Stasi Wolf by David Young

Stasi Wolf by David YoungStasi Wolf (Karin Müller, #2) by David Young
Published by Zaffre on February 9th 2017
Pages: 416

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 . . .

Stasi Wolf is a detective story set in the grim dark landscape of East Germany during the Cold War, using this rather oppressive backdrop to tell a rather convoluted and ultimately very personal story for the main character, a female detective named Karin Muller. This is the second book in the series and, although I have not read the first, I found it relatively easy to pick up and understand the personalities, and relationships in the book.

I suppose on one level this is a well-crafted whodunnit, that takes the reader on a long journey filled with red herrings, and twists and turns, but I found the author’s use of flashbacks to be rather distracting at times, and I often found myself lost reading it. The detectives must solve a mystery stretching back over several decades, revolving around the disappearance of babies, without apparent motive.

I think to say much more would be going into spoiler territory, which I would prefer to avoid, given the nature of the genre. Most of the obstacles that need to be overcome seem to be of a systemic nature, with the relationship between the varying branches of police, as well as government interference preventing forward progress. This book took me longer to read than any other in recent times, despite it being a book of fairly average length, and if I wasn’t reading it for review I probably would have put it down out of frustration, because the characters just didn’t seem to get anywhere.

I was interested in this book from the point of view of its setting, the still somewhat mysterious East Germany, and I think the author’s description of life under that system is gritty and grim, with a delicious palette of dull grey concrete and authoritarian rule. But the interesting setting would not be enough to draw me back to this series, as I prefer a faster pace to my novels.

I received a review copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating Report
Overall: three-stars

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