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 . . .
My thanks to Emily at Zaffre for my review copy which I received through Netgalley
Karin Müller returns and I couldn’t be happier. Last year I had the opportunity to read David Young’s debut novel Stasi Child and I loved it. The story was set in 1970’s East Berlin and was a refreshingly different spin on a police procedural story.
Now Müller returns in Stasi Wolf and we find that the events in Stasi Child have resulted in her being sidelined by her department. She is frustrated by the lack of opportunities she is given to rebuild her career and finds herself interviewing petty criminals (necessary work for the State but a task well beneath her skill level). NB I should highlight that Stasi Wolf can be read as a stand-alone novel and it is not necessary to have read Stasi Child first…though I would absolutely recommend that you read both.
The disappearance of twin babies in the new town of Halle-Neustadt gives Karin a chance to head up a new investigation team and start to rebuild her career – not that she will have much option in turning down the request she investigates, that’s not how it works in East Berlin! Karin heads to Halle-Neustadt but she will find the experience rather challenging; the geography of the new town is somewhat unique (with just a single street in the whole town having a street name). There is also a tricky problem to overcome, keeping the good name of the town intact means she cannot publicise the fact that she is investigating a double kidnapping – so how can she be expected to make any enquiries?
There are a number of flashback moments in the story which take us back some 10 years prior to Müller’s investigation. While it is not immediately clear why this jump is being made (obviously it will become clear) the ‘quirky’ characters that we follow made me want to keep reading to discover their relevance.
Once again David Young has crafted an engaging story which I found utterly compelling and wholly absorbing. I know nothing of 1970’s Germany but the world was expertly woven around me as I read Stasi Wolf. The constant awareness that Karin’s every move could be under scrutiny by the State gives a detective thriller the additional feel of reading a spy novel.
Müller is a great lead character and we get to see her really developed in this novel. Her private life is explored to give her life beyond her job and we get to learn something of her childhood and see some events which may have shaped her into the woman she has become.
David Young can tell a cracking story, Stasi Wolf should be on your reading list.
Stasi Wolf is published by Zaffre and is available now. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stasi-Wolf-Oberleutnant-Karin-M%C3%BCller/dp/1785760688/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1487894341&sr=1-1&keywords=stasi+wolf
David has provided some fascinating insights into some of the background and actual events which made their way into Stasi Wolf. If you follow back through the tour dates you will be richly rewarded