The Price of Survival
Gregor Reinhardt, the hero of this series, was a top police detective in Berlin, Germany when the Nazis took power and turned criminal investigations into political exercises in which race was the most important determinant of guilt. When his job changed from investigation to persecution, Reinhardt fell into despair, but was too afraid to do anything except grudgingly cooperate and drown his sorrows in drink. Reinhardt jumped from the police department to the army when his former commander (both served in World War I) asked him to rejoin the military.
This series begins in 1943 in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, which was occupied by the German Army in 1941. The Germans have allowed their allies, the Ustaše (Croatian fascists), to run the city, which they do with horrific brutality. The Jews, Roma and Serbs are murdered immediately. A resistance army, the Partisans, has been organized to fight the Germans and the Ustaše. The German forces in Sarajevo are composed of many competitive groups whose interests do not necessarily coincide: regular army, military intelligence, military police, secret military police, SS etc.
In each of these books, Reinhardt is asked by his superior to investigate murders of German soldiers. When it begins to look like either Ustaše or German soldiers are to blame, Ustaše and various factions of the German military try to derail the investigations.
In a world run by murderers and thieves, can one honest investigation make any difference?
Engrossing books. Reinhardt's murder investigations are complicated by the interference of other military groups, many of which have authority that supercedes Reinhardt's own. He proceeds at his own (high) risk and does not emerge unscathed. Reinhardt is determined to find the murderers because if he doesn't it is a sure thing that scapegoats will be found and executed.
When the Nazi's came to power, Reinhardt decided he would survive by keeping his head down and his mouth shut. He paid a personal price, succumbing to despair, numbing himself with alcohol. When given a chance to run an honest investigation and do a small bit of good in a world where almost none was left, he took it, surprising himself.
Best to start with the first book, The Man from Berlin. The author is planning to write one more book in this series, set in Yugoslavia after the war is over.
Below, the Gregor Reinhardt novels in chronological order.
(2013, Gregor Reinhardt Mysteries #1)
1943. Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.
Reinhardt investigates the murders of a fellow intelligence officer and a glamorous woman journalist with a strong connection to the Ustaše. Meanwhile, the German Army is preparing for Operation Schwarz, a massive offensive against the Partisans who are gathering in the hills around Sarajevo.
(2014, Gregor Reinhardt Mysteries #2)
1945. Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. Someone is murdering German soldiers. Reinhardt's investigation reveals a web of corruption that leads to the highest levels of the German military. Meanwhile, the German Army is preparing to abandon Sarajevo, which is almost surrounded by the Partisans who are expected to attack any day.