Sebastian Fitzek "Playlist": "Where did we get into here?"

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Sebastian Fitzek “Playlist”
“Where did we get into here?”

By Thomas Badtke

A girl disappears without a trace in Berlin. Only the music on an ancient MP3 player keeps her alive; 15 songs on it are her only chance of salvation. To ensure that this succeeds, bestselling thriller author Sebastian Fitzek sends an old successful duo on the trail. Its opponent: the “eye collector”.

“Damn it, where did we get in?” When Alina Gregoriew and Alexander Zorbach ask this question, it is already too late to escape. The two well-known heroes from Sebastian Fitzek’s “Augensammler” and “Augenjäger” best-selling thrillers are in the middle of a dark, macabre game – for life and death: A girl was kidnapped in Berlin, father and mother are beside themselves with worry, the police are on the alert. And also Zorbach, formerly a cop himself, then a police reporter for a greasy tabloid. But Zorbach’s time is running out.

In a few days he has to go to jail, a multi-year prison sentence, because he is guilty of the death of an innocent man. An innocent man whom Zorbach himself believed to be guilty. Guilty of the death of his ex-wife, guilty of kidnapping his son. For Zorbach, Frank was the “eye collector”, the serial killer, who not only played along with him. The eye collector kidnapped children and killed the mother immediately, thus judging the fathers who, in the eyes of the serial killer, had not loved their children enough, or even neglected them. At Zorbach it was work – and Frank was his intern.

But Frank wasn’t the eye collector. Zorbach knows that now and he regrets that he risked Frank’s life and ended up wiping it out in order to get his kidnapped son back. But that was how life had played, that was what luck would have it, or rather the morbid game of the eye-collector.

The horror is back

Now the eye collector is back in Zorbach’s life. Again. And also in Alina Gregoriews. The blind, young woman and Zorbach had once been involuntarily brought together by the eye collector. In “Playlist” Germany’s number one thriller author brings his three most famous characters back onto the field from kidnapping, torture, abuse, murder and death. Fitzek draws on well-known things and things that are loved from the reader’s point of view: on the one hand, there are two characters that you simply have to love because of their rough edges. On the other hand, on the abysses of the human soul, sometimes as black, deep, cold and at first glance hidden like a crevasse in the Alps covered by snow.

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Another girl has disappeared, again Zorbach and Alina fight together to save her. Again a kind of love-hate relationship binds her, chains her together, never lets go of her. Fitzek skilfully plays the thriller keyboard, hints here and there, leaving it up to the reader to form a complete picture in his imagination: vigilante justice, secret machinations, gloomy barracks and even darker sex practices. Again Zorbach’s head is maltreated, which was already badly affected in the previous two books – among other things, Zorbach shot himself in the head.

Fitzek at its best

“Playlist” is a typical Fitzek that the reader does not want to put down after the first two or three pages until one has absorbed the last chapter, the last page, the last sentence. “Playlist” is not just a simple pageturner, the new book is the pageturner par excellence. Especially when the reader thinks that you have looked behind the scenes, there is a twist that is followed by another twist. The plot gets faster and faster, sweeps the reader away, drives him on, incites him, like the eye-collectors Zorbach and Alina.

Towards the end, “Playlist” almost looks like a blockbuster script, Hollywood par excellence, in the middle of Berlin, in the Kiez. And best of all: Just like a Hollywood blockbuster, the soundtrack can also be heard. A “playlist” with 15 songs was published parallel to the book, for example by Silbermond, Tim Bendzko, Namika, Joris, Cool Savas or Alle Farben. They are embedded in the plot, form a symbiosis, draw the reader even deeper into the subject matter and at the end ensure that Fitzek’s “playlist” stays in his head longer, wants to eat its way back to the surface at night from the subconscious.

Perfect thrill, if only there weren’t these many questions: Will the kidnapped girl be found, even saved? What do you have in common with Zorbach and Alina? What role does the ominous Ambrosia project play? Will Alina regain her eyesight – and will Zorbach begin his prison sentence? Will the Eye Collector be caught this time or can he escape again, perhaps with the help of an ally? Fitzek’s “Playlist” of horror will tell and the reader will think more than once: “Damn it, where did we get in?”

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