East Berlin,1975. Questions are dangerous. Answers can Kill.
Communist East Germany in 1975 was a place of shadows, a time of oppression and deceit, and an uncertain time for police officer, oberleutnant, Karen Müller, who attempts to maintain law and order on the dark streets of East Berlin. When the mutilated body of a young woman is found lying exposed in a city cemetery, Müller and her underleutnant, Werner Tilsner are faced with the difficult task of trying to investigate a killing which seems to throw up more questions than it does answers. When they discover that they will be assisted by Klaus Jäger, Minister for State Security, the level of secrecy and collusion becomes heightened to an, almost, impossible level.
Keeping the dystopian atmosphere of Eastern Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall is a difficult task, as so much during this time, was shrouded in secrecy, however, this debut author does a commendable job of bringing both time and place distinctly alive in the imagination. There is a subtle darkness to the narrative which, in my mind, is entirely in keeping with that of the shadowy world of communist politics. Shrouded in mystery, the central theme of the story works well; it’s atmospheric without being enclosed in too much unnecessary detail and the crispness of the narrative allows the story to move forwards and backwards in time with seamless precision. There are more than enough twists and turns in the plot to keep even the more erudite crime aficionados guessing right until the very end.
And yet, the story is also about so much more than its underlying plot. It’s also about sharply delineated characters that become frighteningly realistic. I was entirely beguiled by Karen Müller, she is as much an enigma as the communist world she inhabits, and I am delighted to learn that this is the first book in a proposed series, where I hope we will learn more about this charismatic and, it must be said, supremely flawed, oberleutnant.
Best enjoyed with ice cold Vodka shots and black coffee chasers...
About the Author
Follow on Twitter @djy_writer
David Young was born near Hull and, after dropping out of a Bristol University science degree, studied Humanities at Bristol Polytechnic. Temporary jobs cleaning ferry toilets and driving a butcher’s van were followed by a career in journalism on provincial newspapers, a London news agency, and international radio and TV newsrooms. He now writes in his garden shed and in his spare time supports Hull City AFC.
My thanks to Julia Dorrington at Midas PR for my review copy of this book.