THE CLEANER by Elisabeth Herrmann Cold War #Thriller #Spy #BookReview @bonnier_publish

The CleanerThe Cleaner by Elisabeth Herrmann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Cleaner is a Cold War thriller set in Germany. It opens with a scene from a children’s home in 1985, in East Germany, a new child is brought in, an old one disappears, and it’s safer not to ask any questions.

The story then jumps forward, the Berlin Wall has come down. Judith Kepler is a grown women, a loner, she has struggled for years. Now she has some stability in her life. She works as a cleaner, one who cleans a place after a death has occurred. Sent to the home of a murder victim, Judith has a huge job on her hands, but more shocking is the discovery of a letter with her own name and details of her time at the children’s home.

Quirin Kaiserley is an intelligence expert, he’s always hunting answers over a secret agent plot which went wrong back in 1985. Recently approached by a women claiming to hold the lost evidence from the failed plot, he is ready to expose all on a popular TV talk show. However the women fails to turn up at the studios.

Judith takes her questions about the past to Kaiserley, but they are waking some dangerous players who thought the past was dead and buried.

This is a chilling story with lots of twists and turns, people with several aliases and demons from the past to dig up. The Cold War, spies, agents and double agents, mixed with the German and Swedish backdrop make it an enjoyable read.

Find a copy here from or

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Alone In Berlin by Hans Fallada

Alone in BerlinAlone in Berlin by Hans Fallada

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

1940 Berlin. Amongst the fear and conditions that the people of Berlin are living in, Otto and Anna Quangel get news that there son had been killed in the war. Spies are everywhere, few people can be trusted. Otto didn’t want to join the “party”, it was expensive and it made you different. Yet defeatist talk and being awkward could get you put in a concentration camp.

This book is about people on the inside, some thought it was disastrous for the German people to follow The Fuhrer, but it was very dangerous to voice your opinion. There was heroic resistance to the Nazi regime at all levels of German society and Hans Fallada has drawn on the true story of Elise and Otto Hampel. He shows the tensions between the people’s struggle to survive and the world around them.

Otto and Elise, represented in the book as Otto and Anna, were a couple who started a three year campaign against Nazi Germany. In that time they wrote and dropped hundreds of postcards calling for civil disobedience and workplace sabotage.

This book was written in just twenty four days by an author with a shocking history who himself barely survived time in a Nazi insane asylum. It is an emotional book and one to leave the reader thinking about the past and where we are today. This is one of Penguin’s Modern Classics.

Find a copy here from or

View all my reviews on Goodreads

I thought I’d throw you a question about individual people….

Fear drives people to extremes, many of the characters in this book acted on fear, yet others were very brave. From your own knowledge and what you’ve read and seen about the war, does it surprise you that a resistance  was working in the heart of Germany?