In her debut novel, Beer, a rising star in Austrian crime fiction, brings post-WWI Vienna to life in an overwhelmingly grim portrayal of a defeated empire’s daily struggle to survive the constant cold, disease, hunger, and despair ... This is a masterfully constructed novel with a very satisfying ending that points to a series. But it’s very dark stuff, best suited for readers with a deep appreciation of international noir.
Austrian author Beer makes her English-language debut with this outstanding series launch set in 1919 Vienna ... Despite the plot’s essential grimness, Beer is able to inject some humor. Fans of Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther series will be intrigued.
Beer is clearly a talented crime novelist because this debut, the first in a new historical detective series, both thrills and charms. The Second Rider introduces Inspector August Emmerich and his side-kick, those are his words, Ferdinand Winter of the Vienna police force. They are characters that readers will come to love as the series progresses. There is a rich vein of Austrian crime fiction in translation but most of it is set in a contemporary environment. So I haven’t read anything that is remotely like this novel before ... There are no easy comparisons between Beer and other writers but the setting, and the type of story should appeal to fans of Volker Kutscher’s Gereon Rath and there are echoes of Jonathan Rabb’s Rosa. The Second Rider is excellently translation by Tim Mohr.