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Rosa: A Novel

Rosa: A Novel

Written by Jonathan Rabb

Narrated by Simon Prebble


Rosa: A Novel

Written by Jonathan Rabb

Narrated by Simon Prebble

ratings:
4/5 (7 ratings)
Length:
15 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jul 9, 2009
ISBN:
9781400182503
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Editor's Note

Historical noir…

War, a serial killer & political intrigue collide in this historical noir set in Berlin at the end of WWI. Well-written and carefully researched, this dark whodunit has something for history buffs and mystery-lovers alike.

Description

In the last days of the First World War, socialist revolution swept across Germany, sending Kaiser Wilhelm into exile and transforming Berlin into a battleground. But for Detective Inspector Nikolai Hoffner and his young assistant, Hans Fichte, the revolution is a mere inconvenience. Four women from the slums of Berlin have turned up dead, all with identical markings etched into their backs, and Hoffner and Fichte have spent the better part of six weeks trying to crack the bizarre case.



Things take a troubling turn when the political police begin to show an interest in Hoffner's investigation. Hoffner has no idea why the Polpo would want to get their hands dirty with a serial murderer, until he is shown the lifeless body of Rosa Luxemburg, the same eerie markings on her back. Rumors abound that Rosa, one of the leaders of the suppressed socialist uprising, was assassinated by an angry mob, but the pattern carved into her back tells a different story.



In his remarkable thriller, Jonathan Rabb paints a vivid, unforgettable picture of a city and a people poised between the chaos of the First World War and the darkness to come, a time when political thugs, petty thieves, and charismatic leaders rushed to fill the void left behind. Into this gap steps Hoffner, who, while battling his own personal demons, is still determined to find out who is preying on the women of Berlin, even as he gets drawn deeper into the mystery surrounding Rosa's death. Hoffner's search for the killer leads him on a dark and twisted journey through the battle-scarred streets of the city, where he soon discovers that nothing is as it appears. And while he finds allies in unexpected places, he is met at every turn by men who will stop at nothing to keep him from finding out the truth about Rosa.



A genuine mystery at the time, Rosa's fate has continued to prompt speculation to this day. Rabb's taut political thriller imagines one strikingly real possibility. With his first two novels, The Overseer and The Book of Q, Rabb proved that he had a talent not only for writing suspenseful narratives but for illuminating the darkest corners of history as well. With Rosa, his finest work, he brings to life a world capital on the brink of chaos, a tragic revolutionary who both inspired and enraged, and a compellingly complex, world-weary, deeply flawed but brilliant inspector named Nikolai Hoffner.
Publisher:
Released:
Jul 9, 2009
ISBN:
9781400182503
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Jonathan Rabb is the author of five novels: The Second Son, Shadow and Light, Rosa, The Overseer, and The Book of Q. He lives in Savannah, Georgia, with his wife and twin children.


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Reviews

What people think about Rosa

3.9
7 ratings / 7 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    A good book that held my interest, set in a very interesting time. The author could have done a bit more research, however -- he refers to the Wehrmacht, which did not come into existence until 1935 (the story is set in 1919), and talks about the "Defense Ministry", when in fact all defense ministries at the time were called "War Ministries". These nitpickings notwithstanding, Rabb paints a colorful picture of the modern world before telephones and automobiles became ubiquitous. A good, atmospheric read.
  • (4/5)
    Really enjoyed this. A good detective story and great historical fiction in a rarely written about period.

    I felt it captured the mood of 1919 Berlin very well, especially the political atmosphere.
  • (3/5)
    I have given up on this 40% through. While Jonathan Rabb is very good at evoking the spirit of a time and place, in this case post First World War Berlin, I found the story too dull and slow moving to hold my interest. None of the characters appealed at all, either. 2.5/5
  • (4/5)
    Excellent detective story set in post WW I Germany. Lots of historical material, strong protagonist.
  • (3/5)
    The German politics was confusing and detracted from the overall story. Trace of Smoke was much better.
  • (5/5)
    The title here refers to the socialist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg; indeed, the action in this book takes place just after her death in 1919.Obviously, she is not the main character, but her death is a central element in this most ingenious novel. Nikolai Hoffner is an inspector in post-war Germany's Kriminalpolizei(Kripo), and he leads the investigation of a series of bizarrre murders in which the killer engraves patterns in his victims' backs with a knife after he kills them. One of the bodies that he is called out to see turns out to be that of Luxemburg, and it too has the strange markings. Because it is Rosa's body, however, Hoffner finds himself and his investigation being thwarted, as the case now finds its way into more political channels. But Hoffner can't give up the case no matter what.Hoffner is a very flawed individual, making his character just that much more believable. In fact, all of the characters are portrayed rather well. The author takes on a noirish tone in this book, which was engrossing from beginning to end. I would definitely recommend it to people interested in historical fiction, or who want something decidedly different on their to be read stack of mystery novels. Be warned...this is not a touchy-feely, feel good kind of novel -- it's gritty and realistic. Simply excellent reading -- and there's another Nikolai Hoffner novel coming out in 2009. I'll be there.
  • (5/5)
    War and communist revolution in Berlin during the dark days after Germany's defeat in World War I. That's the setting for "Rosa" by Jonathan Rabb.A serial killer is on the loose in Berlin. He preys on the weak by stabbing them then carving a signature drawing into their backs. All of Berlin is terrified. The task of catching the serial killer falls to Kriminal-Kommissar Nikolai Hoffner and his assistant Hans Fichte. They have to go over all the evidence to decide where he will strike next. But before they go very far, the body of German communist leader Rosa Luxemburg turns up with the same carvings in her back. Was she another victim of the serial killer or is a copycat taking advantage of the real killer to quietly dispose of some state enemies? The political police start to poke their nose around and it soon becomes clear that they want the cases closed quickly otherwise they will close the cases themselves. Hoffner and Fichte must find out why and catch the madman before he strikes again.Very well-written, very descriptive, believable characters and a really gripping plot. Don't miss this one!!