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Garden of Beasts Relié – 2004

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.0 étoiles sur 5 161 commentaires
36 internautes sur 37 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Garden of the Human Heart 13 août 2004
Par Richard Wells - Publié sur
Format: Relié
There are many reasons to recommend Jeffrey Deaver's, "Garden of Beasts," the first among them being it is a good story, well told.

Mr. Deaver has taken a few fictionalized days in the history of the real, mixed compelling characters and events, forced us to confront both the malign and altruistic workings of the human heart, and the corruption of an entire nation - quite a weighty accomplishment.

"Garden of Beasts," is a cat-and-mouse page turner pitting a German-American "button man" with a heart of gold, and searching for redemption, against an intrepid German detective - also with a heart of gold - in the milieu of pre-War Nazi Berlin. Also featured are American politicians and industrialists, the hierarchy of the Nazi Party, innocents struggling to keep body and soul together, and the petty criminals that make their living in a society turned topsy-turvy. One of these criminals - oddly enough also with a heart of gold - helps add an element of "buddy story" to the whole. Mr. Deaver has done his research, paints a detailed picture of the city, and forces us to confront the manipulative rot of Nazism that uses fear and bigotry to corrupt an entire country. He does a remarkable job of showing us the beast in humanity, and humanity in the beast - to the extent that I wondered if some might find the monsters a little too likable. Not to fear, though, Mr. Deaver - at least in this book - is nothing if not a moralist of high order.

Recommended as a page-turner, and as an insightful study of good, evil, and the land that lies between.
27 internautes sur 30 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 It's 1936 - In Berlin, Germany - and You Are There!!!!! 5 août 2004
Par John R. Linnell - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
I had come to expect a certain type of novel from this author (one that gives you trouble sleeping) and was delighted to find that he is much more than a one trick pony. In Garden of Beasts, Deaver takes us back to 1936 and I mean he takes us back. Edward R. Murrow used to have a television show, as I recall, entitled "You are There." in which the viewer was taken back to an historic event. Well, after reading this book, you will have a pretty clear picture of Germany in the days of the Hitler ascendancy. It is not a pretty picture.

Paul Schumann, a NY mob hitman is given the choice of going to prison or traveling to Germany to asassinate one of Hitlers most important ministers. If he does so and makes his way out, he is promised money and a new life by our government. Shumann opts for a future which does not involve prison.

Traveling as a reporter to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Schumann is not even off the boat before things start happening which complicate his life and his task. And it just keeps getting more complicated. Let Deaver take you by the hand as you traverse the Garden of Beasts. You will hate to put the book down, look forward to returning to the story and will appreciate the well thought out ending.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 An Ingenious Historical Suspense Caper Set In 1936 Berlin 21 mars 2005
Par Jana L.Perskie - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Jeffrey Deaver's "Garden of Beasts" is more an ingenious historical caper, featuring 1936 Berlin and a large international cast of historical and fictional characters, than a chilling suspense thriller. This unusual novel makes for a refreshing change of pace, and is a delightful page turner with some very tense moments. There are actually two fascinating protagonists here. One is German American freelance hitman, Paul Schumann - or as they say in 1930's crime lingo, a "button man." The other is Kripo (Police) Inspector Willi Kohl, a regular Berliner Sherlock Holmes. The Kripo is pre-War Germany's professional police force which lost much of its power to Himmler's Gestapo in 1933, after Hitler rose to power. Inspector Kohl is a dedicated professional with an excellent understanding of irony. He is not a fan of National Socialism, and seems to pull pertinent clues out of thin air from time-to-time. Deaver packs this book chock-full of period detail which gives a rich texture to the narrative.

Paul Shumann may murder for a living, but he does have a conscious. He only takes "righteous assignments," killing those who are themselves evil and deserve to be wiped out. A former contract employee of "Lucky" Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegal and "Deanie" O'Banion, Shumann never says he kills for a living. He uses "touch-off" as a job description. "It was a phrase that Sergeant Alvin York used to describe killing enemy soldiers during the War. It makes Paul feel less like a punk to use a term that a war hero did." He is meticulous about his work and is known as a brilliant tactician, until he gets caught! The folks who finally nab him are US Navy Intelligence honchos and a US Senator. They want to make a deal. They will give Shumann a "get out of jail free" pass and pay him big enough bucks to make a fresh start at a decent life, if he will go to Nazi Germany and kill Reinhard Ernst - the dedicated architect of Hitler's clandestine rearmament. If he refuses, he can call Sing Sing home and, perhaps, expect the electric chair. The Olympic Games are being held in Berlin and Paul is scheduled to sail with the US team, disguised as a journalist. Ossining, NY, is not an option.

Shumann arrives and finds Germany to be a land of hardship and deprivation, where brutal Brownshirts are in control of the streets, Jews and other innocents are persecuted, and unbelievable atrocities are committed. It's actually much worse than mob infested New York, where Paul calls home. He takes a room near Berlin's Central Park, called the Tiergarten, ("Garden of Beasts"). Needless to say, he immediately gets into trouble, or we wouldn't have a plot. The extremely clever Inspector Kohl is on his trail right away, always just a step behind, amazing even Paul with his sleuthing talents. Shumann's contacts are an American agent and a very colorful German gangster, who provide assistance when they can, and occasionally hinder rather than help. Paul stalks Ernst, while Kohl follows Paul, and the Gestapo, which has been tipped-off about the American who plans to ruin the Fuhrer's Olympic Games, is just a few steps behind them.

The cast of characters is really fabulous. The author has done an extremely clever job of creating them and fleshing them out. Olympic star, Jesse Owens, whose triumphs so irritated Hitler that he shunned the medal ceremonies, plays a minor role here. Jesse likes Paul so much he even covers for him when the police inspector comes snooping. Sports journalist and writer Damon Runyan is a Shumann friend. And of course the usual Third Reich suspects are present.

There were times when the pace slowed down considerably, and I was distracted by Deaver's insistence on translating all the German place names into English. Most people don't need translations for Unter den Linden, Tiergarten, Heil, and the Fuhrer (the Leader, we are informed). Overall, however, this is a terrific novel, which proves to be much more than the usual suspense thriller.

This is Jeffrey Deaver's first historical novel and it has earned him the "Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award" from the Crime Writers Association of Great Britain.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 In search of the final solution... 27 octobre 2004
Par Stephen Dedman - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Garden of Beasts blends the forensic-savvy detective story, for which five-time Edgar Award nominee Deaver is best known, with the historical spy thriller. The result is a cunningly constructed and very readable page-turner filled with intriguing characters in a fascinating setting.

Paul Schumann, an American ex-soldier and boxer turned button man, is made a one-time offer: assassinate Reinhard Ernst, Hitler's rearmament czar, or be handed over to mob-busting prosecutor Tom Dewey. Schumann, fluent in German, travels to Berlin with the Olympic team, but on his first attempt to meet his contact, he finds himself at the wrong end of a pistol. Soon he's fleeing from the scene, a corpse in his wake and a clever cop on his trail.

The cop, Willi Kohl, is as astute a picker-up of clues as Sherlock Holmes, but without Holmes's tendency to quantum-leap to conclusions. He's also a politically neutral member of the Kripo (Kriminal Polizei), so his homicide investigation is considered less important by the police hierarchy than the work of the Gestapo in tracking down dissidents, and he has to wait an inordinate amount of time for autopsies, fingerprint matching, and other forensics. Despite this setback, and Schumann's considerable skill and care at covering his tracks, Kohl and his protégé are rarely more than a step behind the button man.

Just when you think this is going to be a fairly straightforward Day of the Jackal type race between assassin and detective, Deaver gives the story another twist... and keeps twisting. Schumann realizes that he's been set up yet again, and that the reason he was given Russian papers was not to aid his escape, but to cause Hitler to blame the Russians for the assassination. Kohl, too, learns that he may have been trusting some of the wrong people. Ernst's team, meanwhile, has its own agenda, which they are carefully hiding from Hitler's inner circle.

Willi Kohl is a likeable and credible character, but Schumann and his German collaborator, black marketer Otto Webber, are rather too good to be believable as career criminals. They're much less self-serving than many of the more reputable and supposedly honest citizens with which Deaver peoples 1930s US and Germany. The most sympathetic characters in the book are the German pacifists who Schumann meets; at the other extreme, Deaver does a good job of conveying the banality of evil. His brownshirts and Hitler Youth are mostly unthinking racist bullies, while the more intelligent and politically astute members of Hitler's inner circle are shown as venal and hypocritical. Even the most sycophantic are mainly interested in strengthening their own position, exploiting Hitler's paranoia and delusions and dreaming of becoming the next Fuehrer.

Deaver has been meticulous with his research, and while he can't always resist the temptation to tell us things we didn't really need to know, he never lets this slow down the plot for very long. Many of these details are interesting in their own right, and some provide occasional touches of humour. Deaver has been scrupulous about identifying his sources, providing a bibliography at the back as well as an afterword revealing where he made minor changes to history. He's also been honest enough to admit how many Americans supported Naziism before World War II, whether motivated by racism, anti-communism, or simple greed. The end result is a spy thriller which is not only tautly written, with enough action and intrigue to satisfy anyone, but alarmingly convincing in its depiction of a corrupt and paranoid society.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Fast-Paced And Historically Accurate 10 octobre 2004
Par Kevin Killian - Publié sur
Format: Relié
It isn't his best book, but you have to give Mr. Deaver credit for trying. he could have written more Lincoln Rhyme books, one a year, from now until doomsday, but instead he decided to push the old envelope a bit. For this some people are up in arms, and in a way i don't blame them, for the story of Lincoln and Amelia is like a very fine fine, and it gets you hooked, and plus their interwoven plot just keeps getting more and more interesting as Mr. Deaver learns more about their characters. But anyhow he brings all his skills as a writer (and shows off some new ones) in this wonderfully inventive novel of 1936 Germany, GARDEN OF BEASTS. As another reviewer wrote, you will think that you are there. As a sidelight, if you eever get a chance to see CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OLYMPICS, you will find some location footage shot at the actual Olympics by 20th Century Fox personnel, and it wouldn't surprise me to learn that Mr. Deaver had ordered a private showing of the Chan opus, for his details are spot on and so vivid. Of course he probably also saw Leni Riefenstahl's controversial Olympiad, in whicb despite herself Jesse Owens emerges as a powerful charismatic runner. But Deaver's characterizations are, as always, intense, though here everything is turned on its head. If you have ever read Victor Hugo's LES MISERABLES you have read the prototype for this kind of novel, a determined, some say obsessed policeman, vs. a "criminal" who in some respects is better than the society he offends. And then there is a delicious love interest in this book for the prizefighter turned hit man Paul Schumann. "Too many men," she says, "don't want that. They WANT to fight. They WANT to destroy because it gives them pleasure." Dense silence between them for a long moment. Then, her voice softening, she said, "Ach, Paul, please forgive me. Here you are, being my companion, doing the town with me. Which I haven't done for so many months. And I repay you by being like a shrew. Are American women shrews like me?"

Paul is tender in responding to Kathe, tough but tender like an old time movie hero, someone like Bogart.

Hooray for Mr. Deaver, long may you write the novels you want to!
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