Mystery - translated from German (ARC)
Berlin takes place in post WWII in Germany, near 'Uncle Tom's Cabin', a now American militarized zone. When dead girls start to show up, all German blondes, with blue eyes, working in the American zone and having been brutally asaulted, the German police suspect an American. They work together with the Americans to try and solve who is behind these murders. At times you're lead to believe that it's not so much as working together as it is working against each other. Whenever a girl is found murdered, Frei takes the reader on an adventure into her past up until the point where she was murdered.
It took me a fair amount of time to get through this book, so that could be part of my problem with it. There were far too many characters to keep track of. First you had to remember all of the characters from the investigation (in of itself, not too hard), but then there were characters from each of the girls background which were like miniature stories. It got to the point where I couldn't tell one character from another and that probably ruined the ending for me because I hardly even recognized the murderer's name.
Frei did a great job of transporting you back into the past and giving descriptions of what it would have been like living in Berlin during WWII. Some of the girls had it fairly easy, some were not so lucky. I particularly felt bad for Marlene, who was continuously raped and beaten.
There was also a lot of vivid sexual descriptions in this novel. I didn't feel that they added much to the story but were just there to keep the reader interested and for shock value.
During the murder investigation, there were little snippets of story about Ben, the son of the lead investigator. They were kind of pointless. They, like the sex, provided no movement for the book, and rather just made it longer. Although the dependence on the barter system was interesting to read about.