cover image No Man Dies Twice

No Man Dies Twice

Michael Smith. Diversion, $14.99 trade paper (266p) ISBN 978-1-63576-192-4

British journalist Smith (Killer Elite) makes his fiction debut with a gripping mystery set in Germany during WWII that will resonate with fans of Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther series. Insp. Peter Ritter’s superiors in the Rosenheim police aren’t interested in pursuing the identity of the strangler of Hans Schinkel after they conclude that the victim was Jewish. But Ritter, whose refusal to join the Nazi Party has caused friction in his marriage, persists in investigating, intrigued by the presence on the corpse of a white rose, the symbol of German resistance to the Third Reich. Shortly before Schinkel’s body was found near a river, he was staying at the Schweizerhof, a hotel where he was one of only six guests. Another was Marianne Müller, a notorious prostitute and frequent companion of the local Gestapo head, Gerhard Drexler—a possible lead that Ritter’s bosses discourage him from following. The stakes rise when someone fatally stabs Drexler in the room that he and Müller shared at the Schweizerhof. While Ritter is not as well-crafted as Bernie Gunther, his willingness to be ethically flexible to attain justice is an appropriate fit for the morally ambiguous position in which his work places him. Readers will hope to see more of Ritter. Agent: Scott Miller, Trident Media Group. (Mar.)