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The Bridge of Sighs (The Yalta Boulevard Sequence #1)

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3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,898 Ratings  ·  168 Reviews
In this auspicious literary crime debut, an inexperienced homicide detective struggles amid the lawlessness of a post-WWII Eastern European city.

It's August, 1948, three years after the Russians "liberated" this small nation from German Occupation. But the Red Army still patrols the capital's rubble-strewn streets, and the ideals of the Revolution are but memories. Twenty-
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published February 12th 2004 by Minotaur Books (first published February 1st 2003)
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Community Reviews

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Carl R.
May 08, 2012 Carl R. rated it really liked it
I read somewhere that Olen Steinhauer was a good mystery writer. He is. And is more. The Bridge Of Sighs, set in an unnamed Eastern European country, post WWII, traces the efforts of newly-minted homicide detective Emil Brod to solve the murder of a fairly-famous songwriter. The investigation is also his coming-of-age as policeman, adult, and survivor in a totalitarian society.
The Bridge of Sighs is Venetian, the last crossing for convicted criminals before their incarceration in a famously b
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Toni Osborne
Jul 12, 2014 Toni Osborne rated it it was ok
Book 1, in the Emil Brod series

This unique portrayal begins in 1948 and captures the life and crime of a small Eastern Country (Unnamed) after the Russians liberated it from the German Occupation. The people continue to struggle with rebuilding and coming to terms with their destiny. There are suspicious of their liberators and their Communist ideology. We are into a volatile terrain throughout this auspicious crime novel.

I am a huge fan of the Milo Weaver series so it is of no surprise my curi
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SlowRain
May 22, 2011 SlowRain rated it liked it
During the early part of the Cold War, an inexperienced investigator in an unnamed, fictitious Eastern European country is given a case that no one wants solved.

In an impressive, Edgar-nominated debut (Best First Novel), Olen Steinhauer gives us a mystery and a story of Cold War political intrigue, set in a country he describes as "the intersection of Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, Hungary, and Romania." It's part one of a five book series--with each novel featuring different characters--but all rev
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June Ahern
Dec 20, 2013 June Ahern rated it it was amazing
I have a new detective to add to favorites––Harry Bosch, Kinsey Millhone, Guido Brunetti -- and he is Emil Brod, 23 year-old newly hired homicide investigator for the People's Militia. The story is set in 1948's post Russia's liberating Brod's small country from German occupation. His first case is of a state's songwriter. The young detective is not welcomed by his fellow homicide investigators, making Brod waffle on his career decision. Having never read any fiction (contemporary) about this ti ...more
Linda
May 28, 2010 Linda rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-crime
WWII has recently ground to a halt, and Eastern Europe is now occupied by the Russians rather than the Germans. Not much difference, life is still exceedingly grim. Into this atmosphere, idealistic new detective Emil Brod begins his career. As if survival itself isn't difficult enough, Emil's fellow police officers shun him. When he finally lands his first case, it turns out to be a political quagmire of a murder. In a way, The Bridge of Sighs ( a symbol of this brave new prole society) is a ret ...more
Robert French
Mar 23, 2016 Robert French rated it really liked it
Early in The Bridge of Sighs I was unsure whether I would like the novel, but as I continued I became quite engaged, not only in the characters, but also in the setting. Olen Steinhauer provides a picture of a time and place that I have read little about - not long after the end of WWII, during the time of the Berlin Airlift and in the eastern bloc occupied by the Soviets. Well worth the reading and I certainly plan to continue reading the books of the Yalta Boulevard Sequence.
Ms.pegasus
It's August 1948 in an unnamed Eastern European country, and Emil Brod has reported for his first day on the job as the newbie in the People's Militia. He lives with his grandparents, and as if he were a kid off to his first day at school, his grandmother has made sure he wore his best suit. It's tight, ill-fitting, and pure torture in the sweltering heat of the office. None of his new co-workers are welcoming. Instead, he is ignored, finds a threatening note in his desk drawer and is physically ...more
Don Edgar
Apr 19, 2014 Don Edgar rated it it was amazing
A couple of small spoilers are included.

Emil Brod was an interesting character. He was 22 and we meet him on the first day of his new job as a homocide detective. He sounds like a young guy full of naivte and enthusiasm, but we quickly learn that he has already killed a man, and watch as he attacks and beats up the chief suspect in his first case. It is fun to listen in as he operates with such an openly defiant approach from within an office full of careerists. The other detectives seem to be a
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David
Sep 09, 2012 David rated it it was amazing
With Bridge of Sighs, Olen Steinhauer cemented his place in my top five favorite writers. He joins Elmore Leonard, Neal Stephenson, Neil Gaiman, and Paolo Bacigalupi -- all writers I can depend on for a great story well told.

I was a fan of Steinhauer after reading The Tourist, and the hook dug ever deeper as I read the sequels, Nearest Exit and An American Spy.

From what I can tell, Bridge of Sighs is the first novel Steinhauer wrote. The edges are a bit rougher than his most recent trilogy, but
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Jim Puskas
Jul 08, 2016 Jim Puskas rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, noir
Raymond Chandler, please meet Frederick Forsyth! Shades of The Third Man: dark, gritty, compelling, the way a hard-boiled detective yarn should be. We're in an Eastern European country, 1948. The Russians are in charge; the cold war and the Berlin airlift are under way. Truth doesn't exist, misery is everywhere and a 22 year old freshly minted cop is on his first day at his new job. He is assigned to a case that no one wants to see solved.
This one has it all: an alluring woman whose life is in d
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David Diamantes
Sep 23, 2011 David Diamantes rated it it was amazing
Steinhauer captured post World War II Eastern Europe in this gritty novel about a rookie homicide investigator with the People's Militia, in an unnamed country behind the iron curtain. What hooked me, was Steinhauer's ability to add texture like a painter using a palette knife. He introduces a character, and then paints him with words. He shows you--not tells you, in layers until you can see their day old stubble and smell the vodka on their breath. The characters are coarse, flawed, fat, and ce ...more
Carl
Mar 07, 2011 Carl rated it really liked it
With recent publicity about his newest book coming out in paperback, I decided to check out his first.
Not for those looking for high tech/supermen spy heroes (James Bond or Jason Bourne). Like LeCarre or Graham Greene, the focus is on the human element, and the historical milieu. The plot is OK, but it's the sense of time, place, and people that makes this book work well. The years after WWII in ex-Nazi, now Soviet dominated eastern europe, make for a dark, brooding mood, which certainly affect
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Ty
Feb 22, 2012 Ty rated it liked it
Not terrible, but I didn't find it that riveting, either.

It is ostensibly a mystery novel, but really spends most of its time as a depressing mood piece. (Set in post war Communist Eastern Europe.) Repetitious accounts of graphic (though not horrendously so) violent encounters do not help.

I enjoy mood pieces sometimes, and like to get into characters, but this character was not that interesting, and delving into his mind this far took away from any mystery intrigue.

Even the character himself des
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Candace
Jun 17, 2009 Candace rated it really liked it
The thing I found the most interesting about this book was it's sense of place and story around Eastern Europe right after WWII. It's a vivid description of a small nameless country which has said good-bye to the Germans, just to say hello to the Russians. It's about politics, corruption and survival. Although it is also a mystery, the mystery does not hold the same satisfaction. But I did find it fascinating to learn about a period of time which is not as familiar to me. I know more about what ...more
Carmen
Apr 22, 2011 Carmen rated it really liked it
Emil is a man who wants to make a living. He becomes a inspector in the police force. He is in a small Communist country, shortly after World War II. At first he is made the butt of jokes and just told that he was not wanted. Afterwards he is given a case to investigate. He quickly steps on soneone's toes, and finds himself the victim of an assault. From there he tries everything he can think of to solve the case. The characters are very well described, the plot is engaging, it is a good read.
Steven
Aug 24, 2015 Steven rated it it was amazing
I have already all of Steinhauer later works starting with "The Tourist" and have loved all of them and I thought it was time to go at the earlier works which are more detective/police procedurals. Not as polished as the later works but every bit as exciting and once again he is the king of the flawed character. We love Inspector Brod.
Kevin
Aug 11, 2007 Kevin rated it really liked it
Very promising debut got this great series off to a good start. Steinhauer imaginatively creates a classic hard-boiled detective novel set in Soviet occupied Eastern Europe during the early Cold War.
Thomas
Jan 24, 2011 Thomas rated it it was amazing
This book kickstarts Steinhauer's 5-part series of crime/spy/literary/whatever novels about a fictional Soviet satellite nation during the Cold War. Wonderful, smart, engaging.
Rachel
Emil Brod is newly assigned to the homicide department in the peoples militia of a fictional eastern European country in 1948. Brod is at first ignored by the other members of his new unit. His first case is the murder of an acclaimed songwriter. Brod soon finds himself involved in lots of political intrigue. I liked the investigation part of the book and the postwar setting. What drove me nuts, especially early in the book, is Emil's grandfather and his endless political rants. As the book proc ...more
Kurt
May 11, 2012 Kurt rated it liked it
Young Emil joins the detective outfit in an unnamed, post-WWII Communist nation. (I'm guessing Romania, but the author seems to think it's important not to spill.) His colleagues give him the cold shoulder until he takes on a murder case fraught with poisoned politics and shows he's determined to see it through, come what may. This first in a five-book series had me hopeful from the start, but the plot never fills in some important vagaries, and the characters remain rather one-dimensional. Perh ...more
Mal Warwick
Mar 26, 2012 Mal Warwick rated it really liked it
A fully satisfying murder mystery set in post-war Europe

It has been three years since the Second World War ended, leaving his country in still in ruins and under the rule of a one-party Communist government headed by Comrade Mihai. The despised Germans and their sympathizers have been driven out or executed, but their legacy taints daily life at all levels of society. Just 22 and fresh out of the police academy, Emil Brod reports for duty to the homicide department in The Capital, only to be thr
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Kristine Brancolini
May 16, 2012 Kristine Brancolini rated it really liked it
Not to be confused with a book set in Venice, Italy, this The Bridge of Sighs takes place in an unnamed Eastern European country in 1948. Young homicide detective Emil Brod is new to the People's Militia and he is anxious to get to work solving crimes. However, he is inexplicably ostracized and eventually attacked by his fellow detectives. Eventually, he is given a case, the gruesome murder of a songwriter. In no time Emil is shot and then beaten to a pulp, probably by a German, in a city filled ...more
Kathleen Hagen
Bridge of Sighs, by Olen Steinhauer, b-plus, Narrated by Ned Schmittke, Produced by Blackstone Audio, Downloaded from audible.com.***

This is Steinhauer’s first book, debuted in 2003. His protagonist is a detective newly assigned to the police force in an un-named Eastern European country in 1948 just after WW II. He is assigned to investigate the murder of a singer, but it soon becomes clear that no one cares particularly about her death, and in fact the upper echelons do not want the case solve
...more
Cindy
May 25, 2014 Cindy rated it liked it
Overrall a good read. No graphic sex, reference to homosexuality, no gore, some language. Good reading by Ned Schmitky. Audio 2003. No noticeable editing errors in eBooks edition. TTS-enabled eBook. ...more
Carl Van Valkenburg
Apr 07, 2009 Carl Van Valkenburg rated it liked it
The events of the novel occur in 1948. Although I toured the Soviet Union in 1971, long after, I found myself thinking back to that visit. Particularly when the hero was in the unfamiliar surroundings of Berlin and didn't really know who was who.

The crime and spy elements in this novel are fairly shopworn. The transition in the relationship of Brod to Lena is handled rather sketchily. However, reading this novel as a possible prelude to finishing the three or four book series and the new novel
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Richard Brand
Jul 11, 2016 Richard Brand rated it liked it
If you want your novels to be harsh, nasty, brutal and dark, then The Bridge would be a story to read. It is told in the dark aftermath of World War II when the Russians, Germans, and Americans were all trying to take over Berlin. German leaders were trying to become Russian leaders and hold on to power. The Emil, the young detective, had his own long history of avoiding life in the war zones. His first arrival in the homicide department starts the nastiness of the story, and the constant descri ...more
J
Jan 18, 2016 J rated it liked it
Remember, one man's bookflap summary may be another man's spoiler.

I believe this is Steinhauer's debut novel. I've been reading him out of order.

For a starter novel, it's a great moderate length (unlike some of his subsequent massive novels) and complex without getting into the dire obliqueness of some of those later novels.

Protagonist Emil Brod is a detective fresh out of training, immediately mistaken for a "plant" to spy among the law-enforcement ranks. He's located somewhere in a small Easte
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Billpilgrim
Aug 31, 2014 Billpilgrim rated it it was amazing
This is Steinhauer's first book. It is part of series of five books describing this part of the world after WW2, each set in a subsequent decade. This one is set in 1948.
Noir-ish novel of nefarious doings in a fictional Soviet-controlled country in post-World War II Eastern Europe. Life is hard. Emil Brod, a young, newly appointed Detective joins a murder squad in the capital city, but he is shunned and mistreated by his co-workers (he is suspected of being an informer), and he has to persist be
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Charles
Jun 04, 2015 Charles rated it liked it
This is a book about devotion. The title refers to a bridge in Venice, over which prisoners had to pass on their way to prison and a bleak hopeless future. On a base level, this is a metaphor for Eastern European society under post-war Soviet domination. On a deeper level, it's a metaphor for life in general, the circumstances of which get more and more confining. Whether that confinement is ultimately negative or positive is determined by devotion. Without devotion, life is a prison, meaningles ...more
Darwin8u
Aug 16, 2011 Darwin8u rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
Steinhauer's first novel is a strong combination of police procedural and political thriller (leans 3.5 stars). Characters are well developed, plot is interesting, and setting is original. Sometimes his writing is a little repetitive (OK, I GET your motif...move on) and transparently aimed at the literary genre market, but for the most part very well-crafted.
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Play Book Tag: The Bridge of Sighs by Olen Steinhauer 3 stars 3 9 Feb 05, 2016 08:01AM  
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Olen Steinhauer grew up in Virginia, and has since lived in Georgia, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Texas, California, Massachusetts, and New York. Outside the US, he's lived in Croatia (when it was called Yugoslavia), the Czech Republic and Italy. He also spent a year in Romania on a Fulbright grant, an experience that helped inspire his first five books. He now lives in Hungary with his wife and dau ...more
More about Olen Steinhauer...

Other Books in the Series

The Yalta Boulevard Sequence (5 books)
  • The Confession (The Yalta Boulevard Sequence #2)
  • 36 Yalta Boulevard (The Yalta Boulevard Sequence #3)
  • Liberation Movements (The Yalta Boulevard Sequence #4)
  • Victory Square (The Yalta Boulevard Sequence #5)

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“When he woke his conviction of failure was somehow less inevitable.” 4 likes
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