A Trace of Smoke

A Trace of Smoke

3.84 (1,538 ratings by Goodreads)
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Even though hardened crime reporter Hannah Vogel knows all too well how tough it is to survive in 1931 Berlin, she is devastated when she sees a photograph of her brother's body posted in the Hall of the Unnamed Dead. Ernst, a cross-dressing lounge singer at a seedy nightclub, had many secrets, a never-ending list of lovers, and plenty of opportunities to get into trouble.

Hannah delves into the city's dark underbelly to flush out his murderer, but the late night arrival of a five-year-old orphan on her doorstep complicates matters. The endearing Anton claims that Hannah is his mother... and that her dead brother Ernst is his father.

As her investigations into Ernst's murder and Anton's parentage uncover political intrigue and sex scandals in the top ranks of the rising Nazi party, Hannah fears not only for her own life, but for that of a small boy who has come to call her "mother."
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Product details

  • Paperback | 319 pages
  • 157.48 x 231.14 x 20.32mm | 476.27g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 0765326906
  • 9780765326904
  • 477,770

Review quote

"A compelling and human story that captures brilliantly the atmosphere of Berlin during the rise of the Nazis."--Anne Perry, "New York"" Times" bestselling author of "We Shall Not Sleep""Make room on your bookshelf for a talented new novelist named Rebecca Cantrell. In "A Trace of Smoke," she delivers a historical mystery that works on every level. It's a riveting page-turner. It's an insightful study of a young woman in peril. It's a unerringly accurate vision of a society slipping steadily toward madness. And it's written with a sense of clarity, pace, and attention to detail that tells you this author is going to be writing terrific stories for a long time. So don't miss her debut."--William Martin, "New York Times" bestselling author of "Back Bay" and "The Lost Constitution" "Evocative and hauntingly crafted, Rebecca Cantrell's debut mystery "A Trace of Smoke "is a treasure of suspense, romance, and murder. Her ability to spin history into a visceral reality is done with the artistry of a master storyteller. Truly a stunning start to a long career."--James Rollins, "New York"" Times" bestseller of "The Judas Strain""Step into the fun house world of 1931 Berlin where no one and nothing is what it seems.... "A Trace of Smoke" is compulsive reading with all the juiciness of the tawdry world of "Cabaret" but told with keen insight to the historical criminality taking place."--Sara Colleton, executive producer of "Dexter "and "The Painted Veil""Moving through the Berlin of 1931, with the monstrosity of the next decade stirring beneath the streets, Rebecca Cantrell's characters illustrate the very human desire to cling to innocence and joy, to do right no matter the cost, to shelterlight amidst growing darkness. Both personal and historical, "A Trace of Smoke" clings to the mind."--Laurie R. King, "New York Times "bestselling author of "The Game"
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About Rebecca Cantrell

Rebecca Cantrell majored in German, Creative Writing, and History at the Freie Universitaet of Berlin and Carnegie Mellon University. She currently lives in Hawaii with her husband and son. A Trace of Smoke is her first novel.
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Rating details

1,538 ratings
3.84 out of 5 stars
5 26% (406)
4 42% (647)
3 24% (363)
2 6% (86)
1 2% (36)

Our customer reviews

When a college friend came to visit a few years ago and brought along this book, saying I had to read it, little did I know that once I picked it up that night I would hardly be able to put it down again-our friend is very lucky that I managed to drag myself out of the book to spend time with her! The story line is fast-paced and very suspenseful, but beyond that you feel like you're in Berlin in the early 1930s. The atmosphere is vivid, and there are no jarring instances of pseudo-German usage (I am a German English translator, so that's a pet peeve of mine). The deft use of German is a reflection of the author's own background in the language. I've become a huge fan of Rebecca Cantrell, and I've read all the books in the Hannah Vogel series and am eagerly awaiting new installments! If you haven't picked up this book yet, don't hesitate any longer! And once you've read this book, I have no doubt that you'll be reaching for the next installment in the series (there are now four!).show more
by Heather Bock
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