cover image The Second Rider

The Second Rider

Alex Beer, trans. from the German by Tim Mohr. Europa, $17 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-60945-472-2

Austrian author Beer makes her English-language debut with this outstanding series launch set in 1919 Vienna. For three months, Insp. August Emmerich has been on the trail of Veit Kolja, the head of a large-scale black market smuggling operation that supplies people with basic needs—food, medicine, and clothing—that remain scarce in a city still devastated by WWI. Emmerich dreams of a reassignment to the elite division that handles homicides and hopes to showcase his deductive skills after his inexperienced new assistant stumbles across a corpse in the woods. The dead man is eventually identified as war veteran Dietrich Jost, who suffered from extreme shell shock. The coroner and Emmerich’s boss, District Insp. Leopold Sander, are eager to label Jost’s death a suicide, even after a second body turns up. Emmerich resists Sander’s directives to devote himself to the smuggling ring, even as he grapples with debilitating pain from a war wound as well as a devastating development in his personal life. Despite the plot’s essential grimness, Beer is able to inject some humor. Fans of Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther series will be intrigued. (Oct.)