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Stasi Child: A Chilling Cold War Thriller…

Stasi Child: A Chilling Cold War Thriller (The Oberleutnant Karin… (edition 2016)

by David Young (Author)

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7911223,747 (3.8)5
Title:Stasi Child: A Chilling Cold War Thriller (The Oberleutnant Karin Müller series)
Authors:David Young (Author)
Info:Twenty7 (2016), 416 pages
Collections:Books read in 2019

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Stasi Child by David Young



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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
4.8 stars – nearly perfect.

I originally saw this listed on Netgalley, and my request was subsequently denied. So I waited (im)patiently for its release, and finally got to it. This brilliant debut novel was well worth the wait!

This suspenseful thriller is set in 1970s East Germany. The Berlin Wall, known as the “Anti-Fascist Protection Barrier” in the East, is standing, and there’s a distinct sense of claustrophobia and near-paranoia for everyone, for everyone is a potential enemy of the state. It’s this atmosphere in which Oberleutnant Karin Müller is charged with investigating the death of a teenage girl found mutilated in a cemetery near the base of the Berlin Wall. Müller, along with her deputy Werner Tilsner, and with a senior officer of the Stasi, investigate, and almost immediately become ensnared between corrupt two wings of the Stasi, become a mission of life and death for Müller, and those around her.

David Young’s writing is vivid and convincing, and the plot is intelligent, intriguing, and intricate. The character development is outstanding. Müller, sent to West Berlin by her Stasi superior, judges the western capitalism as “glorification of business and the business of making money, on the backs of the people”, is emotionally complex in her conformity with Communism and its values, and is very compassionate and principled in her actions to see this investigation through to the inevitable end.

The author captures the time period very well in this fast-paced thriller, and the final third of the book is a series of hairpin twists and turns, like the mountain roads of the Harz range where the finale takes place. I’m looking forward to more from this author and this series. ( )
  ssimon2000 | May 7, 2018 |
This was a good murder mystery/thriller based in the mid 1970's in Berlin, Germany before The Wall came down.

This is the first in a series and a debut novel by David Young. I will look forward to and continue reading the Karin Muller series.

Thanks to netgalley and St Martin's Press for this advanced readers copy. ( )
  PamV | Mar 27, 2018 |
In a sense every person in this novel is a candidate to be the “Stasi Child” of this book’s title, so pervasive is the influence, the spying, and the danger posed by the Stasi, the State Security Service of the former German Democratic Republic. This is Cold War fiction at its most chilling.
Not even Karin Müller, the book’s main protagonist, a detective in the murder squad of East Berlin’s Kripo, is exempt. (The Kripo is the nickname for the Kriminalpolizei.) In fact, she is very much in the Stasi’s sights for several reasons. Closest to home, her math teacher husband has been fraternizing with “fascist elements,” risking a spell in jail, or worse. Already he was sent for a time to teach at a remote youth detention center as a warning. One he hasn’t heeded.
Mysteriously, detective Müller has been called on to investigate the death of a teenage girl whose body was found in a cemetery at the foot of the Berlin Wall. Dead bodies near the wall were not uncommon in winter 1975, when the story is set, as would-be escapees were shot on sight, but it appears this girl was shot in the back while attempting to escape into East Germany, not out of it.
The case is a minefield of political elements, as well. Müller is told that Stasi agent Klaus Jäger will actually be in charge of the investigation, though Müller and her Unterleutnant Werner Tilsner will do the work. Moreover, their remit is confined to discovering the girl’s identity, not seeking to find out who murdered her.
Whether the Stasi knows they are violating the terms of their assignment, whether they know she and Tilsner have been indiscreet, whether her husband is in jeopardy—everything could become a threat. Author David Young is an expert at ramping up these tensions, with one or two too many twists and turns nearing the end.
Interwoven with the chapters about the investigation are first-person chapters, set seven months earlier, told from the point of view of Irma Behrendt, a fifteen-year-old inmate at the youth work camp where Müller’s husband was sent. She dreams of escape and wants to take her best friend with her. It would be dangerous, of course, but desperation breeds courage. Eventually, the two narratives converge. Irma’s tale has been, all along, vital backstory.
With a female protagonist and first-person narrator, Julia Barrie was chosen to narrate the audiobook. Perhaps to give the many male characters distinctive audio personalities in her lower registers, she pitched Karin’s and Irma’s voices rather high. That sort of works for Irma—she’s young, after all—but not for Karin. She sounds too light, too immature, not forceful enough to be heading a murder squad. A benefit of audio is that Barrie handled all those multisyllabic German words with admirable ease. ( )
  Vicki_Weisfeld | Jan 29, 2018 |
Stasi Child is an impressive first novel by David Young depicting a competent police procedural detailing the murder of a young female teenager.

From the start, lead investigator Karin Muller detects nothing is as it seems and from the appearance of the body, it is clear her paths are clearly being thwarted by all sorts of means.

Muller and her young deputy are given the task of determining how the mutilated body of a young teenager has become discovered in East Germany. Early on, Muller, her deputy and crime scene investigator know what they are being told has happened is untrue and to prove otherwise may be detrimental to all.

This novel is a police procedural along with a spy novel rolled into one, with several other plot lines thrown in to add to the reader's enjoyment. It takes place in the mid-1970's, which allows Young to add the political and governmental differences of the region to move the plot along.

As with any good spy novel, motives and allegiances of each character are always suspect which also adds flavor to what is more than just a detective story.

Young even tosses in a few good twists, which certainly will create reader anticipation for the next Karin Muller installment.

Highly recommended. ( )
  EricEllis | Sep 2, 2017 |
This mystery is set in 1974 East Berlin and follows Oberleutnant Karin Mueller as she investigates the death of a young girl, apparently fleeing from West Berlin into East Berlin. She's concerned when she finds the Minister for State Security (Stasi) instead of the border police at the scene of the crime. They are obviously in control and warn Karin not to exceed the terms of her inquiry. In other words, don't challenge the official version of the story.

The story follows three different voices. First is Karin and her frustration at not being able to fully investigate the crime. The second is Karin's husband, Gottfried, who is engaged in behavior that is quite risky for Karen. The third and most compelling is told to the voice of the Irma, one of the teens incarcerated in a workhouse. This subplot spans nine months and adds a grim layer to the narrative.

This is the first book in an anticipated trilogy. Karin Mueller is an imperfect character which makes her even more interesting. The setting of communist controlled East Berlin is chillingly authentic. The story is filled with fear, intrigue and a secretive power struggle. This was a fantastic read for me. Stasi Child is a promising start to a gripping new noir crime series. I hope I don't have to wait too long to read the next one. ( )
  Olivermagnus | Aug 9, 2017 |
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East Berlin, 1975 When Oberleutnant Karin Muller is called to investigate a teenage girl's body at the foot of the Wall, she imagines she's seen it all before. But when she arrives she realises this is a death like no other. It seems the girl was trying to escape - but from the West. Muller is a member of the People's Police, but in East Germany her power only stretches so far. The Stasi want her to discover the identity of the girl, but assure her the case is otherwise closed - and strongly discourage her from asking questions. The evidence doesn't add up, and it soon becomes clear the crime scene has been staged. But this is not a regime that tolerates a curious mind, and Muller doesn't realise that the trail she's following will lead her dangerously close to home.… (more)

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