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Posted January 20, 2012
All I Could Do After Finishing The Bridge Of Sighs Was Breathe A Sigh Of Relief!
The only positive for me from reading The Bridge Of Sighs, Olen Steinhauer's first novel, was to learn how much he improved as a writer and storyteller in his latest books, The Tourist and The Nearest Exit; both of which I thought were very good. In Steinhauer's attempt at a literary crime novel, the plot takes place in 1948, three years after the Russians liberated this small (not specified) Eastern European nation from German occupation. However, the Red Army still patrols the capital's rubble-strewn streets, and the ideals of the Revolution are but memories. In this environment, a young, inexperienced homicide detective, who spent the war years working on a fishing boat in Finland, finally gets his chance to serve his country working for the People's Militia by investigating the murder of a state songwriter. Based on my strong enjoyment of Steinhauer's The Tourist and The Nearest Exit, I was anticipating liking this book as well. Unfortunately, although I forced myself to finish The Bridge Of Sighs, I disliked it a lot. Steinhauer did moderately well in creating a rich sense of atmosphere but the book was disappointing in all other elements I look for in a good novel. The plot was weak, unoriginal and boring for the most part, the characters were uninteresting, unlikable and lacked dimension, and the book lacked a sustainable level of action and excitement. Suffice it to say that I'm glad I read Steinhauer's last two books before reading The Bridge Of Sighs because I might not have ever read these two books if I read The Bridge Of Sighs first.
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