ANGEL AVENGER – (Max Becker Book #1)
September 1960. In the Spandauer forest Detectives Max Becker and Bastian Döhl, from the Berlin Kriminalpolizei, find a naked, tortured man tied to a tree.
A cryptic message hangs from his neck.
When another body appears, Max is sure it won’t be the last.
The press dub the killer, Der Waldscharfrichter (The Forest Executioner) and graphic tattoos on the bodies suggest that the victims are Russians with a criminal past.
As more bodies and messages appear, they lead Max and his team to a horrific past event, wounds that run deep in the Berlin psyche, plunging Max into a conflict between his sense of duty and justice.
Born in Zimbabwe in 1962, Tim spent his early years in Zimbabwe, the UK and then Hong Kong. At the age of eight he went off to boarding school in the UK, spending his holidays in Germany, where his father was stationed. He loved the country and its people and in planning to create a new detective series it seemed natural to choose 60s Berlin.
He has been writing for many years, including plays and many short stories, although Angel Avenger is his debut novel.
Since 2005 Tim has lived in West Wales, is married and has a son.
He loves walking, reading, writing, researching 20th century military history and prior to becoming a full-time writer worked variously as a teacher, college lecturer, IT analyst and Cabinet Maker.
Check out all Tim’s latest news and social media connections on his website
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Berlin, Thursday, April 26 1945
In the early hours, there has been a great thunderstorm, the rain so heavy that it has put out fires burning around the city. The air hangs dense, smelling of acrid, damp, smoke; the stench so thick that it stings eyes, coating nose, and throat.
Check out an extended ‘Book Beginnings’ extract, here
“Bastian says, “see that’s my weakness, I’m crap at politics. But be careful; don’t make yourself look weak, not in the lion’s den.”
Otti smiles, saying, “I think you’ll find, in the lion’s world, it’s the lioness does all the hunting and killing.”
“True, but the lion always gets to eat first, doesn’t he?”“
““The more we know, the more we don’t,” says Max, “one question simply brings three more.”“
“His life has always been, and will always be one of a man of action, of danger, now making amends for a past that was never his to repent of. She, having touched the very essence of suffering and evil, knows its remedy and has become the ultimate healer of it: patience, wisdom, empathy and a haven.“
“Remembering what her father had once said, ‘always best to know your enemy; try and think like him.’“
“As a fellow Wehrmacht soldier and war veteran, he feels great sympathy for this man. Postwar Germany had little time for its veterans, wanting to bury the shame in denial.“
Check out single, extended ‘teaser’ extract, here
“They took everything. Now she’s found them.”
Wow! That covers my reaction to this book, on just about every different front, definitely making it my best read of 2019, which is when I opened this Pandora’s box of emotions.
I did have a couple of false starts in getting going, not because I couldn’t get into the story, but simply because I was initially reading it in short bursts and not really getting my head around the timeframe of the opening action. You really need to have a good period of uninterrupted reading, to get everything into context, then the pages turn themselves and I promise, you won’t want to put it down!
Finding a way of putting a review together which does the writing justice, without revealing too many spoilers and not repeating the glowing reviews of so many previous readers, is going to be very tricky …
Angel Avenger is a multi-layered piece of cultural fiction, alongside being an excellent first story in a great new crime thriller series.
Well researched by an author who has studied his subject extensively, to ensure as much authenticity as possible, both in time, place and the human understanding of the cause and consequences of events.
We are trapped in the post Second World War of Berlin, just as Cold War tensions reach their peak. The City plays host to a vast cross section of humanity, all struggling to come to terms with their changed roles in a society they no longer recognise.
A Germany brought to its knees by forces from both east and west, with many veterans from the east deciding that a life infiltrated amongst this defeated population, was much more preferable than returning to their masters. But are they ready for the retribution heaped upon them by their ‘liberated’ captives? – You can run, but you can’t hide!
For Max Becker and his Kriminalpolizei team of detectives, many of whom had served in the ‘regime’ military during the war, a life upholding the law in a more dignified, ordered and humane fashion, is proving to be something of a personal challenge. The mature in years circle of men who head up the organisation, are the same people who still uphold the beliefs and values under which they fought and served in the conflict; whilst many in the lower echelons, such as Max and his team, question the very foundations on which their military service was based, and only strive to make life better for their fellow Berliners, by delivering a kinder, more considered justice.
Even they however, are now having their very core values challenged, when the latest addition to the organisation might test their synergy and character dynamics to their limits. Max, who has his own personal family bedrock and confidante in his wife, to keep him grounded and open-minded; and his co-worker, Bastian who has more faith than most in the new order of things, are quite accepting of the changing face of a post-war society, so whilst they are ever watchful and vigilant, ready to intervene if there are any flagrant violations of protocol, they are quite happy to keep their distance and let events take their own course!
Tim is a consummate author, who with total authority, can inject just the right amounts of pathos and empathy into his narrative and the dialogue between his characters, whilst recognising and being able to communicate with his readers, the anger and frustration which revenge can engender in the human psyche and nature.
Visual and descriptive scenes, make this one not for the faint of heart or stomach, although in their way, these acts of clinically planned and executed brutality, were profoundly touching, emotionally draining, compelling and almost necessary reading.
It didn’t matter that the identity of the murderers was made known very early on in the story, as anyone reading the prologue would surely have already guessed the outcomes. A richly crafted storyline of almost two halves; initially focusing on the plot with its planning, execution and consequences; then switching almost seamlessly to the chase, capture and the cathartic unburdening of guilt, by both the perpetrators of crime and the law enforcement charged with tracking them down. The sting in the end of the tale took me completely by surprise, but tied up all the loose parts very nicely, without appearing contrived and manufactured.
Perceptive writing brought the Kriminalpolizei to life and is already making this a cast of characters it is becoming surprisingly easy to connect with, whilst total authority over the dialogue purveys the desperate intensity of those on both sides of the law, searching for a sense of belonging and purpose in the new order of things. I shall hopefully be following Max Becker and his team as they establish a future for law and order in the new Berlin!
A complimentary download of this book, was kindly made available and supplied by the author.
Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article which promotes this book or its author.
I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract 5 out of 5 stars and has earned a place on my Goodreads ‘Favourite’ shelf!
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