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Showing 1-10 of 26 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 45 reviews
on April 20, 2017
This had promise, and I had enjoyed a previous book by the same author. ( Bridge of Sighs) However, the plot became bogged down occasionally by the inexplicable problems of the protagonist and his wife. What exactly was going on with them? Married characters had liaisons with wives and mistresses of co-workers which everyone appeared to accept as the norm. Was the author's point that the oppressive state ( an unnamed country under communist rule) had caused humans to stifle their emotions, and had created a country of people devoid of the ability to truly care about anything? The behavior of the protagonist in tying up his lover, and leaving her for a day was off the charts strange. He seemed truly puzzled by her understandable distress. Lots of unanswered questions in this one.
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on July 19, 2017
I read the (newer) Milo Weaver trilogy first. Those novels were excellent - some of the best espionage novels I have ever read. The Confession is the second novel in the Yalta Blvd. series. I made it through the first one, The Bridge of Sighs. It was okay, but not compelling. I really struggled to get through The Confession. The main (different) character was slightly interesting, but I could not get into any of the other characters at all, and I barely finished the book. It definitely turned me off to the rest of the series.
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on January 17, 2011
A marvelous, powerful, compelling blend of Koestler, Franzen, Dostoevsky, Greene, le Carré, Mankell, Nesbo... Slowly unfolding, multi-layered plot with beautifully sculpted characters set into action amidst the oppressive and pervasive gloom, fear, and despair of Eastern European totalitarianism.

Steinhauer writes strong, clear prose that "sounds" right for the setting. And yes, it moves rather slowly, but it's measured and deliberate, not sluggish.

If you have ever enjoyed any works by any of the authors listed above, you should find a spot on your Kindle for Steinhauer. I began with "The Tourist" and am now working forward from "The Bridge of Sighs." Great to know that there are four more to savor.
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on September 1, 2016
The Ruthenia Quintet gives an excellent overview of an Eastern European Country from the end of World War Two through the immediate aftermath, to the Russian takeover, life under that regime and later. The second book reminds us of day-to-day life in the 1950s as a part of the Russian Empire.
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on September 7, 2012
This man writes with the authority of someone who's been doing it far longer than he has. He puts you THERE -- the way Tom Rob Smith did in Child 44. You "bathe" in an Olen Steinhauer book. Strips away any illusion that the Stalinist idea had any merit, and introduces you to real people struggling to live with some normality in a world filled with the insanity of sudden and implacable terror. I'm working my way through everything Mr. Steinhauer has
written, because I really enjoy his mind and his enormous talent.
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on July 25, 2010
I am a Steinhauer fan. His first entry in this five book series, The Bridge of Sighs, hooked me and The Confession reeled me in. The unnamed Eastern European country imagined by the author provides a tremendous background for mystery, intrigue, and complex relationships. The characters are well developed, interesting, and completely believable. The plot of The Confession is highly engrossing with two mysteries interwoven along with the personal lives of the militia investigating them. At one point, the book appeared to be conventional but then broadened and surprised me in an unexpected and appreciated turn. I am very much looking forward to 36 Yalta Boulevard which is next in the series.
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on December 26, 2010
As some other reviewers have stated, this one took some getting into. I read The Tourist and The Nearest Exit, and loved them both. When I found out there was another series that started with Bridge of Sighs, I had to read that as well and loved it as well. Switching from Milo to Emil was easy and both characters were so well crafted and enjoyable to read.

The first few pages (dare I say chapters) of The Confession gave me a feeling of "oh no...." because for starters I really liked the main character of Emil in Bridge of Sighs and I really learned to dislike or at best distrust the other inspectors that Emil worked with. I really thought the author was off his rocker and reaching far too much to expect to carry forth a series switching to another character, especially a big beefy guy with rings on his fingers who sits in the corner typing.

Another reviewer said he was glad that he stuck with it, and so am I. I actually stopped reading it two chapters in for a few weeks, and lamented to my wife that I wanted to get into it but I just couldn't. So I buckled down and re-engaged, and let me just tell you that if you're an Olen Steinhauer fan you will not be disappointed. How the author managed to switch characters and keep the series moving so well, I do not know, but he absolutely did.

And without the ground work of the what-seems-boring beginning of the book, you can't really appreciate the more eventful sections. I hate to take away from Bridge of Sighs and I can't believe I'm saying this, but The Confession might just be my favorite Steinhauer book yet.
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on May 3, 2015
Again, a very good, compelling story with Kafkaesque atmospherics in a mysterious Eastern European ethnic crossroads. Complex characters in a post-war Communist no-man's land. I'd rate The Bridge of Sighs just a bit higher but this one is strongly recommended.
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on October 8, 2012
This was an incredible book, smallish, but with a lot of story. Terrific character development, vague in the location enough to be left to the readers imagination. it will stay timeless, not outdated. Focus is on the characters, not the technology. Actually,well worth the recommendation. This author is pretty good! I hope there are more to follow like this one.
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on April 18, 2012
1956: Nikita Khruschev's Secret Speech denouncing Stalin's crimes; the Hungarian uprising and unrest in Poland it triggered; the British, French, and Israeli invasion of Egypt following Gamal Abdel Nasser's nationalization of the Suez Canal; Sputnik's launch. It was a watershed year, somewhat comparable to 1968 more than a decade later. In The Confession, we view the world of 1956 through the eyes and the troubled mind of Ferenc Kolyeszar, a policeman in a fictional Eastern European country somehow nestled among Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Romania.

However, Kolyeszar is a novelist as well as a policeman, having published a well-received novel about his experiences as a soldier resisting the German occupation at the outset of World War II. Now 37 years old, he is writing The Confession to chronicle his shattering experiences at home and at work against the backdrop of fateful world events.

Kolyeszar's story involves the unraveling of his marriage to Magda, the disappearance of a senior official's young wife; the sometimes rocky relationships among Kolyeszar and Stefan, Emil, Leonek, and Brano, his fellow police officers in the District; Stefan's reopened investigation into the murder of his partner immediately after the War; and the visit to the District of a KGB Colonel from Moscow named Kaminski. These parallel story lines weave in and out of one another, converging in a climactic end-game that brings a just conclusion to The Confession. Along the way we become immersed in the endless strain as Communist rule solidifies in Eastern Europe with mounting ferocity. This is an engrossing and skillfully written story.

Olen Steinhauer's The Confession is the second in a cycle of five novels set a decade apart from one another about the men of the District. Its predecessor, The Bridge of Sighs, was written from the perspective of Kolyeszar's colleague Emil Brod and took place in 1948-49. The subsequent three novels carry the story forward to the fall of Communism in 1989. To my mind, judging from what I've read so far, this five-book cycle is as insightful a history of Eastern Europe under Communism as any history of the period.

(From [ ... ])
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