Book Review: Stasi Wolf by David Young

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Stasi Wolf Book Cover Stasi Wolf
Karin Muller
David Young
thriller, police procedurals
Bonnier Zaffre
February 9th 2017

How do you solve a murder when you can't ask any questions? The gripping new thriller from the bestselling author of Stasi Child.

East Germany, 1975. Karin Müller, sidelined from the murder squad in Berlin, jumps at the chance to be sent south to Halle-Neustadt, where a pair of infant twins have gone missing.

But Müller soon finds her problems have followed her. Halle-Neustadt is a new town - the pride of the communist state - and she and her team are forbidden by the Stasi from publicising the disappearances, lest they tarnish the town's flawless image.

Meanwhile, in the eerily nameless streets and tower blocks, a child snatcher lurks, and the clock is ticking to rescue the twins alive . . .

David Young was a recent guest on my blog and we all enjoyed his story about his fake East German police car. I really liked his writing and his out-of-ordinary storytelling and decided to try his books. Stasi Wolf is second in the series. I haven’t read the first one, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying book number two. When you put David Young and out-of-ordinary plots together, you get a murder set up in 1975 in East Germany and a female detective to solve it. Perfect!

The story starts with the cruellest brutality that can happen to anyone, a rape. The World War II is over, Germany has been divided, The Soviet Union gets the East. Russian soldiers are the winners and they deserve a prize. German women are the prize. As much as we like to think of the partisans as good people (my both grandfathers were partisans, my mother’s father died in battle), we all know that in every nation there are good and bad people. There were saviours among the fascists, and there were rapists and robbers among the partisans.

Thirty years later, Karin Muller is in charge for the case of two missing baby twins. The communist government tries to hide the case, there is nothing in the newspapers, no one talks about it. Life is perfect. Just a small group of investigators work on the case.

In the same time, Karin is haunted by her own past. Raped as a student, she decides to abort her unwanted twins, a decision that puts her on the government’s blacklist. She has no support from her family, she has always felt like the unwanted child. But two memories haunt her most, a lady that visited her home long time ago and a childhood friend whose family was taken away by the government.

The case of the missing twins soon becomes a case of a murdered baby. The body of the missing baby boy has been found severely beaten. Is there a person so cruel to beat a newborn baby to death?

And where is the baby girl?

As a fan of detective stories and police procedurals, I really love this plot instalment. Set up in 1975 in East Germany, with Stasi included, this story has a great potential. The risk was worth it. The author did a good research for the time and the place (maybe lived there and then) and perfectly described the communist society. Castro’s visit to East Berlin was on June 13-th, 1972, which means three years earlier, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the book. Overall, it is a great story and it is nice to see something different and fresh (even set-up in 1975) in the section of crime fiction. Loved Karin as a leading character and will definitely be in search of the previous one and next books in the series.

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