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36 Yalta Boulevard: A Novel Audiobook, by Olen Steinhauer Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Olen Steinhauer Narrator: Yuri Rasovsky Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2008 ISBN: 9781481599962
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (271 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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Olen Steinhauer’s first two novels, The Bridge of Sighs and The Confession, launched an acclaimed literary crime series set in post–World War II Eastern Europe. Now he takes his dynamic cast of characters into the shadowy political climate of the 1960s. State Security Officer Brano Sev’s job is to do what his superiors ask, no matter what—even if that means leaving his post to work the assembly line in a factory, fitting electrical wires into gauges. So when he gets a directive from his old bosses—the intimidating men above him at the Ministry of State Security, collectively known for the address of their headquarters on Yalta Boulevard, a windowless building consisting of blind offices and dark cells—he follows orders.

This time he is to resume his job in State Security and travel to the village of his birth in order to interrogate a potential defector. But when a villager turns up dead shortly after he arrives, Brano is framed for the murder. Trusting his superiors once again, he assumes this is part of their plan and allows it to run its course, a decision that leads him into exile in Vienna, where he finally begins to ask questions.

The answers in 36 Yalta Boulevard, Olen Steinhauer’s tour de force political thriller, teach Comrade Brano Sev that loyalty to the cause might be the biggest crime of all.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[Steinhauer’s] people are real, the crimes genuine, and he is telling larger truths about that era, making it unusually accessible.”

    David Halberstam, LA Times

  • “Steinhauer is a master at entangling a compelling protagonist in a spellbinding web where each broken thread entraps the character (and the reader) in yet another mystery. This is an imaginative, brilliantly plotted espionage thriller, with finely detailed settings and a protagonist of marvelous complexity. Highly recommended.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Brano Sev is Steinhauer's most intriguing hero yet, and that's saying something...With its shifting perceptions, pervasive paranoia, and truly unpredictable plot, this will be savored by readers of well-crafted espionage ranging from Alan Furst to John le Carre.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Good enough to suggest comparison to Graham Greene [and] place the author in the forefront of contemporary suspense writers.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin | 2/11/2014

    " The third book in this series is a great espionage thriller with more twists and turns than you'll know what to do with. A great exploration of life in a world where you can trust no one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eddie | 12/9/2013

    " The book followed Brano Sev, a marginal character from the author's novel, The Bridge of Sighs. The action takes place in Vienna in the 60s after Hungary. The story is very good but, unless you had no politics, it was difficult to root for anybody. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tim | 11/28/2013

    " Reviewed for PW in 2005. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Devallon | 11/24/2013

    " Really pretty pedestrian. Ordinary police mystery with a veneer of ambience by being set in 1967 Vienna among Eastern European refugees and spies. A disappointment. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James | 11/2/2013

    " steinhauer gets better with each book. This one had several unexpcted twists & turns near the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Davy | 9/26/2013

    " Good read and a bit like le carte at his best "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Pat | 9/12/2013

    " Awful. So slow I could scream. Around p. 150 I think I actually screamed and just gave up reading it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mardie | 12/13/2012

    " So far I like this one the best of the Steinhauer books I have read. The plot is very convoluted but almost predictable. I like the time period of this work. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan | 10/25/2012

    " I'm never quite sure I am "getting it all" in these spy novels. Too many names, organizations, acronyms. I like the time and atmosphere. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 William | 8/13/2012

    " Another Eastern European espionage effort by Steinhauer. The protagonist also has a small but critical role in The Bridge of Sighs. As in LeCarre spy novels, you never know whom you can trust until the end. It's a good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Duffy | 7/29/2012

    " I seem to enjoy every other book of his, so I'm fully expecting the next to be a let down for me. Maybe going in with lowered expectations will help. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter | 6/30/2012

    " Clever, well-structured, what more can you ask? Oh, I know, set in a city I have visited five times, but with some well-described rural venues. That will do nicely. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cindy | 6/29/2012

    " Fascinating trip behind the Iron Curtain. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John | 3/10/2012

    " A good read. Got a little lost, occasionally, but worthwhile nonetheless.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 1/25/2012

    " Another personality from the Bridge of Sighs is highlighted, with a surprising love story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lewis | 9/7/2011

    " Dark and powerful, like the others by Steinhauer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Daisy | 7/11/2011

    " Lots of characters and a hard-to-follow plot but that didn't deter me. 1967 Vienna. A likable hero. An ending that leaves you wanting a little more. Nice. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jim | 4/19/2011

    " Not as much of a police procedural as I expected, set in 1966-1966 the book deals with belief, idealism, betrayal, disillusionment and choices. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anders | 4/11/2011

    " It was alright, I guess I shouldn't have expected it to be action backed, you know, set in the Cold War era. Not too bad. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Duffy | 3/15/2011

    " I seem to enjoy every other book of his, so I'm fully expecting the next to be a let down for me. Maybe going in with lowered expectations will help. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jim | 9/16/2010

    " Not as much of a police procedural as I expected, set in 1966-1966 the book deals with belief, idealism, betrayal, disillusionment and choices. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James | 9/15/2010

    " steinhauer gets better with each book. This one had several unexpcted twists & turns near the end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steve | 6/12/2010

    " Another personality from the Bridge of Sighs is highlighted, with a surprising love story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eddie | 3/12/2010

    " The book followed Brano Sev, a marginal character from the author's novel, The Bridge of Sighs. The action takes place in Vienna in the 60s after Hungary. The story is very good but, unless you had no politics, it was difficult to root for anybody. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anders | 7/20/2009

    " It was alright, I guess I shouldn't have expected it to be action backed, you know, set in the Cold War era. Not too bad. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lew | 7/1/2009

    " Dark and powerful, like the others by Steinhauer. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Devallon | 6/23/2009

    " Really pretty pedestrian. Ordinary police mystery with a veneer of ambience by being set in 1967 Vienna among Eastern European refugees and spies. A disappointment. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin | 8/11/2007

    " The third book in this series is a great espionage thriller with more twists and turns than you'll know what to do with. A great exploration of life in a world where you can trust no one. "

About the Author

Olen Steinhauer is a New York Times bestselling author of ten novels, whose work has won the Dashiell Hammett Award, been a two-time Edgar Award finalist, and was shortlisted for the Anthony, the Macavity, the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger, the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, and the Barry awards.

About the Narrator

Alexandre Dumas fils (1824–1895), was the illegitimate son of Alexandre Dumas, père, who followed in his father’s footsteps becoming a celebrated author and playwright. In 1831 his father legally recognized him and ensured the young Dumas received the best education possible at the Institution Goubaux and the Collège Bourbon. At that time, the law allowed the elder Dumas to take the child away from his mother. Her agony inspired Dumas fils to write about tragic female characters. In almost all of his writings, he emphasized the moral purpose of literature and in his 1858 play, Le fils Naturel (The Illegitimate Son), he espoused the belief that if a man fathers an illegitimate child, then he has an obligation to legitimize the child and marry the woman. In 1844 Dumas, fils, moved to Saint-Germain-en-Laye. There, he met Marie Duplessis, a young courtesan who would be the inspiration for his romantic novel, Camille (La Dame aux Camillas).