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The Bridge of Sighs (Ruthenia Quintet #1)

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  1,271 ratings  ·  128 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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SlowRain
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
...more
June Ahern
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
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
Carl Brush
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
...more
Don Edgar
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
...more
David
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
...more
David Diamantes
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
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
...more
Ty
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
...more
Carmen
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.
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
...more
Kevin
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
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.
Kurt
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
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
...more
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
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 Barnett
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.
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
...more
Candace
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
Billpilgrim
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
...more
Darwin8u
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.
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.
spencer
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.
Chris Reid
The first book published by Steinhauer. A good read with an interesting premise - let’s have a protagonist who is a member of a homicide division within the ‘people’s militia’ of a small country under the fresh grip of the Soviet Union during the immediate post-war period. On the back jacket it is compared to Alan Furst’s work. And such comparison is apt, ’tho The Bridge of Sighs suffers when held up to Furst’s first books. The atmosphere is not so complete, nor are the characters complete; ther ...more
Evan
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.
Byron
Pretty good story about post-war (1948) eastern Europe when the Russians haven't completely taken over the government and memories of the Nazis are still fresh in everyone's mind.
Daisy
When he woke his conviction of failure was somehow less inevitable.

___________________

"Russian?" I asked dumbly. I do that sometimes.
Sarahray87
Really strong plot, historical details, and main character. I especially liked the glimpse at bureaucracy under immediate post-WWII Soviet rule. Moves quickly, but still has depth in the writing and atmosphere. My one complaint is that the setting is an amalgamation of a few ex-Soviet countries, with the author not choosing to identify a particular country or city. The rest of the series looks equally promising -- and I love the concept that each book takes place 10 years apart in the same place ...more
Anne Slater
Evokes the paranoia of immediate post-war Europe.
Well written, except for the acknowledgment page.
(Annoyingly bad prose)
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327983
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...
The Tourist (The Tourist, #1) The Nearest Exit (The Tourist, #2) An American Spy (The Tourist, #3) The Cairo Affair The Confession

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