The Good Cop by Peter Steiner

The Good Cop is a book that holds up two things: meticulous detective work and painstaking journalism. Set in Munich between the wars, Steiner has written about the rise of Nazism from the point of view of the police force and the press. The book is just about 200 pages, but it is filled with so much. Great characters. Gripping Drama. A Call for Current Change.

Maximillian returns from The Great War without many marketable skills. He bounces around Munich doing what he can to make enough money to stave off hunger. Max finally shows some of his drawings to an editor of a paper and he is hired on to depict the lives of his fellow citizens… including the uprising of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. He finds Sophie, a young journalist who too has been affected by the war. They become close, but it all changes when their newsroom is bombed and Sophie suffers a catastrophic injury.

Detective Willi Geismeier is a cop who can see through to the bullshit. The political scheming of his colleagues and the backroom deals that are happening all over the city. He knows that his investigations will get him in trouble, but he can’t stay away from the truth even after getting thrown off almost every important case he’s assigned to. Yet, he continues to have the best clearance record of any cop in the city. Willi is the one who comes up with the idea of having Max draw a likeness of the perpetrator of the newsroom bombing from a witness’s account. They have a suspect, and now a reason for that suspect to want revenge.

Rife with twists and linked with historical accuracies, The Good Cop is an absolute thrill ride. A large cast of characters flash about the pages, but with short chapters it is not hard to keep track of them. As the tension rises, even after Hilter is jailed, Willi and the others try to expose the constant slide of the country. Steiner comments in his author’s note about the importance of a free press and that being one of the reasons he chose to write this story. It is a completion of the arc and a not-so-subtle lesson from the past.

A gripping historical thriller that follows several admirable characters through the streets of a changing Munich.

5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you to Severn House and the author for an advanced copy for review.

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