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Silence

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August 1939: six young people band together in the face of war-torn Germany, their friendship about to be put on trial as they land on opposite sides of World War II. Flash forward to November 1997: Robert Lubisch brings the group back together for the first time in decades to investigate a tragic family secret. Trust is shattered when one of the friends turns up murdered, August 1939: six young people band together in the face of war-torn Germany, their friendship about to be put on trial as they land on opposite sides of World War II. Flash forward to November 1997: Robert Lubisch brings the group back together for the first time in decades to investigate a tragic family secret. Trust is shattered when one of the friends turns up murdered, leaving all of them guilty until proven innocent. Winner of the 2012 Deutscher Krimi Prize for best crime novel.


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August 1939: six young people band together in the face of war-torn Germany, their friendship about to be put on trial as they land on opposite sides of World War II. Flash forward to November 1997: Robert Lubisch brings the group back together for the first time in decades to investigate a tragic family secret. Trust is shattered when one of the friends turns up murdered, August 1939: six young people band together in the face of war-torn Germany, their friendship about to be put on trial as they land on opposite sides of World War II. Flash forward to November 1997: Robert Lubisch brings the group back together for the first time in decades to investigate a tragic family secret. Trust is shattered when one of the friends turns up murdered, leaving all of them guilty until proven innocent. Winner of the 2012 Deutscher Krimi Prize for best crime novel.

30 review for Silence

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cold War Conversations Podcast

    Germany past and present clash in this excellent translated German thriller. Set in small German town in the late 90s, the discovery of some old army papers ignite an investigation that uncovers some dark secrets among a small group of friends at the end of the war. Whilst I thought I’d guessed the plot there’s more twists and turns towards an unexpected conclusion. A rattling good read!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Paul Franco

    Whereas a few years ago Sweden became a hub for mysteries translated to English, now it’s Germany’s turn; this is the fifth or sixth I’ve read in the past year. The premise is simple: man finds photo, has daddy issues, piques a journalist’s curiosity. But of course things are never that simple, especially because there’s another narrative going on, taking place during World War 2. For a while the journalist is the protagonist, but when she’s killed this turns from a history mystery to a murder my Whereas a few years ago Sweden became a hub for mysteries translated to English, now it’s Germany’s turn; this is the fifth or sixth I’ve read in the past year. The premise is simple: man finds photo, has daddy issues, piques a journalist’s curiosity. But of course things are never that simple, especially because there’s another narrative going on, taking place during World War 2. For a while the journalist is the protagonist, but when she’s killed this turns from a history mystery to a murder mystery. The new lead is a small town cop derisively described as a “small-town sheriff” who talks to cats. Oh boy. . . This could have easily been two separate stories, but thankfully they tied together very well. The last twist did indeed surprise me; nothing told me it was coming. And the killing of the journalist turned out to be. . . probably not a spoiler, but why take the chance? Altogether a well-written book; setting and plot in particular stand out. The one place that could have been improved was the dialogue in helping to set each character apart, especially in the historical storyline; there’s a character guide in the beginning, but I was hoping not to have to refer to it as often as I did.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ardene

    Friedhelm Lubisch founded a respected construction company and donated a fortune to the Association of Displaced Persons in Germany. But his son Robert never lived up to his expectations. While going through his deceased father's papers, Robert is reminded of the story his father told him of stealing a dead SS guard's papers and running away from the war front. He also finds a photograph of an unidentified woman from the same time period, and decides to try and identify her. This novel deftly wea Friedhelm Lubisch founded a respected construction company and donated a fortune to the Association of Displaced Persons in Germany. But his son Robert never lived up to his expectations. While going through his deceased father's papers, Robert is reminded of the story his father told him of stealing a dead SS guard's papers and running away from the war front. He also finds a photograph of an unidentified woman from the same time period, and decides to try and identify her. This novel deftly weaves past and present together to consider the question of identity. What makes us who we are? Our family? Our actions? Our secrets? What is the cost of keeping secrets? Or of breaking silence? The past is the relationships and actions of five young men and women, close friends on the eve of World War II, who are separated by actions and ideaology. The present is Robert's search for the identity of the woman in his father's photo. The intersection of the two results in a murder and the uncovering of at least two secrets. First published in Germany as Wer das Schweigen bricht (the one who breaks the silence), this novel won the 2012 Deustcher Krimi prize for best crime novel. Translated into English by Aubrey Botsford. I received an electronic copy of the book from Netgalley in exchange for a review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sandra M Stott

    One of the best book I've read in a long time Robert Lubisch found an old photograph of a young woman and some papers in his father's study after he died. This discovery led Robert to search for the woman and her connection to his father. The story starts before the second world war and ends early this century. I won't go into any more details because it would spoil the story for other readers. I usually only review really good books or really bad ones and this one is exceptionally good. Although One of the best book I've read in a long time Robert Lubisch found an old photograph of a young woman and some papers in his father's study after he died. This discovery led Robert to search for the woman and her connection to his father. The story starts before the second world war and ends early this century. I won't go into any more details because it would spoil the story for other readers. I usually only review really good books or really bad ones and this one is exceptionally good. Although there are quite a lot of characters with German names, I didn't find it difficult to follow. An excellent author and I hope I can find more of her work translated into English. Congratulations also to the translator. As I was reading, I forgot that the book wasn't written in English. Because of the spelling and some terminology, I assume it was aimed at the American market but this didn't detract in any way.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Inken

    Looks like the Scandi-noir genre has some competition! Mechtild Borrman is well-known in Germany for her murder mysteries and I believe this is the first one translated into English. It's not a tremendously long story, barely 230 pages, and there are a lot of characters readers might have difficulty keeping track of, but it's an intriguing tale that jumps back and forth between the late 1990s and the war years in northern Germany. The ending is one I didn't see coming, which is always a pleasant Looks like the Scandi-noir genre has some competition! Mechtild Borrman is well-known in Germany for her murder mysteries and I believe this is the first one translated into English. It's not a tremendously long story, barely 230 pages, and there are a lot of characters readers might have difficulty keeping track of, but it's an intriguing tale that jumps back and forth between the late 1990s and the war years in northern Germany. The ending is one I didn't see coming, which is always a pleasant surprise, and despite the shortness of the novel, Borrmann has managed to create mostly well-rounded and 3-dimensional characters.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jacque

    Family secrets Interesting story often told through flashbacks while solving the murder of a woman today and the connection to the disappearance of a man during World War II. Enough intrigue and surprising twists to keep the reader curious.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Susan Visser

    I loved the story. The backdrop is Germany during WWII and follows 6 high schoolers who graduated at the start of the war and their experiences. But the story was done in a current day / flashback style. A man cleaning out his father's desk after he passes, finds a photo that makes him want to find out more about his father's history during the war. The digging leads him to a small town to an investigative reporter. Just as she is making progress into the story, she learns that it will be a huge I loved the story. The backdrop is Germany during WWII and follows 6 high schoolers who graduated at the start of the war and their experiences. But the story was done in a current day / flashback style. A man cleaning out his father's desk after he passes, finds a photo that makes him want to find out more about his father's history during the war. The digging leads him to a small town to an investigative reporter. Just as she is making progress into the story, she learns that it will be a huge story, but then she is murdered. So, a murder-mystry with ties to the past. Intriguing and hard to put to down. It reads like a story based on real-life, but it is listed as fiction, so I'm not sure. But, it does make you wonder what kind of skeletons are being discovered as WW II players are passing.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Angie Cory

    In Times of War There is No Such Thing as Peace Kids being kids. Going to school. Obeying school rules. Then enticement comes in the form of loyalty to the Fatherland. Or so they think. The crimes against humanity which children endured and sometimes committed are unthinkable. But it was in the name of survival. The guilt, the remorse, the self hatred. The admission of these truths when near death, their final confession.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alistaire King

    No real surprise but still good You can pretty well work out whodunit early on but it's all about arriving at the solution. This is more of a study of a group of friends coming of age in a difficult time. This is the author's first book to be translated into English , a second book has been translated and is now on my to read list. No real surprise but still good You can pretty well work out whodunit early on but it's all about arriving at the solution. This is more of a study of a group of friends coming of age in a difficult time. This is the author's first book to be translated into English , a second book has been translated and is now on my to read list.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Suitcaselife

    I did not expect I would end up giving a German crime story a four star rating, but I didn't see this twist at the end coming and loved the drama throughout the whole story. It was heartbreaking and it's unbelievable that this is one out of many stories that might have happened during / past the second World War. I did not expect I would end up giving a German crime story a four star rating, but I didn't see this twist at the end coming and loved the drama throughout the whole story. It was heartbreaking and it's unbelievable that this is one out of many stories that might have happened during / past the second World War.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jean powell

    Surprises! I really appreciate a story with a surprise ending so I really enjoyed the other surprises even more! Well written! This is my first time to read this author but it won't be my last! Surprises! I really appreciate a story with a surprise ending so I really enjoyed the other surprises even more! Well written! This is my first time to read this author but it won't be my last!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nance

    A beautifully written crime story set in Germany during WWII and in 1998, as certain characters reflect on the past. Both tragic and heartfelt. I am not sure who gets the credit for the writing - the author or the translator.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    People in America should read Mechtild Borrmann. She is a talented mystery writer.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Susan Dunham

    This WWII crime novel had an interesting plot but the characters were poorly formed and it just didn’t grab me.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Danette

    Excellent polar! Two crimes, two different periods ... The whole is connected by an amazingly woven story!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Paul Gormley

    A short yet engrossing novel about family secrets and the damage wreaked by war. Some unexpected twists as the story reaches its conclusion. Well worth reading.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tauseef Khan

    The intertwining of the past and present is really well done. Once you start reading, you'll want to read more and more of it to see what happens. The intertwining of the past and present is really well done. Once you start reading, you'll want to read more and more of it to see what happens.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Veturlidi Stefansson

    This short, but excellent, book, "Wer das Schweigen bricht" (The one who breaks the silence), won deservedly Germany’s most prestigious crime fiction award, the “Deutscher Krimi Preis”, in the year 2012. It is a crime story so well written that it hooks you after only a few pages. It has all the right ingredients – unrequited love, murder, hate, nazis, WW2, ordinary people etc. I read it in only two days, and I stayed up at night to finish it. (I read the Danish translation). The story is simple, This short, but excellent, book, "Wer das Schweigen bricht" (The one who breaks the silence), won deservedly Germany’s most prestigious crime fiction award, the “Deutscher Krimi Preis”, in the year 2012. It is a crime story so well written that it hooks you after only a few pages. It has all the right ingredients – unrequited love, murder, hate, nazis, WW2, ordinary people etc. I read it in only two days, and I stayed up at night to finish it. (I read the Danish translation). The story is simple, in the beginning. A doctor in his late forties/early fifties, who is going through the belongings of his deceased father, finds an old SS id card (photo of owner destroyed by bloodstains) and an old photograph of a beautiful women in his father’s cigar box. His father's story had always been that he had stolen the id card, from a dead SS man, when he deserted from the Wehrmact at the end of WW2. The doctor notices the name of photographer's firm on the photo and decides, on a whim, to try to find out who is/was the woman on the photo. A few days later a person, who is connected to the doctor's investigation, is found murdered and a fast paced, and intriguing plot unfolds. The quality of the story lies in the plain language used by the author, authentic characters and a realistic plot. Borrmann manages to sustain the suspense, and the "secret", until the very end. The book is almost flawless. My only gripe is that, since the story takes places in 1998, it is a tad implausible that most of the main characters (born around 1920) are still alive in their late 70s. Sum up: The "Wer das Schweigen bricht" is a well written and highly enjoyable crime story.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Peggy Geiger

    ARC courtesy of the author and publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Genre: Adult Fiction, Mystery This story is set in war-torn Germany in 1939 and also in modern day Germany. The author is excellent with keeping the two stories separate, but the storyline interwoven. In 1997, Dr. Robert Lubish is clearing out his father's house after his death. As he comes across S.S. identification papers, he remembers the story his father told him. His father had stolen the dead guard's pap ARC courtesy of the author and publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Genre: Adult Fiction, Mystery This story is set in war-torn Germany in 1939 and also in modern day Germany. The author is excellent with keeping the two stories separate, but the storyline interwoven. In 1997, Dr. Robert Lubish is clearing out his father's house after his death. As he comes across S.S. identification papers, he remembers the story his father told him. His father had stolen the dead guard's paperwork and escaped the war. Along with the paperwork found in the den, is a picture of a beautiful, but unknown woman. Realising because his father had kept her picture all these years, the woman must have been important to his father, Robert contacts the photographer on the back of the picture. When the reporter starts asking questions, she is murdered. The story reverts back to a disappearance in Germany 1939. I highly recommend reading this book. It is a sad story, but well written. The story made me think of all the German citizens who did not agree with the Nazi regime but could do nothing to stop the horror.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jes Jones

    I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. [Summary from Amazon]: August 1939: six young people band together in the face of war-torn Germany, their friendship about to be put on trial as they land on opposite sides of World War II. Flash forward to November 1997: Robert Lubisch brings the group back together for the first time in decades to investigate a tragic family secret. Trust is shattered when one of the friends turns up murdered, leaving all of them guilty until proven i I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. [Summary from Amazon]: August 1939: six young people band together in the face of war-torn Germany, their friendship about to be put on trial as they land on opposite sides of World War II. Flash forward to November 1997: Robert Lubisch brings the group back together for the first time in decades to investigate a tragic family secret. Trust is shattered when one of the friends turns up murdered, leaving all of them guilty until proven innocent. I have always enjoyed reading books about World War Two, especially if the novel revolves around individuals' lives and some of the alternative issues that they deal with. Silence dives into the lives of these six friends and exposes some of the dark skeletons that lurked in their past. From love triangles, to forbidden love and even murder the reader is kept engaged and wondering what's going to happen next. A worthwhile crime novel that offers a suspenseful and unexpected ending that wrap up the excitement littered throughout the novel.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Elisa

    I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Amazon Publishing! Silence is like a set of Russian dolls - one whodunit wrapped in another, all within a mystery that spans decades. There is a murder in the present, a disappearance in the past and a completely unexpected twist that changes everything. But this is not a brainless novel. The characters are well developed and evolve believably, especially the ones that live through both timelines. T I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Amazon Publishing! Silence is like a set of Russian dolls - one whodunit wrapped in another, all within a mystery that spans decades. There is a murder in the present, a disappearance in the past and a completely unexpected twist that changes everything. But this is not a brainless novel. The characters are well developed and evolve believably, especially the ones that live through both timelines. The story is deeply sad and very well written. It makes you think about all the people in Germany during the Nazi regime who didn't agree with what was going on but were powerless to stop it. A great novel.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Keith

    Excellent I choose the books I read for superficial and often stupid reasons. In this case, I didn't think about the fact that this was originally published in German. I was amazed by the fantastic quality of the translation. The original story was exceptional. The translation kept the quality high. Having read books originally written in other languages, I am aware of how hard that is to do. The story moves quickly. There are lots of surprises. The relationship between a murder in the 1950's a Excellent I choose the books I read for superficial and often stupid reasons. In this case, I didn't think about the fact that this was originally published in German. I was amazed by the fantastic quality of the translation. The original story was exceptional. The translation kept the quality high. Having read books originally written in other languages, I am aware of how hard that is to do. The story moves quickly. There are lots of surprises. The relationship between a murder in the 1950's and another in the present is the premise of the whole thing. It holds your interest really well. This story is well worth reading.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    A story where the certainties of today dissolve as the truth of the past is revealed. A fantastic novel about the end of the war and the search for a place in the new Germany. Love, betrayal and loyalty are all explored and questioned in a great plot. The narration of the past is seamlessly interspersed with the happenings of the present as we move from one paragraph to another. This is a real strength of the book because it places the characters at the centre of present and past events and give A story where the certainties of today dissolve as the truth of the past is revealed. A fantastic novel about the end of the war and the search for a place in the new Germany. Love, betrayal and loyalty are all explored and questioned in a great plot. The narration of the past is seamlessly interspersed with the happenings of the present as we move from one paragraph to another. This is a real strength of the book because it places the characters at the centre of present and past events and gives the description of the past more meaning. I loved it!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lawrence E. Spann

    This English translation of "Wer Das Schweigen Bricht", the 2012 winner of Germany's Deutscher Krimi Preis (Best Mystery Novel) is near; if not at, the top of the best mystery/thriller books I have ever read. It is an intricately-woven tale of a disappearance in 1950, a murder in 1998, and the relationship of a group of young friends caught up in wartime Germany. The mystery is masterfully peeled back layer-by-layer, and the conclusion is stunning! Highly recommended. I hope more of Mechtild Bor This English translation of "Wer Das Schweigen Bricht", the 2012 winner of Germany's Deutscher Krimi Preis (Best Mystery Novel) is near; if not at, the top of the best mystery/thriller books I have ever read. It is an intricately-woven tale of a disappearance in 1950, a murder in 1998, and the relationship of a group of young friends caught up in wartime Germany. The mystery is masterfully peeled back layer-by-layer, and the conclusion is stunning! Highly recommended. I hope more of Mechtild Borrmann's books get translated into English.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Rolfingsmeier

    The tragedy of war The first half of the book was slow going. I thought I would perhaps not finish it. It picks up with the murder. Then I became truly engaged with the story. It reveals how war has such profound effects, apart from the obvious. Like the chemicals in the soil of Viet Nam causing birth defects three generations later, the war goes on killing long after we believed it was done.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nikoleta

    I love books with II WW backgrounds! This one wasn't the exception. It was very interesting with an unexpected ending, but unfortunately very short.. Mechtild Borrmann started with a character and then developed a story that involved many others, with some surprises. I start to appreciate books with different points of view. I love books with II WW backgrounds! This one wasn't the exception. It was very interesting with an unexpected ending, but unfortunately very short.. Mechtild Borrmann started with a character and then developed a story that involved many others, with some surprises. I start to appreciate books with different points of view.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lauri

    A great, short mystery story with a dual timeline. A guy finds some photos and papers among his dad's stuff after he died, that date back to the beginning of WWII in Germany. He has questions, things get weird and we learn that what happened so many years ago is still dangerous information. Excellent translation from the original German. A great, short mystery story with a dual timeline. A guy finds some photos and papers among his dad's stuff after he died, that date back to the beginning of WWII in Germany. He has questions, things get weird and we learn that what happened so many years ago is still dangerous information. Excellent translation from the original German.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rania

    "The one who breaks the silence" "The one who breaks the silence"

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ida Mcgarity

    Great Read. This book is filled with believable characters. The story unfolds delicately. This is one story that I would re-read. Mystery writing at its best.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Shackett

    Very difficult to read. Too many people and all of their names, like Van Der boom. It seemed like the last chapters were meant to solve a mystery; of what? I couldn't say. Very difficult to read. Too many people and all of their names, like Van Der boom. It seemed like the last chapters were meant to solve a mystery; of what? I couldn't say.

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