“Postwar Eastern Europe chillingly evoked by a storyteller... who understands the relentless conjunction between character and suspense.... Good enough to suggest comparison with Graham Greene; place the author in the forefront of contemporary suspense writers...” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“This is a gripping and fully realized portrayal of a man whose strengths, flaws, struggle, and ultimate fall are emblematic of the fate of Eastern Europe itself. While skillfully developed, the intricacies of plot, particularly the story behind the diverse crimes, fade to relative insignificance in light of Ferenc's heartrending 'confession'. Densely atmospheric and strongly recommended...” Library Journal (starred review)
“Beyond delivering an involving police procedural in an intriguing setting, the author relates with spare irony his narrator's psychological journey.... [The Confession] is enthusiastically recommended for fans of well-made hard-boiled and noir fiction.” Booklist (starred review)
“Bigger in scope... than The Bridge of Sighs [...Steinhauer's original and mesmerizing first mystery]... the novel makes readers wonder just what Steinhauer will do for the next book in his series...” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Knowing what's to come in Hungary and Poland, we can only marvel at the rumbling undertone of dread that Steinhauer builds around what appears to be a routine investigation of a suicide but turns out to be just the tip of a murderous political conspiracy. And while Ferenc has more character flaws than Brod, he is no less a hero of his troubled times, a man so depressed and without faith that forcing himself to go on living is in itself a true act of heroism.
Ferenc Kolyeszar, the main character in this sharp tale of murder, political intrigue and human failings, is a large, disillusioned police inspector with a weakness for drink and cigarettes. Narrator Dean's naturally deep, gravelly voice works well in that context, but the rest of his performance is uneven. The novel takes place in an unnamed Eastern Bloc nation in 1956, and it centers on a series of converging discoveries by Kolyeszar and his colleagues. As Moscow asserts an increasing influence in the country, their office and their personal lives become charged with distrust and fear, a sense that becomes more pronounced as they draw closer to unveiling a dire secret. Dean has a clear sense of drama and narrative pacing, and he wisely steps back and allows Steinhauer (The Bridge of Sighs) to set the progressively nervy tone. But while he renders most of the male characters believably-albeit without much nuance-he struggles with females and with sustaining any voice that's said to have an idiosyncrasy. The production is spare and straightforward, but the engrossing story makes up for the recording's slight imperfections. Simultaneous release with the St. Martin's Minotaur hardcover (Forecasts, Dec. 1, 2003). (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Steinhauer's bold follow-up to The Bridge of Sighs is simply brilliant. It is not your usual police procedural but a well-crafted mystery that mixes murder and political intrigue with the human element. The author's return to the still unnamed Eastern European city and country that serve as the background for this Cold War-era murder mystery transports the listener back into the grimy and brutal world of the homicide squad of Emil Brod. Surprisingly, this time around Emil plays a supporting role to fellow homicide inspector Ferenc Kolyeszar. The hunt for the killer is intertwined with Ferenc's sad family situation, his growing conflict with a visiting KGB officer, and the betrayal of a close friend, along with his struggles as a novelist. Everything takes place against the backdrop of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and highlights the sense of fear, depression, and frustration of those who lived under the yoke of a Communist state. Robertson Dean's narration makes the listener's journey a bit more believable. Recommended for all public and academic libraries.-Scott R. DiMarco, Herkimer Cty. Community Coll., NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Postwar Eastern Europe chillingly evoked by a storyteller (Bridge of Sighs, 2003) who understands the relentless conjunction between character and suspense. In 1956, the Soviet Union is a dark, debilitating presence in the lives of Eastern Europeans. Ferenc Kolyeszar is a homicide detective, a Comrade Inspector in the People's Militia of his unnamed, war-ravaged little country. For some time the Soviet miasma has been affecting the way he thinks and behaves. But then comes the order to help squash a student demonstration, one he might well have joined under altered circumstances. He swings his club, knocks a few people down, then bolts, suddenly confronted with an overpowering sense of a society and a self in decay. He feels "dirtied" in ways he can only partially articulate. The murder case he's handed a few days later does little to restore lost equilibrium. A party bureaucrat whose wife has disappeared tells the police he fears foul play. His prophecy is soon justified-except that the official himself is the vicious perpetrator. Though it's a bad case, with roots in a murky past the KGB wants to keep buried, Ferenc works it assiduously, with helpless fatalism, knowing it has personal disaster written all over it. But he's willing to plunge into disaster if that's the price of redemption. Good enough to suggest comparison with Graham Greene: place the author in the forefront of contemporary suspense writers, and make your mouth occasionally go dry. Agent: Matt Williams/The Gernert Company