If The Dead Rise Not by Philip Kerr

‘If The Dead Rise Not’ is the 6th novel in Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther series. This one is set in Berlin in 1934 and in Havana, Cuba in 1954.

Gunther left the police force before being forced out – for not joining the Nazi party. He is now the house detective at the luxurious Adlon hotel. Germany is preparing to host the 1936 Olympic Games and the USA is evaluating whether or not to boycott the games because of Germany’s racial prejudices. The US evaluators are convinced to turn a blind eye.

There is a lot of money to be made by contractors building Olympic facilities and the Chicago mob is in the thick of it. Gunther ends up tangling with the mob while trying to help a beautiful Jewish American journalist research what is really going on in German sport.

The story isn’t resolved until 20 years later. Gunther is now living in Havana under an assumed name. The Mafia is very active in pre-Castro Cuba and Gunther encounters some of the same people who he tangled with in 1934. All he really cares about these days is finding a way back to Germany and staying away from Cuban politics.


The 1934 part of the novel was a fascinating thriller, but I found the 1954 part a bit long winded and tedious. I would have preferred a much quicker resolution to the story. I didn’t enjoy the 1954 Bernie Gunther very much – he was much less principled and mostly concerned with his own survival. And, it looks as though he’ll be stuck in Cuba for a bit longer.

I’m hoping that the nest novels I read in the series will focus again on Gunther during the war.

I’ve already read the next novel in the series – ‘Field Grey’. The next one I’ll be reading is – ‘The Other Side of Silence’.


Book Published 2009


See a full list of books by Philip Kerr


Filed under Book Reviews, Crime, Detective, Historical, Kerr, Philip, Series Fiction

2 Responses to If The Dead Rise Not by Philip Kerr

  1. Pingback: A Quiet Flame by Philip Kerr | Written Gems

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