Brotherhood of Fear: A Willi Kraus Novel

Written by Paul Grossman
Review by Rebecca Henderson Palmer

It is 1933, and famous Jewish Berlin detective Willi Krauss has escaped Nazi Germany for the refuge of Paris. Without immigration documents or work papers, Willi walks the streets, performing odd jobs to make ends meet when he gets caught between competing interests, namely France’s most illustrious financier and the Paris police. Working for both sides against the other, Willi follows the trail, hoping to avoid deportation and find information to exonerate his wealthy friend. What he stumbles upon is much larger, an underground plot involving drugs, gambling, murder, and prostitution, schemes his various employers have reason to keep under wraps.

This is the third Willi Krauss book, which follows The Sleepwalkers and its prequel Children of Wrath. This story is fast-paced with high stakes and shifting loyalties. The author’s highly detailed descriptions of the streets and political landscape of 1930s Paris makes this a solid read. Like many detectives, Willi has his lucky guesses, and the resolution is rather drawn out and convoluted. Yet Willi is a more flawed, more human detective than most you will find, which makes him a worthy hero. This book is recommended for those looking for something beyond the run-of-the-mill detective narrative.