Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Confession by Olen Steinhauer

Almost two years ago, Sharon's brother Tom recommended a series of books by Olen Steinhauer. I read the first book--The Bridge of Sighs--in the series last fall. I enjoyed that book enough that I bought the second book--The Confession--and finished it on the flight to Washington D.C.

Set in a small, unnamed Eastern European country in 1956, the book has the same set of main characters as the first book; the novel revolves around a set of homicide detectives. The story takes places eight years after The Bridge of Sighs. Interestingly, the author switches main characters. The story is told from the perspective of a different detective than the first book. The novel is part police procedural, part erotic romance, part noir mystery and part reflection on totalitarian excesses.

Part of what makes the book so intriguing is how it captures the atmosphere of the place and time and what it does to the people. In communist Eastern Europe in 1956, the people have had to accept the dominance of State Security and their puppet-masters in Moscow. But with Stalin gone, neighboring Hungary is trying to revolt.

This is the second book in a series of five. The third story is set in the 1960's.  I am definitely going to add the next book to my pile.

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