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The Bridge of Sighs

Cover of The Bridge of Sighs

The Bridge of Sighs

The Yalta Boulevard Sequence Series, Book 1
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In this auspicious literary crime debut, an inexperienced homicide detective struggles amid the lawlessness of a post–World War II Eastern European city.

It's August, 1948, three years after the Russians "liberated" this small nation from German occupation. But the Red Army still patrols the capital's rubble-strewn streets, and the ideals of the Revolution are but memories. Twenty-two-year-old Detective Emil Brod, an eager young man who spent the war working on a fishing boat in Finland, finally gets his chance to serve his country, investigating murder for the People's Militia.

The victim in Emil's first case is a state songwriter, but the evidence seems to point toward a political motive. He would like to investigate further, but even in his naïveté he realizes that the police academy never prepared him for this peculiar post-war environment in which his colleagues are suspicious or silent, lawlessness and corruption are the rules of the city, and he's still expected to investigate a murder. He is truly on his own in this new, dangerous world.

The Bridge of Sighs launches a unique series of crime novels featuring a dynamic cast of characters in an ever-evolving landscape, the politically volatile terrain of Eastern Europe in the second half of the twentieth century.

In this auspicious literary crime debut, an inexperienced homicide detective struggles amid the lawlessness of a post–World War II Eastern European city.

It's August, 1948, three years after the Russians "liberated" this small nation from German occupation. But the Red Army still patrols the capital's rubble-strewn streets, and the ideals of the Revolution are but memories. Twenty-two-year-old Detective Emil Brod, an eager young man who spent the war working on a fishing boat in Finland, finally gets his chance to serve his country, investigating murder for the People's Militia.

The victim in Emil's first case is a state songwriter, but the evidence seems to point toward a political motive. He would like to investigate further, but even in his naïveté he realizes that the police academy never prepared him for this peculiar post-war environment in which his colleagues are suspicious or silent, lawlessness and corruption are the rules of the city, and he's still expected to investigate a murder. He is truly on his own in this new, dangerous world.

The Bridge of Sighs launches a unique series of crime novels featuring a dynamic cast of characters in an ever-evolving landscape, the politically volatile terrain of Eastern Europe in the second half of the twentieth century.

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    2
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  • Text Difficulty:
    9 - 12

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About the Author-
  • Olen Steinhauer is the author of an Eastern European thriller series including The Bridge of Sighs, 36 Yalta Boulevard, Liberation Movements, and Victory Square. His work has been twice nominated for the Edgar and shortlisted for the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger and the Anthony, the Barry, and the Macavity awards. He currently lives in Budapest, Hungary.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 20, 2003
    Set in 1948 in a small, unnamed Eastern European country devastated by WWII and still occupied by Russian troops, Steinhauer's promising debut introduces 22-year-old homicide inspector Emil Brod of the People's Militia. Brod's police academy training has prepared him for neither the rude reception he receives from his homicide comrades nor the difficult and risky assignment handed him as his initiation. The brutal murder of a moderately successful writer of patriotic songs enmeshes the bewildered Brod in an investigation hampered by his inexperience and lack of support from above as well as by other forces unknown but soon felt. Brod's trial by fire takes him through city and village, from small bars and tenements to streetwalkers and party officials. Steinhauer deftly presents minor characters, while he richly renders the country's travails as war is followed by occupation, suspicion, corruption and betrayal. The trail of murder, blackmail and wartime secrets even leads Brod to a divided Berlin, where he observes the non-stop activity at Tempelhof Airport during the Allied airlift. Perhaps the novel's weakest element is the amorphous Brod, though his appeal grows as the story progresses. One looks forward to Brod's developing into a fully realized character in future books in the series. (Feb. 28)Forecast:Fans of J. Robert Janes (who provides a blurb) in particular and of mysteries with totalitarian regime backgrounds in general should appreciate the authenticity the author brings from his experience as a Fulbright Fellow in Romania.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 4, 2003
    Schmidtke's reading of Steinhauer's debut is rich with subtle nuance, but his portrayal of the actual characters' voices, which are rarely graced with anything resembling an Eastern European accent, may strike listeners as off-key. Set in a rubble-strewn, unnamed Eastern European country in 1948, this intrigue focuses on 22-year-old Emil Brod, a rookie homicide detective for the People's Militia who seems to be up against the world. His department thinks he is a spy, and treats him with utter scorn and malevolence. He is not even given a gun, and has to take public transportation for his investigations. However, not unlike an eastern Dirty Harry, Brod defies direct orders and continues his investigation of a murder, which ultimately leads him to one of the country's most powerful men. Schmidtke delivers the flirtatious lines of Brod's widow/love interest with a decidedly non-sexy, octogenarian breathiness, and his voice takes on a strange Sean Connery–like lilt for Brod's reluctant partner. However, the momentum Schmidtke builds through his performance overrides these peculiarities and renders this intrigue worthwhile. Simultaneous release with the St. Martin's Minotaur hardcover (Forecasts, Jan. 20).

  • —John Blazina, FennFocus Reps Picks "Steinhauer makes you smell the murky sewers and feel the damp chill of the dark alleys as Emil works to solve the case. This is a finely-formed novel that evokes all of the desperation, intrigue, and bloody-mindedness that was post-war Europe, but it also brings to life the spirit of those people, who not only survived those horrible years but went on to build new lives."
  • AudioFile "...Ned Schmidtke's deep, authoritative voice suits the story. He never gets in front of the action. Instead, he supports this atmospheric tale with well-paced, even reading and a few carefully chosen vocal mannerisms for the main characters. A moody, involving listen."
Title Information+
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    Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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The Bridge of Sighs
The Bridge of Sighs
The Yalta Boulevard Sequence Series, Book 1
Olen Steinhauer
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