The body of a teenage boy is found weighted down in a lake. Karin Müller, newly appointed Major of the People’s Police, is called to investigate. But her power will only stretch so far, when every move she makes is under the watchful eye of the Stasi.
Then, when the son of Müller’s team member goes missing, it quickly becomes clear that there is a terrifying conspiracy at the heart of this case, one that could fast lead Müller and her young family into real danger.
Can she navigate this complex political web and find the missing boy, before it’s too late?
My thanks to Emily at Zaffre for my review copy and the chance to join the blogtour.
A new Karin Müller novel is met with great excitement here at Grab This Book. The series which started with Stasi Child (and continued into Stasi Wolf and now A Darker State) are quite unlike anything else I read and each new book is a very welcome addition to my library!
David Young sets his fabulous police thrillers in 1970’s East Berlin. His lead character Karin Müller works for the police and in A Darker State is newly promoted to the position of Major. Müller faces challenges at every step of her investigations, she not only has to catch the bad guys but as a woman in a male dominated environment she is facing the usual prejudices. She has to prove she is worthy of her promoted post as promotion brings extra rewards from the State. But most significantly she understands that all her actions are monitored and that the State will be playing their own game and Müller has no idea what their ultimate goal will be.
While all the books thus far have shown the political influence that the Stasi (Secret Police) wield over the entire country it really comes into play during A Darker State. Karin is going to investigate areas which have been very clearly closed off to her – the consequences may be far more severe than she may imagine.
Müller is required to investigate the murder of a teenage boy, his body is found weighted down in a lake. Her investigations will bring her into contact with the male dominated circles of football (soccer) and motorcycle gangs. The soccer element of the story gave a fascinating insight into the social side of life in 70’s Berlin. A scandal in a club which was hushed up and almost overlooked due to the state interference in team selection and squad building. The additional detail which David Young brings to his story, these insights into East German society, give the books the depth and character which draw the reader deeper into the story and make them feel part of events.
The murder investigation takes a nasty turn for one of Karin’s colleagues when his family become too closely embroiled in the events surrounding her investigation. Readers are periodically taken back a few months from when Karin is conducting her investigations and we get to see how a sequence of events slowly build and combine to culminate in the shocking discovery which led to a young man’s brutal death.
All three novels can be read and enjoyed as stand-alone thrillers. But the books chart Karin’s life and her career and returning readers will be rewarded with the latest twists in her story. Despite our perceptions of how life may have been in East Berlin 40 years ago, Karin seems to accept most of what the state expect of her as a citizen. A Darker State seems to push her acceptance at times and I cannot wait to see if her compliance will perhaps start to waiver – particularly in light of some information she receives in the latest book! (no spoilers)
The increased political interventions, the personal dramas which Müller has to face and the wonderful continued insights into Berlin culture all combine to make A Darker State my favourite of the series thus far. David Young goes from strength to strength. You should be reading these books.
A Darker State is published by Zaffre and is available in paperback and digital format. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Darker-State-gripping-thriller-Oberleutnant-ebook/dp/B0718X1S12/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8