The Killing of Emma Gross by Damien Seaman

This is the first novel by Damien Seaman and I am looking forward to more from this talented writer! He combines fact and fiction, shaping real events and fictional events into one great tale. There’s a character you love to root for and one you can’t wait to see get his due. The wonderful build of anticipation kept me flipping pages until I finished. I really appreciated the historical note and actual timeline at the end.

This story is set in Germany in 1929. A new setting for me in my adventures in reading. It is based on a notorious German serial-killer and rapist Peter Kurten, the Dusseldorf Ripper, and the unsolved murder of a prostitute.

Detective Thomas Klein is the detective who fights for real justice, and is not a favored son among his superiors. He and Detective Ritter, who is on the Ripper case, are at odds with each other. There is a 5 year old girl, Gertrude Albermann is missing and they are afraid she is another victim of the Ripper. Klein is determined to get to her before it is too late. Ritter seems more interested in keeping Klein out of the Ripper case than saving Gertrude. Klein gets a tip and meets the Ripper at a church, where he intends to turn himself in, stealing Ritter’s thunder. The animosity between them heats up.

Emma Gross’ murder was similar to two other victims and a simpleton, Johann Strausberg has confessed to all three. He is convicted and in an asylum for life. Strausberg’s account of the murder doesn’t really add up. Upon interrogation Kurten claims responsibility for the death of Emma too. But he gets the facts wrong, his story doesn’t add up with the evidence. Inspector Klein is determined to get to the bottom of who really killed Emma.

Did Johann Strausberg kill Emma? Did he even kill the other two he is convicted of killing. Did Kurten kill Emma? Did Ritter kill Emma? Do they find Gertrude Albermann in time?

Excellent book. Get a copy, you’ll thank me!

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