Crime novel “Blizzard”: the snow was bloody – Culture

Maybe it’s love, maybe it’s enlightenment. “Liberty and society do not get along.” The idea came to Gisela when she was robbed at the Sparkasse branch in Norderstedt, a suburb of Hamburg. The bank robbers are taken by surprise when the police surround the building. They didn’t expect it. Only the commander remains calm, looks at Gisela and says: “You will come with me.”

With the gun on her head, she walked out the door with him. Then a shot was fired, killing the other bank robber. Now Gisela has to drive the escape car. She left three patrol cars behind, and when she stopped in a wooded area, she pulled the bank robber’s mask from his head. At that moment I understood: “Freedom and society do not mix. It is only about you and me, nothing else matters. ” The hostage has become a partner.

The hostage becomes a partner

“Noble thieves, this is us,” Gisela would later say to Frieder, her partner and lover, after another bank robbery. The protagonist of the angry crime novel “Blizzard” by Robert Brake reminds us of Bonnie and Clyde, the legendary American gangster husband. However, they were eventually caught by the police and sentenced to several years in prison. The novel begins when Frieder is serving the last days of his sentence. Gisela and Frieder want to do one last thing, they rob a jewelry store in Hamburg’s posh Ballendam and then flee to Sweden.

Usually such final offenses go wrong, and this is one of the laws of the genre. What makes the novel stand out is the subtlety with which Braque puts it at a time when the RAF’s revolutionary phrases entered the vernacular of professional criminals. “Blizzard” is set in the early 1978/79 year, which, however, made history for a different reason. At that time, a snow disaster paralyzed northern Germany. Dozens of towns were cut off from the outside world, and 17 people died in Germany.

looted art reappears

“Blizzard” is the name for a heavy snow storm, but that’s also the name of the necklace gangsters are looking for. This priceless Art Deco piece belonged to a Jewish jeweler in Antwerp who was murdered with his family after the German army invaded. Since then, the “Blizzard” has disappeared, perhaps the old Nazis brought it to South America. Now it is in a Hamburg safe. Since it is an art of looting, the Mossad is also concerned with value. He put an agent on her.

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Robert Brake has been publishing crime novels for over 30 years, clearly taking his cues from the hard-boiled school of American writers such as Robert B. Matthew F Joneswho translated it. But in this flawless historical film, his sentences begin to shine through. “Ice walls and layers of ice piling up meters high, strange shapes of frozen water,” he describes the frozen Baltic Sea, which was actually intended as an escape route. “Dunes of the finest crystals, mountains of blocks of frozen water” reading makes you shiver.

[Robert Brack: Blizzard. Thriller. Ellert & Richter Verlag, Hamburg 2022. 288 S., 12 €.]

Gisela, Frieder and their fellow gangsters were hoping for the weather’s help. As the blizzard approaches, the police will not be able to pursue them. They drink champagne in the getaway car: “We are free, we are invisible!”. Because the non-stop falling snow instantly covers all tire tracks. Minor flaw: they shot a guard during the storming. When they are forced to leave the closed Autobahn and are stranded on a country road in North Holstein despite the snow chains, they realize they are trapped in a white hell.

Walking through the forces of nature

In the last few meters of their weekend house in the fence, they make their way through the forces of nature on foot. Here they are at last trapped, the electricity cuts off, and the accomplices become rivals, armed to the teeth and ready to snatch each other’s loot.

Then the violence explodes in slow motion, like something out of a ’70s action movie directed by Sam Peckinpah. “Red streaks running through the snow, instilling a nuance in the dominant white all over.” The killers are painted with blood.

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