Shaye Areheart Books (2010)
Hardcover: 320 pages
In this visionary thriller, distinguished author Craig Nova tells a story of a time and a place like our own.
Gaelle, a young woman with a scarred, erotically appealing face, and Felix, a boy with a lame foot, come to depend upon each other at the end of the Weimar Republic in Berlin. Along with the chaos of financial collapse and street fighting, a killer is loose in the city and several of Gaelle's acquaintances have been murdered. Gaelle is much in demand and slips in and out of the lives of politically connected men - many corrupt, some sinister, all looking for power, money, and sex. The friendship of Gaelle and Felix, or what seems like friendship, is all either of them has as their world becomes more dangerous.
Praise for The Informer
"There are three elements in a Craig Nova novel that you can rely on. First, there is the indelible atmosphere--in the case of The Informer, this is Berlin in the 1930s, and the atmosphere is both brutal and mystifying, because everyone seems capable of betraying anyone. The second element is that there are characters who know they're in trouble, but they have underestimated how much trouble they're in, and they are unsure in regard to which of the other characters they should fear most. The third and most important element is that these characters, and their entwined stories, are on a meticulously plotted collision course. That there is a serial killer of prostitutes is not all that is threatening Gaelle; that Felix is Gaelle's only friend does not necessarily make him trustworthy; that Armina, the homicide detective, wants Gaelle to trust her doesn't mean that Armina will win Gaelle's trust in time. And there is nothing to say about the Ritter character, except that--in ruthless times--there are always these barely human chameleons who succeed in disguising themselves, who mete out an inadequate justice while managing to escape justice themselves. This is a dark but fantastic novel."
-- John Irving
The Informer "combines the virtues of serious literature with a gripping, thriller-like account of sexual and political treachery. His spare prose keeps the reader’s eyes locked on the story, even as it occasionally erupts into striking elegance.”"
-- The Washington Post
"Craig Nova's The Informer is the most powerful and moving story I've read of espionage and love since The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. Mr. Nova gets into a story, and into the hearts and minds of his wonderfully believable characters, faster and deeper than any other writer at work today. Reading The Informer, I felt a physical sense of danger on every page, but also the possibility of hope and love that is missing from most contemporary fiction. Ultimately, The Informer shows us what it is like to be fully human, whether in Germany before World War II or in our all too familiar world of the early 21st century."
-- Howard Frank Mosher
Set in 1930 Berlin, this fine novel from Nova (The Good Son) smoothly combines crime and politics. Armina Treffen, who works for the serious crimes section of the Berlin police department and has a successful track record catching serial killers, goes after a fiend who strangles his female victims and leaves their abused bodies in the Tiergarten. Treffen's investigation is interwoven with the story of the title character, Gaelle, a 22-year-old prostitute with an alluring facial scar from a car accident, and her 16-year-old pimp, Felix. A mysterious gentleman, Bruno Hauptmann (not to be confused with the man executed for kidnapping the Lindbergh baby), recruits Gaelle to pass along any information about what, say, the Communists are up to that she might pick up on the job. While those expecting a conventional police procedural may be disappointed, the author's evocative portrait of Weimar Germany and sophisticated portrayals of the lead characters will satisfy most readers. (Feb.)"
-- Publishers Weekly
" Nova develops suspense nicely, too…an entrancing mood piece."
Praise for Craig Nova
"Nova executes like a chess master, all the while ratcheting up the tension and calling into question any sense of security, order, or reason. Like the best of noir, Nova's unsettling novels, serpentine in their structure, speed, and toxic bite, remind us that while dark forces are always present, we must embrace love."
"Craig Nova...is one of the masters of the modern American Noval."
-- Los Angeles Daily News
"[Nova's fiction] is so powerful, so alive, it is a wonder that turning its pages doesn't somehow burn one's hands."
-- New York Times
"Nova's novels deserve to be ranked among the best fiction of the past two decades....The more he writes, the better he gets."
-- Washington Post