The Sleepwalkers

Paul Grossman, Author
Paul Grossman, read by Christian Contreras, HighBridge Audio, unabridged, nine CDs, 10 hrs., $34.95 ISBN 978-1-61573-105-3
Reviewed on: 10/25/2010
Release date: 10/01/2010
Grossman's intriguing debut, set in 1932 during the Weimar Republic's last days, is given a strong dramatic rendition by Christian Contreras, assisted by his vast range of unique, credible German accents including boisterous full-throated aristocrats, cynical prostitutes, and sinister Nazis. His interpretation of the noir's protagonist is particularly on target. High-ranking Berlin policeman Willi Kraus, once considered the country's greatest detective, is a little late in realizing that his crime-solving expertise won't save him from the fate of being a Jew once Hitler is in power. Instead of following his family to safety, he remains focused on solving the murder of a young woman whose legs had been surgically deformed. But as the mood of the country darkens and his investigation turns political, he feels a new sense of vulnerability. Contreras provides the sleuth with a measured, thoughtful voice at first, slowly shifting to one filled with uncertainty, which, at several crucial moments, splinters with panic. A St. Martin's hardcover (Reviews, July 19). (Oct.)