Cover image for The last man in Berlin
The last man in Berlin
Dold, Gaylord.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Naperville, Ill. : Sourcebooks, [2003]

Physical Description:
vi, 345 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Maps on end papers.
Format :


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This page-turning thriller evocatively depicts a corrupt and desolate Berlin at that turning point in history when Hitler is on the cusp of taking power. It is the story of Detective Harry Wulff, a member of an elite police force, who is assigned to solve the murders of two transvestites whose deaths are connected to the Nazis' rise to power. The Last Man in Berlin is peopled with unforgettable characters, including Wulff and his father, a revered Prussian officer who served during the Great War; Harry's lover, Johanna, a Jewish psychoanalyst filled with insight, passion and terror; a trooper in charge of Nazi hooligans determined to overthrow the Republic; and a maniacal killer who maintains chilling ties to those who will soon rule Germany. As Wulff's search unfolds, he must enter the Berlin underworld of cross-dressing and prostitution, where he learns how these strange deaths are tied to the inner core of the Third Reich. In the end, Wulff and his father, the last good Germans, must ultimately stand fast against the terror of that time. The Last Man in Berlin is a novel so memorable that you will shake as you compulsively turn the pages.

Author Notes

Gaylord Dold has been writing for twenty years, and in addition to the fourteen novels he has written, mostly mystery stories, three of which received starred PW's, he also became a publisher-his first book appeared on the Avon list-and he helped found the Watermark Press, a literary publisher that was the offspring of Watermark Books, a bookstore established in Wichita, Kansas. Gaylord was born in Kansas, and lives in Wichita. He started out as a storefront lawyer, and taught law at a college in Florida, and eventually became a criminal defense attorney, defending drug dealers, bank robbers, and other thugs of the Federal justice system. He is the author of fourteen novels, the newest one, SIX WHITE HORSES, was published in October 2002.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

WWII-era suspense novels (as opposed to espionage thrillers) have been steadily gaining ground thanks to the likes of J. Robert Janes and Joseph Kanon. Veteran mystery writer Dold (Six White Horses, etc.) makes a foray into the subgenre with his latest novel, set in a 1930s Berlin riven by street battles between the Communists and the rising Nazi Party. In this fraught climate, Det. Insp. Harry Wulff has three strikes against him: he is pro-Republic; his lover is a Jew, an early psychoanalyst named Johanna Davidov; and he has been detailed to Bernhard Weiss, a ranking Jewish officer working to expose the crimes of the Nazi Party. Meanwhile, the discovery of the strangled corpse of a transvestite prostitute in an alley puts Wulff on a collision course with a crazed killer who steals the identities of his victims. By juxtaposing the killer's psychosexual pathology with the corruption of the Nazis he eventually works for, Dold fosters an atmosphere of sordid menace. The plot weaves between the Nazis, the losing team of Wulff and Weiss, and a host of Weimar underworld types, leading inevitably to a three-way showdown between Wulff, the killer and a scheming SA leader, Dieter Rom. Dold's characters (particularly the wasted Johanna) could use a bit more depth, and the application of period detail is uneven. But Wulff is a dependable protagonist, and as Dold halts his tale with time to spare (following Hitler's ascension in 1933), there is potential here for a sequel. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Experienced mystery writer Dold (Six White Horses) serves up a thoroughly researched and evocative portrayal of Berlin in the early 1930s. In this charged environment-Communists and Nazis were struggling to overthrow the tottering Weimar Republic-homicide detective Harry Wulff of the Kriminalpolizei (Kripo) has made some risky choices. His lover, Johanna, is a Jewish psychiatrist, and his new boss, Bernhard Weiss, is the Jewish head of the Staatspolizei (Stapo), the political police responsible for infiltrating antigovernment organizations. A spy in Stapo headquarters has been warning the Nazis prior to police raids. Wulff's job is to ferret out the "termite" while trying to solve the murder of a transvestite. Early on, readers know the identity of the spy, his controller, and the murderer, so the suspense lies in following Wulff's investigation and, to a lesser extent, wondering whether he or his Jewish lover will perish. Character development, incident, and atmosphere dominate the story, instead of a driving pace, but nevertheless interest never flags. For most public libraries.-Ronnie H. Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.