David Schalko

Heavy Bones

Schwere Knochen

Heavy Bones

English sample translation available
Recommended for Translation by New Books in German (Spring 2018-edition)
#2 Bestselling Fiction Title April 2018 (Austrian Book Trade Association)

A crime epic about the most notorious gangsters of the postwar period, inspired by real events

Vienna, March 1938, the day of the “Anschluss” – the annexation of Austria into the Third Reich. Whilst half of Vienna is cheering its new Führer on the Heldenplatz, Ferdinand Krutzler and his friends, a gang of petty criminals specialized in burglaries, are busy robbing the home of a self-confessed Nazi. Someone blows the whistle and they get arrested and immediately sent to the Dachau concentration camp. Krutzler is soon sent on to Mauthausen, where he becomes a so-called “Kapo”, a prisoner that is in charge of other prisoners – Jewish and political prisoners – which he is forced to supervise and, not seldom, to assassinate.
When the gang returns to the bombed-out Austrian capital at the end of the war, they have turned into hardened criminals, for whom the difference between humans and animals is merely an illusion. They quickly get to the top of the Viennese underworld with unprecedented brutality. When it turns out that only 10,000 former Nazis are being arrested and most of them are likely to get away unharmed, Krutzler and his gang offer the police chief to get rid of the Nazis in their own way. A campaign of revenge begins, the historically proven “Operation Eisener Besen” (“Operation Iron Broom”). But slowly the committed group of gangsters begins to quarrel, mistrust prevails, and last but not least, competition from the Balkans emerges.…

With plenty of black humor but also great empathy, David Schalko draws a picture of the rise and fall of the Austrian underworld between 1935 and 1962, offering a fascinating glimpse inside people whose souls have been murdered by the Nazi rule.



ISBN: 978-3-462-05096-7
release: 12. April 2018
576 pages, gebunden mit SU


24,00 €
0,00 sFr
24,70 €

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sample translation

About the Author

David Schalko works as developer of TV programs, screenwriter, author and film director. He is a huge star in Austria thanks to his two series “Braunschlag” and “Altes Geld”. His TV-remake of the great Fritz Lang classic “M” is set to air in fall 2018. Schalko has written five books to date. With Schwere Knochen (“Heavy Bones”), he has now produced his magnum opus.