Saturday, October 15, 2011

Book Review: The Sleepwalkers by Paul Grossman

Hello again, readers! Happy Saturday to you all!

It was a super busy week for me, so I'm really thankful to have the time this weekend to read, relax, and rest. Next week, I'll be in South Dakota's beautiful Black Hills area for work. Then, next weekend, my mom and younger brother will be around to visit, so I may not be posting another book review for a little while. The weather is getting more and more dreary, which means I'll be spending more time curled up indoors, reading, when possible.

Last weekend, I began reading The Sleepwalkers by Paul Grossman. This is another book I received free through the Goodreads First Reads program, with encouragement to write a review. Here's a summary of the novel, courtesy of Goodreads:

In the final weeks of the Weimar Republic, as Hitler and his National Socialist party angle to assume control of Germany, beautiful girls are seen sleepwalking through the streets.  Then, a young woman of mysterious origin, with her legs bizarrely deformed, is pulled dead from the Havel River.  Willi Kraus, a high ranking detective in Berlin's police force, begins a murder investigation. A decorated World War I hero and the nation's most famous detective, Willi also is a Jew. Despite his elite status in the criminal police, he is disturbed by the direction Germany is taking.  Working urgently to solve the murder, Willi finds his superiors diverting him at every turn. As he moves through darkness closer to the truth, Willi begins to understand that much more than the solution to a murder is at stake. What he discovers will mean that his life, the lives of his friends and family, and Germany itself will never be the same.

I instantly loved the setting for this novel--Berlin at the rise of Hitler's power. The events that take place are rather historically accurate as well. The timeline is a little off, but that's essential to the realistic storyline. The storyline itself was great. The main character, Willi Kraus, is a likeable detective who has a passion for his work. He has his soft spots and his political disagreements. What I was most disappointed with in Grossman's novel was character development. The novel was a fast-paced, exciting read. I feel it was at times, almost too fast-paced; I often found myself confused about just what had happened within the past few pages I'd read. Aside from Kraus, I didn't feel a real connection with any of the characters. I sometimes had a hard time telling them apart, and found myself wanting to know more and more about them.

Overall, though, I was pretty satisfied with this read. Tucked in the back of the novel is an excerpt from Grossman's next Willi Kraus novel, Children of Wrath. It doesn't come out until March of 2012, but it's likely I'll pick that novel up as well. I recommend this novel to anyone looking for a good, fast-paced thriller. Familiarity with the German language would be helpful, because some terms are listed in German.

And now for the numbers!

The Sleepwalkers by Paul Grossman
Rating: 4/5
Pages: 326
2011 Reading Goal: 10,324/12,500

Pretty soon, I'll need to set a new page goal for myself for next year. Watch for a poll at the bottom of my blog to come soon. Please vote and let me know what you think my next page goal should be!

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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