Anne Bonny #BookReview Stasi 77 By @djy_writer David Young 5* #Historical #Thriller #ww2Fiction #KarinMuller #Stasi #Series @ZaffreBooks

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Stasi 77 by David Young ~ Karin Muller #4
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

A secret State. A dark conspiracy. A terrible crime.

Karin Müller of the German Democratic Republic’s People’s Police is called to a factory in the east of the country. A man has been murdered – bound and trapped as a fire burned nearby, slowly suffocating him. But who is he? Why was he targeted? Could his murderer simply be someone with a grudge against the factory’s nationalisation, as Müller’s Stasi colleagues insist? Why too is her deputy Werner Tilsner behaving so strangely?

As more victims surface, it becomes clear that there is a cold-blooded killer out there taking their revenge. Soon Müller begins to realise that in order to solve these terrible crimes, she will need to delve into the region’s dark past. But are the Stasi really working with her on this case? Or against her?

For those who really run this Republic have secrets they would rather remain uncovered. And they will stop at nothing to keep them that way . . .

A gripping and evocative crime thriller, moving between the devastating closing weeks of the Second World War and the Stasi-controlled 1970s, STASI 77 is David Young’s most compelling and powerful novel yet

My Review ~

Stasi 77 Is #4 in the Karin Muller series. Each title offering up a unique historical theme. Stasi 77 is set between 1977 and 1943. The chapters alternate, which makes the reading feel so very intense. I found the 1943 scenes from the ww2 concentration camps particularly harrowing. But then they are historically accurate and superbly researched. The history of the ww2 concentration camps is supposed to be uncomfortable reading. If the author is doing their job correctly and bringing the horror of the camps alive on the page.

1977 – Schonefeld Airport – East Berlin
Major Karin Muller and Deputy Werner Tilsner from the serious crimes department arrive to find a victim dead from smoke inhalation. The victim is a leading local party official and is found in an abandoned old cotton mill (state owned). Who is the man? And why would somebody want to kill him?
As Karin investigates she uncovers the murder is not only deliberate but methodically planned. The victims fingernail marks leaving a sign of the sheer terror they knew before death brought salvation.

1943 – Oct – Scene from the camps
Three brothers Gregoire, Marcellin and (narrator) Philippe are transported from Buchenwald, in dire and bleak conditions…
‘I’m not a religious man. But if I was – and if I’d done some of the things that have been done to me and my compatriots and fellow prisoners – then I might imagine, one day entering hell. Today, I no longer need to imagine for I have arrived’ – Philippe
We come to learn the back story of the three brothers, who they are , why they are at the camps and the brutality of camp life they must endure.

Karin must navigate a secretive world. Where access to information depends on who you are and what position you hold. Karin comes to realise she doesn’t hold the relevant title or access to information on leading political figures and that continuing such leads, may put her own life in danger.

‘I never knew their names. But I will never, ever forget those faces’ – Philippe

When the ending finally approached and my time with Major Karin of the Kriminalpolizei was drawing to an end. I desperately wanted to read on…

‘My life is over, but I have memories to cherish, and they flicker like a well-worn newsreel’ – Philippe

5*

DY
David Young
Website
Twitter
My Review of A Darker State
An Extract of Stasi 77
My Review of Stasi Wolf and Q&A with David Young

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract Stasi 77 by @djy_writer #NewRelease #HistFic #ww2 #Stasi @ZaffreBooks #Historical #Thriller #Stasi77

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Stasi 77 by David Young
Currently Reading ~ Review To Follow Soon

Synopsis ~

A secret State. A dark conspiracy. A terrible crime.

Karin Müller of the German Democratic Republic’s People’s Police is called to a factory in the east of the country. A man has been murdered – bound and trapped as a fire burned nearby, slowly suffocating him. But who is he? Why was he targeted? Could his murderer simply be someone with a grudge against the factory’s nationalisation, as Müller’s Stasi colleagues insist? Why too is her deputy Werner Tilsner behaving so strangely?

As more victims surface, it becomes clear that there is a cold-blooded killer out there taking their revenge. Soon Müller begins to realise that in order to solve these terrible crimes, she will need to delve into the region’s dark past. But are the Stasi really working with her on this case? Or against her?

For those who really run this Republic have secrets they would rather remain uncovered. And they will stop at nothing to keep them that way . . .

A gripping and evocative crime thriller, moving between the devastating closing weeks of the Second World War and the Stasi-controlled 1970s, STASI 77 is David Young’s most compelling and powerful novel yet.

Extract ~

April 1977
Berlin

His heart started pounding, and his throat constricting, even before he reached the crossing point.
Checkpoint C.
C for Charlie.
A place where the glitz and decadence of West Berlin gave way to the colourless grey of the East. The contrast was always striking, no matter how often he crossed the border.
He’d done this journey countless times for work. Always driving – through France, Belgium, West Germany. And then the motorway corridor into West Berlin.
Each business trip was ostensibly about making money, making connections. Doing deals with the Deutsche Demo- kratische Republik, with its voracious appetite for foreign hard currency.
But his real reason for these trips was something quite different.
It was to investigate.
To collect information. To identify people. And now he knew enough. Now he was ready to begin.

As the guard checked his papers, a deep wracking cough started, and he couldn’t stop it. His body convulsed like a beached fish. The guard stared hard at him.
“Aussteigen!”
It was all going to go wrong now, he sensed it. He managed to control the cough – a permanent legacy of a day he wished he could forget, the day that this was all about – but beads of sweat formed on his brow, and his breathing was laboured and panicked. He climbed out of the Citroén, obeying the guard’s gestures and shouts.
The guard circled the vehicle, opened its gently sloping hatched back, and pulled out the businessman’s leather workbag.
‘Open it, please.’
He flipped the catch. There was nothing in the bag that didn’t match the stated purpose of his visit: all was as it should be, except for the one thing he wanted to be found. But the busi- nessman still felt his face begin to colour up, to feel the guilt, even though he was guilty of nothing. The tension felt like it was intensifying in every sinew in his body, each second causing another twist to course through him.
The guard pulled out a plastic bottle of colourless liquid. He unscrewed the top, and immediately pulled his head back as he smelt the fumes, almost as though he’d been given a small electric shock.
“What’s this?’ he asked, grimacing.
The businessman didn’t trust his voice to answer, and instead opened his papers, lightly running his finger over the entry which corresponded to the one litre of fire accelerant – approved for temporary import into the Republic as part of his business. The business of fire prevention. The Republic was developing fire resistant materials as an offshoot of its chemi- cals industry. His job was to test them so that they matched the standards of the West before sealing any import-export deal. In effect, he needed to be a fire-starter, in order to be an effective fire-preventer. It was a career he’d chosen for a reason. Part of that reason was this visit to East Germany via its capital, even though his destination lay hundreds of kilometres back towards the West. It was a circuitous route, designed to deflect attention. He didn’t want some twitchy East German border guard ruin- ing his plan.
‘The guard glanced over to his guardhouse, as though he was about to summon a superior. But then his attention turned back to the leather bag. He rummaged around again, and pulled out the multi pack of Gauloises cigarettes the businessman had deliberately left there – he knew it flouted customs regulations.
Waving the cigarette packets in one hand, and the bottle of liquid in the other, the guard shook his head, a theatrically severe look on his face. It was a young face, an inexperienced face —- even though the businessman knew most of these officers in border guard uniforms were actually agents of the Ministry for State Security.
The Stasi.
“These don’t mix well together; said the guard. “You might have permission for this…’ He waved the bottle around again with one hand. Then the cigarettes with the other, as though he was making secret semaphore signals to his colleagues. “But importing these…’
Tm sorry. I must have forgotten to take them out, said the businessman. He tried to give a calm, unflustered outward appearance. Inside he was churning up. He needed the guard to want to confiscate the cigarettes, and relish the thought of quietly smoking them, or sharing them with his fellow officers.
The guard’s semaphore-like waving paused mid-air. ‘This interaction had reached a critical point. The businessman held his breath – his heart tapping a steady drum beat. The guard placed both objects on top of the Citroén’s roof, then glanced at his watch. He shrugged, picked up the bottle and placed it back in the bag, along with the man’s passport and documents. ‘Then he waved the businessman back into the driver’s side, and picked up the cigarette multi pack.
If he knew the businessman had left them there deliberately – that it was an unofficial ‘trade’ – it didn’t show in his deadpan face. “We will be impounding these; he said. ‘Importing them is illegal. Do not do it again.’
He waved the Citroén past, while shouting through the open driver’s window.
‘Enjoy your stay in our Socialist Republic, Herr Verbier.’

DY
David Young
Website
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***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
Stasi Blog Tour Graphic

#BlogTour #Review A Darker State by @djy_writer 5* @BonnierZaffre @bonnier_publish #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Germany #1970s

Happy publication day David Young!

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A Darker State by David Young
Synopsis:

For the Stasi, it’s not just the truth that gets buried . . .

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 review:

For the Stasi. It’s not just the truth that gets buried . . .

Under the secrecy and fear of a communist state, a murderer lurks. The prologue opens with one armed Polish dog walker Kazimierz Wojcik; stumbling across, the rat covered dead body of a young male, in a dark lake. It is within this terrifying political climate, that the man, even fears calling in the dead body to the police….

‘Keep you head down; keep out of trouble. That’s how Kazimierz had survived all these years, and he wasn’t about to change’

It is an eerie prologue that really sets the tone and pace of this historical novel. The author has done an outstanding job, of bringing 1976 East Berlin alive!
The novel is set within six months of 1976. With alternate chapters alternating the various months. The novel has many factual and historically accurate references. But the central theme is the skilfully woven, crime fiction plot.
One dead boy and another missing.
Things are about to get difficult for tough police major Karin Muller…….

Karin Muller is the newly appointed major of the serious crimes department in Keibelstrasse. Working alongside her deputy Werner Tilsner. Each having received double promotions. But is there more to this career fast tracking than meets the eye?

At the crime scene the pathologist quickly determines the body to have suffered fatal asphyxiation. There is a bizarre tattoo on the body and a sock stuffed down the throat of the victim. The police are left with more questions than leads.

The novel then jumps to six months previously. Where we meet Markus a bullied young student. We become aware that he is the son of a police man. He is helpless in his efforts to defend himself. Until one-day Oskar steps in and fends off the bullies. Having found a new and only friend, Markus believes his life is about to become a lot less lonely!

The body from the lake is finally identified as Dominik Nadel. Where the police officers believe his identification may throw up some clues. It only leads to further mysteries. Dominik appears to have led a sheltered life. He works at the local steel works and has hobbies such as football and a motorbike club. It is only when Karin appeals to the coach’s gentler side. Then he reveals crucial secrets surrounded Dom’s lifestyle and the motor bike club he is a member of…….

Karin’s personal life has changed, this is her first case back after her return from her twin’s birth. She is exhausted and blames herself for her long working hours away from her children. It is during this time, that the cracks begin to show in her relationship with Emil. He is distant and cold towards her. With everything Karin has going on, she does not even feel welcomed in her own home.

The case continues at a slow burning pace, but the alternative chapters keep you on your toes. We learn more about Dom’s activities prior to his death. Whilst also watching Markus fall in love for the first time.

The novel deals with some exceptionally moving themes. The manipulation of individuals, to achieve state goals. Also, the vile abuses a country can carry out on its own citizens. I think the author is very brave to address the concept within the historical era. It cannot have been an easy task.
But he has delivered a thought-provoking and complex 5* novel.

Karin Muller is an awesome protagonist and I look forward to the next novels in the Stasi series.

DY
David Young
Authors Links:
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Blog Tour!!- Review and Q&A- Stasi Wolf by David Young

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Q&A With David Young!

Q) Stasi Wolf opens up in 1975, Berlin wall divided Germany, it is novel 2 in the Stasi series. Karin Müller is the protagonist & is rapidly becoming one of my favourites in the Historical crime genre. But as a writer what made you decide on a female lead? Also her having a feisty no-nonsense approach?

A)There were two main reasons. Firstly, it felt right for the setting and time period. At that time, women were more equal in East German society than they were in the west – with a very high percentage (more than 90% of working age females off the top of my head) in work. So it felt to me realistic – and there were plenty of female detectives in the GDR, although few, if any, murder squad heads. So it helped to make her distinctive. But I was also aware that this type of novel traditionally tends to attract more of a male readership, and I wanted to try to draw female readers to the series.

Q) Karin Müller evolves as a character so much in Stasi Wolf and by the end of the novel (no spoilers) she is completely changed from the character we knew in the opening of Stasi Child. Was that intentional? Did you feel the need to change her over time? Or did the writing take you there? *Ultimately I have loved the evolution of her character, it has been exceptionally daring of you as a writer.
A) To some extent this is unintentional, and is partly plot-led. Müller is sent to take over what appears to be a murder inquiry in another part of the country. She’s essentially ‘big-footing’ the local detectives. So I felt from the get-go she had to impose herself, and be seen to be strong. Because of what happens at the end of Stasi Child, at the beginning of Stasi Wolf she is by necessity without her usual right-hand man, Werner Tilsner. So she’s forced to take control. I think she’s stronger in this novel, and less willing to be manipulated by those around her.

Q) The novel opens with a dark & harrowing prologue, one that is historically accurate & haunting all at the same time. It 100% drew me into the novel. Was there an intention to make the novel more dark & gritty? Or was it where the research for this particular novel took you? If so what research did you uncover that inspired the novel?

A) I was interested in the idea of the legacy of the Second World War on East Germany – and particularly on women in East Germany. Many of them suffered terribly at the hands of victorious Red Army soldiers (just as the Soviet people had suffered, to an even greater degree, at the hands of Nazi Germany). That drew me into reading some of their stories. How the abuse they suffered could never be acknowledged, because the Soviets were now their ‘friends’. That’s what inspired the prologue. The overall story arose from something I heard when researching Stasi Child – about how the Stasi took over an infanticide investigation at a Leipzig hospital to avoid the public becoming alarmed, keeping their probe completely secret (in the last couple of weeks this has surfaced in Germany and features in a new documentary). So all of that was quite dark. And then Halle-Neustadt, where most of the novel is set, was the scene of a grisly murder – the Crossword Puzzle Murder – in the early 80s, so I borrowed a little from that. I’d visited ‘Ha-Neu’ just out of curiosity while researching Stasi Child and I realised that with its nameless streets and rows and rows of near-identical apartments it would make a fantastic setting for a crime novel.

Q) Overall the novel has a huge Thiller/action theme and this broke the mould from Stasi Child which had a more crime/mystery. Is there a future potential for Stasi Wolf to be a movie/TV series? And if so, how soon? And where do I tune in?

A) I’m not sure I completely agree with that – I think in many ways Stasi Child and Stasi Wolf are similar. Each one is a hybrid of police procedural/thriller/action adventure. Hopefully that will draw in readers who are fans of all those genres. But the danger of course is that none will be completely satisfied. Although Stasi Child received generally good reviews, some people criticised the fact that in its latter stages it transforms from police procedural into action adventure thriller. In many ways, Stasi Wolf is the same – although the second narrative in Stasi Wolf is much darker, and unreliable. But I think it was this action thriller element that attracted Euston Films to option the books and they are actively trying to find a broadcaster to turn them into a TV series. That could be sooner, later or never. But yes, I hope you will be able to tune in one day!

More & more book adaptions are being commissioned and it draws more non-readers to the original novels. I sincerely hope Stasi Wolf makes it to the screens, big or little!
*Thank you so much David Young for your time 🙂

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Stasi Wolf by David Young

My Review:

 I was hugely excited to read the author’s first novel Stasi Child as it is such a unique historical setting and I found the novel fascinating. So when Stasi Wolf’s release was announced, I was again keen to see where the series would go & be back reading about Karin Muller, who as a feisty female protagonist is fast becoming one of my all time favourite characters!
The novel opens with a harrowing prologue, Which sets the pace that this series just got a whole lot darker! We are transported to 1975 & this time the case is that of child snatcher lurking in the midst! The writing is atmospheric and I really felt as though I was following the team as they attempt to solve the case. Every clues and twist leads to dead ends and I began to wonder if the case will ever be solved! Within the novel we learn more about Karin, her past & the depth of her character and ultimately how her personality has adapted due to her childhood and upbringing. This adds to the mystery & suspense of the novel and I felt that Karin really develops as a character in Stasi Wolf.
I found the plotline to be consistently gripping and it kept me guessing, right to the very last pages.
The authors note at the end of the novel separates the fact from the fiction within the story & I felt it added to the authenticity of what is, a very well researched novel.
This book is such a mixture of genre’s I can see it appealing to a wide range of readers. There are historical fiction elements but at its core it is a thriller/mystery novel with some added action scenes thrown in!
I really enjoyed this novel and would hugely recommend it myself to others. A huge 5* from me!

The blurb:

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 . . .