The Kinder Garden

Fred Taylor, Author Carroll & Graf Publishers $21.95 (460p) ISBN 978-0-88184-697-3
``A cesspool'' is how one character in Taylor's ( Walking Shadows ) chilling new thriller describes post-WW II Berlin, a city of black markets, prostitution, corruption and widespread hunger. And just as the Cold War begins with the Berlin airlift of 1948, British military police captain James Blessed finds a young British soldier and his girlfriend brutally murdered. Convinced that the crimes point to something larger, Blessed, fighting off superiors and a bitter, neglected wife, relentlessly tracks the culprits. But each breakthrough is met with another savage killing. Meanwhile, Taylor takes the reader underground, to the ``Kinder Garden,'' a den of streetwise orphan boys led by a charismatic teenage killer, Boss-Kind. When Blessed comes too close, the Kinder raise the stakes by kidnapping his daughter. Officially removed from the case, Blessed nonetheless continues to pursue the boys all over Berlin, and Taylor's meticulously researched geography gives the city the status of a major character in the novel. Except for a few odd and unnecessary digressions (like one about Blessed's parents and syphilis), most of the farflung clues align in the violent but cleverly orchestrated climax. Taylor's nightmarish portrayal of the Kinder'sok.eed naive barbarism and his intricate use of historical facts and locale make this a standout in a crowded genre. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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