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Knowing New York Times-bestselling author Philip Kerr's delight in subterfuge and obfuscation, readers can rest assured that nothing is what it seems when Bernie Gunther discovers war criminals living freely in Europe.
It is 1956 and Bernie Gunther has a new name (Christoph Ganz), a clean passport, a chip on his shoulder, and a menial low-paying job in Munich. And then an old friend arrives to repay a debt. He encourages Bernie to take a job as a claims adjuster in a major German insurance company.
Which is why Bernie, as Christoph, finds himself in Athens investigating a claim by Siegfried Witzel, a brutish former Wehrmacht soldier who served in Greece during the war. Witzel's supposed losses are immense, and, even worse, they may have originally belonged to Greek Jews deported to Auschwitz. But when Bernie tries to confront Witzel, he finds that somebody else has gotten to him first. What he has now is a dead man: Both his eyes have been shot out.
Enter Lieutenant Leventis, who is working on a recent case with the same MO. Both deaths match the highly particular style of a killing fifteen years prior, during the height of the war. Back then, a young Leventis suspected an S.S. officer whose connection to the German government made him untouchable. He's kept that name on his lips all these years, waiting for his second chance at justice.
And while a pattern like this may be Leventis's best opportunity to close an old case, there's a much more sinister truth to acknowledge: A killer has returned to Athens, or even worse, he may never have left.