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  • Reviews for The Russian Passenger by Günter Ohnemus
  • Günter Ohnemus |  Review |  The Russian Passenger
Reviews for The Russian Passenger by Günter Ohnemus

'It is enthralling and completely convincing. You never know where the various interrelationships of the characters are going to lead you. The denouement is enigmatic. This is probably not a book for those who like clear-cut solutions, but it is an excellent story, beautifully told. '

- Shots, The Crime and Mystery Magazine

'The thriller aspects of the book are everything you could wish for. Nicely paced, the action comes crisp and fast, the naturalistic dialogue reads well, the twists and turns of the plot, in genre terms, are convincing, the all-pervading paranoia well conveyed. There is little doubt that you will keep reading to its hauntingly ambiguous conclusion. All in all, a fascinating ride, one for lovers of the unconventional.'

- Tangled Web

'Few European novels make it into the English language market but literary critic and writer Gunter Ohnemus has produced a fast-paced crime novel which was acclaimed in his own country. Set in post-Communist Europe it follows a German novelist turned taxi driver and his Russian lover fleeing from the mafia and the authorities and trying to come to terms with their personal and national identities. '

- The Northern Echo

'The Russian Passenger is gripping and claustrophobic. The hunted and haunted couple move on constantly, suspecting innocent people and circumstances; other times being justified in their fears. Against it all is the confusion of a German and Russian trying to make sense of their countries' past. Compelling to the end, it's another success from the Bitter Lemon Press which is fast becoming one of the best publishers of crime fiction around. '

- Coventry Evening Telegraph

'Listed by The Times on July 10 as a recommended summer thriller
The story of a Munich taxi driver who thinks his life is in tatters until he takes up with a Russian woman on the run from her violent Mafioso husband. It turns out to be the longest and wildest ride of his life, a high octane odyssey across the new Europe and eventually the United States. All the makings of a new genre- the Russian mafia road movie. '

- The Times

'In Munich, the beautiful but obviously nervous Russian, Sonia Kovalevskaya hails the taxi that fifty years old Harry Willemer drives for a living. She asks him to take her around Munich before dropping her off at the airport to catch a flight to Luxembourg. She explains to Harry that her Russian Mafia husband is after her because she stole four million dollars of their loot. Somehow Sonia's plight touches Harry, who gave up on life twenty-two years ago when he got into a fight with his wife Ellen. Sick of his accusations, she left taking their daughter Jessie with her. Perhaps it was anger that blinded Ellen, but her vehicle crashed into a tree killing Jessie. Harry still blames himself drifting through life as a loner until now. Harry offers to drive her all the way to the ill-gotten money; Sonia accepts knowing that has to be safer than the airport or rails obviously under Mafia surveillance. Not long afterward with goons on their tail and the German police seeking them for questioning involving two dead Russians, Harry and Sonia flee for their lives.

This English translation of a tense German thriller grips readers as the chase crosses Europe to America with friends of Harry assisting them; his sudden contacts bring out the pivotal moment that destroyed his life over two decades ago. Sonia is an intriguing protagonist and the antagonists are deliciously evil, but title aside Harry takes the novel above the typical pursuit thriller. He sees Sonia as a chance at some redemption that might relieve him a bit (not totally) from his self flagellation culpability and negative musings. '

- Amazon
'There's much to enjoy in this sharp, pacy slice of roman noir. Bereaved father, failed writer, Harry drives a Munich cab until a slinky Russian mafia moll hires him for a ride to Luxembourg. Chased by mobsters, they go much further: France, Italy, California, and into a volatile affair that uncovers all the bitterness of Russo-German relations. Harry's tale of grief and flight packs an emotional punch rare in a thriller.' - The Independent

'Avoiding the obvious, Bitter Lemon Press, a new imprint from Britain, publishes international romans noirs unknown on these shores-stories that reflect the national sensibilities of their native authors. THE RUSSIAN PASSENGER, a road adventure by Günter Ohnemus, reads like a movie, a jaunty story about a cabdriver who picks up the wife of a Russian mafia boss and drives her (and the $4 million in her suitcase) through Germany, France and Italy to escape the hit men her husband sends out in her pursuit. Aside from a lame ending in San Francisco, this is an alternately dark and sunny journey of redemption, with German cabbie and Russian passenger earnestly trying to resolve their nationalist prejudices and absolve their collective guilt-in colorful settings of course.'

- The New York Times
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  • Günter OhnemusReviewThe Russian Passenger