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

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  2,037 Ratings  ·  175 Reviews
It's 1948, three years after the Russians 'liberated' the nation from German Occupation. The ideals of the Revolution are but memories. Twenty-two-year-old Detective Emil Brod finally gets his chance to serve his country, investigating murder for the People's Militia. The first victim is a state songwriter, but the facts point to a political motive. Emil wants to investiga ...more
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published (first published February 1st 2003)
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Carl R.
May 08, 2012 Carl R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Toni Osborne
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
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
May 27, 2010 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
June Ahern
Feb 20, 2010 June Ahern rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Robert French
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.
Sep 04, 2012 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Don Edgar
Sep 29, 2012 Don Edgar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
David Diamantes
Sep 23, 2011 David Diamantes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jim Puskas
Apr 12, 2016 Jim Puskas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 07, 2011 Carl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 29, 2009 Ty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 22, 2011 Carmen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 27, 2009 Candace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 07, 2014 Steven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 01, 2007 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 24, 2011 Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mal Warwick
Mar 26, 2012 Mal Warwick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kristine Brancolini
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
Apr 09, 2012 Kurt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kathleen Hagen
Bridge of Sighs, by Olen Steinhauer, b-plus, Narrated by Ned Schmittke, Produced by Blackstone Audio, Downloaded from***

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
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
There was a touch of Arkady Renko in this book based in post-WWII Eastern Europe. Emil Brod has arrived in the homicide division. His country is under Russian control. He soon finds he is unable to trust anyone as he deals with the power of a totalitarian regime to deal with espionage, murder and double-crossing. The only thing I could not get across was how Emil, a 22 year old, on his first murder case could deal with so many issues in such a wise manner. Nonetheless, a quite clever book,
Carl Van Valkenburg
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
Adam Kemezis
Quasi police procedural set in immediate post-WWII eastern Europe (an unnamed fictional country). Very good on atmosphere, everything devastated, Stalinism just settling in, and the characters are reasonably interesting. Not so much so on plot, though it was perfectly decent. A fair amount of plot stereotypes, the one honest cop in the corrupt system, etc.
Aug 14, 2011 Darwin8u rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 23, 2009 spencer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It would be a slight exaggeration to say that Steinhauer is the next le Carré or Graham Greene. At the very least, he is certainly the next Alan Furst. If you have skipped over this novel to read The Tourist, do yourself a favor and read this when you are done.
May 22, 2014 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 07, 2011 Evan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid bit of hard-boiled crime thriller with a bit of romance thrown in. It's very bleak, but in the Soviet-themed way that I find really pleasing. I'd definitely consider reading more from the series next time I need a less cerebral.
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Play Book Tag: The Bridge of Sighs by Olen Steinhauer 3 stars 3 10 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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