A multitude of dark characters make brief appearances in this violent and complicated novel set in what was the German city of Breslau. In a sweltering 1930’s summer, corruption, blackmail and violence abound as Nazi power grows. Although the methods of the police, Mock and Anwaldt, vary little from those of the Gestapo you develop an empathy for them and the dangers they face as the tension rises. In the end, I had to stay up to finish this.
Mock woke with a stifled cry. The duvet pressed down on his chest as if it weighed a hundred kilograms. His nightshirt, soaked in sweat, was twisted around his limbs. He threw the duvet violently aside, got up, went to his study, lit the lamp with a green shade on his desk and set out his chess set. In vain, he wanted to chase away the nightmare of his bad conscience. The dream he'd had a moment ago re-appeared before his eyes .... She sat down, hitched her dress up high and spread her legs. From her thighs and stomach grew syphilitic cauliflowers.