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Publisher's Summary

Berlin, March 1943. The mood in Germany is bleak after their stunning defeat at Stalingrad. Private Investigator Bernie Gunther is at work in the German War Crimes Bureau - weary, cynical but well aware of the value of truth in a world where that's now a rarity.  

When human remains are found deep in the Katyn Forest, Bernie is sent to investigate. Rumour has it that this mass grave is full of Polish officers murdered by the Russians. For Josef Goebbels, proof of Russian involvement is sure to destroy the Western Alliance, giving Germany a chance to reverse its devastating losses. But supposing the truth is far more damaging to the German cause?  

It's Bernie Gunther's job to give Goebbels what he needs. But when there's nothing left for Gunther to lose, the compulsion to speak the truth becomes ever stronger.... 

©2013 Thynker Ltd (P)2019 Quercus Editions Limited

Critic Reviews

"One of the greatest anti-heroes ever written." (Lee Child)

What listeners say about A Man Without Breath

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  • Reviewer
  • 21-07-2020

Where is Jeff Harding

Please re- record this book with Jeff Harding.....the true voice of Bernie Gunter. This new guy doesn't cut it.....makes it painful to listen to. Jeff harding who is the voice of Bernie Gunter in the majority of the other audible recordings is a master of characterisation of Bernie and the other protaganists.

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  • JJC
  • 06-10-2019

Great Gunther story but some audio oddities...

These yarns are always a great mix of history and crime fiction and we shall miss the late Philip Kerr after his untimely demise a short while back. Bernie Gunther is a wonderful character but the nature of that character is very influenced by the voice and tone of the reader and this Bernie, voiced by Paul Hecht, is a very different Bernie from the much brasher Bernie evoked by Jeff Harding on most of the other Audible titles. And I'm not sure which I prefer, but Hecht's does seem a bit more thoughtful and introspective by way of the quieter tone of voice.

However, there are some odd quirks in this production with a number of spoken lines repeated as the Hecht appears to change his mind on some pronunciations, which is a little disconcerting and attention-breaking. Don't understand why this recording wasn't edited a bit better.

Anyway, for those new to Bernie Gunther you have a to to look forward to and enough books to keep you going for months! I wish I hadn't heard them all!

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  • Christopher Hegan
  • 10-02-2021

This is vintage Bernie, perfectly narrated.

Am I weird? The first Gunther book I listened to was narrated by Paul Hecht. Most importantly, since all the characters are German, there were no fake German accents but class-appropriate English ones. Plus, as a reasonable speaker of German I enjoyed the perfect pronunciation of the German placenames, etc.
Then I heard the next book narrated by Jeff Harding. What!!! How weird is this - the main character, a German, speaking in a Philip Marlowe American accent with other Germans with bad stage-German accents? To me, unlistenable.
Then Jeff Harding took over the series and it was over for me. Now Paul Hecht is back - hooray! good decision - and the reviews are SWAMPED with people howling for Harding. Bizarre.
Loved this book, and the other Hecht-narrated ones.

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  • wildeyedtrot
  • 18-11-2020

Strong story, undersold

I normally like the Gunther novels and the plot seems good enough. Unfortunately the narrator doesn't bring out the wit of the book and deaden the plot. It also seems that the edit has spliced two readings of sentences together so that the emphasis goes wrong. It's a shame as this takes away from the story and made the whole experience a little dull. Giving a German detective a light American accent doesn't help.

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  • J. Wexler
  • 14-04-2020

Well written tale of espionage, assasination and murder

Kerr almost managed to avoid the tragic love interest in this story, or at least she was not murdered or extorted as in his usual. Except for this one pernicious element, an outstanding story set on the Russian front.

One of his better books I find.

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  • honora
  • 10-10-2019

It’s not as good as some of the others- enjoyable nonetheless

Bernie is now working w goebbels - he really gets around - the plot depends on some twists that aren’t Philip Kerr ‘s best - still Bernie Gunther is a likeable character with some great lines .

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