmation of what happens to her--just a possibly-bogus notice delivered to her mother, which Willi learns of third-hand. His thought process is pretty much: well, shit. And then there are some exciting chase scenes. I forgot to mention: Paula is also a sexual masochist who begs Willi to spank and hit her in bed. He complies reluctantly, disturbed and turned off. But he does find it in himself to smack her in the face when she flirts with a friend of his. This then becomes foreplay. There's absolutely no clue in the book that this is messed up. I suspect that this may be Grossman's attempt to make Willi a grittier character, a little less comfortable and familiar to the twenty-first-century reader. Unfortunately it just comes across as awful. So there's all that...and then there's the fact that the Nazis are targeting beautiful foreign women for their sinister medical experiments. They have a pet hypnotist who implants post-hypnotic suggestion in their minds (??) during his stage show, causing them to leave home and take the train to Spandau, where they're scooped up and ferried away to the chamber of horrors. Never mind that this doesn't make any sense, that the majority of their victims are the vulnerable population of mental hospital inmates, that kidnapping high-profile women (including princesses) after they attend a high-profile stage show would draw official attention pretty fast even in the chaos of 1933 Berlin. It's all just hand-waving and hoopla to pad out Grossman's story. There's nothing like large-breasted women chained in rape cellars (and later vivisected) to bring out the reading public! So let it be said, I am deeply critical of Grossman's techniques. He has a basic story that's sensationalistic enough: Nazi human experimentation and mass murder. He soups it up with a boatload of sexual sadism, in the grand tradition of punishing women and girls for the enjoyment of the masses. Then he expects us to reflect on how horrible the Nazis were. Let me tell you, Mr. Grossman. The Nazis did unspeakable things. But there are ways to speak about them without perpetuating the glamor of atrocity. If the book were otherwise well-written, maybe some of this would be forgivable. (If it were otherwise well-written, none of this would be in it.) But Grossman relies on the most laughable conveniences to help his detective along. Willi is constantly glimpsing headlines that fill in vital missing pieces of information--Famed Hypnotist Found Shot in Berlin Park! Medical Doctor Commits Suicide! When he's not reading the story with us, he's overhearing it in easy-to-understand snippets from secondary characters. Hiding in the basement of the Nazi stronghold, he hears two guards come in and discuss exactly how many guards are stationed in the place. Great news, only a dozen! That will make planning a return trip much easier! The dialogue and narrative also rely heavily on cliché and stereotype, of the "Damn it, he had to have her" school of 1930s pulp noir. It's clear Grossman is going for velocity rather than style, but there were several moments when I couldn't believe his editor had let him get away with a stock turn of phrase. The saddest outcome of all this haste and hand-waving is that Willi never comes to life as a character. He's solid cardboard, through and through--a faceless man in a particularly awful moment in history. He's not even a particularly competent detective, regardless of how much we're told he's renowned for the Child Eater (ew) case. He sends Paula off on a ridiculously dubious and dangerous mission, immediately loses her, almost gets his friend killed in the process, wanders around hopelessly looking for leads for weeks after her disappearance, finally learns third-hand that she's dead, and accepts that as fact. He's send on a wild goose chase by his superior officer and doesn't recognize the fact until far too late. He doesn't manage to save a single victim from the Nazi stronghold. Yes, Grossman sets him up against unwinnable odds. But he also manages to mess things up pretty regularly on his own. So, why not one star on this one? I'm not sure, maybe it should have just one. But I did enjoy reading about Berlin itself in this period. Grossman's done his research--or I assume he has, since I'm not fact-checking him. He renders Weimar Berlin as a turbulent, glittering, cosmopolitan city. There's some enjoyment to be had in reading his descriptions of restaurants and bars, parks and museums, the Brandenburg Gate and Potsdamer Platz. Willi is a lifelong Berliner who knows the city like the back of his hand, and has seen it go through both the Great War and the Depression. It's a pleasure to follow him as he negotiates its street traffic, visits its department stores and cafés, and watches in growing disbelief as the Communists and Nazis battle for ascendancy. By the time things really explode in 1933, it's almost possible to imagine how a city like this could fall to fascism. And when Willi returns after the war to see it again, its bombed-out shells and ruined streets feel newly real and shocking. It would be nice, though, to read all this without having to endure any more women stuffed in fridges. (hide spoiler)]

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jill Meyer

    Paul Grossman's first novel, "The Sleepwalkers" is set in Berlin, 1932, just as the Nazis are seizing power. Willi Kraus is a detective-inspector at "the Alex", the police headquarters in the Alexanderplatz. He's famous throughout Berlin as the catcher of a particularly nasty criminal, "The Child Eater". (Not much left to the imagination there). Kraus is a widower and the father of two young sons. He is also Jewish, at a time when things are turning really nasty for Germany's Jews. He's assigned a Paul Grossman's first novel, "The Sleepwalkers" is set in Berlin, 1932, just as the Nazis are seizing power. Willi Kraus is a detective-inspector at "the Alex", the police headquarters in the Alexanderplatz. He's famous throughout Berlin as the catcher of a particularly nasty criminal, "The Child Eater". (Not much left to the imagination there). Kraus is a widower and the father of two young sons. He is also Jewish, at a time when things are turning really nasty for Germany's Jews. He's assigned a couple of cases, one a missing Bulgarian princess and the other the murder of a woman, whose body was found floating in a river with her legs cruelly experimented on. Detective work, even with an assistant, is becoming increasingly difficult for the Jewish Willi Kraus. He is drawn in to the murky Berlin underground crime and entertainment worlds, as well as to the on-going Nazi jockeying for power. Visits to the new concentration camp at suburban Sachausen open Kraus's eyes to what really happening in the Germany he loves and hopes to grow old in. Grossman's writing is good. Nothing great, but he tells an interesting story fairly well.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Emmett

    A quick read. Full of suspense and drama. It had a very noir feel to it. It was like reading an old 30s or 40s black and white movie, complete with dramatic break-aways. The book takes place in Berlin in the early 30s before the Nazis take control. A WWI veteran, now a police detective and also Jewish, is trying to solve the death of a woman found in the river. As it becomes obvious the Nazis are involved, it is imperative he solves the case, but time is running out. Nazi rule is at hand. Soon it A quick read. Full of suspense and drama. It had a very noir feel to it. It was like reading an old 30s or 40s black and white movie, complete with dramatic break-aways. The book takes place in Berlin in the early 30s before the Nazis take control. A WWI veteran, now a police detective and also Jewish, is trying to solve the death of a woman found in the river. As it becomes obvious the Nazis are involved, it is imperative he solves the case, but time is running out. Nazi rule is at hand. Soon it won't matter that the police detective is a celebrated war hero; only that he is a jew. More and more of his allies are killed by the Nazis as more and more people fall under the spell of nazi rhetoric. The book delves into how people can start to fall into the beliefs of a few, while ignoring their fellow citizens. I liked the images of old Berlin it conjured. The beauty of the city, while also showing the city's seedy side.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Manisha Nandy Mazumder

    Reading this book brought on such an immense feeling of depression and desolation that it took me months to complete. The author does an amazing job of capturing the sheer helplessness of those times. The central character feels everything around him in such a great magnitude that his feelings resonate from the pages and beat inside you. I would recommend this book for the mystery, the historical accuracy and the quality of the written word. The ending was anti climatic. I think the author himse Reading this book brought on such an immense feeling of depression and desolation that it took me months to complete. The author does an amazing job of capturing the sheer helplessness of those times. The central character feels everything around him in such a great magnitude that his feelings resonate from the pages and beat inside you. I would recommend this book for the mystery, the historical accuracy and the quality of the written word. The ending was anti climatic. I think the author himself was getting depressed with the story and decided to make the ending a bit happier than what the story actually deserved. It is a good book. It would have been a great book had the author tightened his guts and actually written a realistic ending of torture and concentration camps. Instead he chose the turquoise Mediterranean.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laini

    Very dark, very oppressive, and very good! Berlin in the early '30s is perfectly captured. From the excess of the remaining Weimar glamour, to the terrifying takeover in 1933, you get the full meal deal of scariness. In our current political climate, I think this is even more of a frightening read. Medical experiments, a Jewish protagonist, and all that entails. This kept me turning pages long into the night. Very dark, very oppressive, and very good! Berlin in the early '30s is perfectly captured. From the excess of the remaining Weimar glamour, to the terrifying takeover in 1933, you get the full meal deal of scariness. In our current political climate, I think this is even more of a frightening read. Medical experiments, a Jewish protagonist, and all that entails. This kept me turning pages long into the night.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Marsha Valance

    THE SLEEPWALKERS is a work of historical fiction, a medical mystery, a thriller, and a work of crime noir. In 1932 Berlin, "a city that had reached the end, of no tomorrows, teetering on the brink," Jewish Det. Willi Kraus is assigned to investigate a series of bizarre and heinous crimes whose victims are sleepwalking young women delivered to their killers via hypnosis. As the investigation points to high-ranking Nazi officials, both the stakes and the sense of impending doom grow higher. THE SLEEPWALKERS is a work of historical fiction, a medical mystery, a thriller, and a work of crime noir. In 1932 Berlin, "a city that had reached the end, of no tomorrows, teetering on the brink," Jewish Det. Willi Kraus is assigned to investigate a series of bizarre and heinous crimes whose victims are sleepwalking young women delivered to their killers via hypnosis. As the investigation points to high-ranking Nazi officials, both the stakes and the sense of impending doom grow higher.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kelley

    This book started out strong, but then got harder to follow. However, I was unaware how early "racial cleansing" and testing on fellow humans started in pre-WWII Germany. For current times, there are people comparing our government to Nazism, which I always find appalling, our government is trying to keep us safe, Nazism, how do you even compare? This book started out strong, but then got harder to follow. However, I was unaware how early "racial cleansing" and testing on fellow humans started in pre-WWII Germany. For current times, there are people comparing our government to Nazism, which I always find appalling, our government is trying to keep us safe, Nazism, how do you even compare?

  29. 4 out of 5

    Emleigh

    Well this was terrifyingly relevant. I wanted more from the characters, but the depiction of Berlin as the Nazis rose to power was very compelling. I also appreciated that the few liberties the author took with history are noted at the end with actual dates and facts to give the story more context.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rogue Reader

    Set in Berlin in the months leading up to the Nazis take over of the German government. The protag, Willi Kraus is a German homicide detective who becomes increasingly aware of atrocities and disappearances. Good treatment of the expansive, hedonism of the city rather than the impending crisis.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...