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Extended Audio Sample The Bridge of Sighs Audiobook, by Olen Steinhauer Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (616 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Olen Steinhauer Narrator: Ned Schmidtke Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2006 ISBN: 9781455179640
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In this auspicious literary crime debut, an inexperienced homicide detective struggles amid the lawlessness of a post–World War II Eastern European city.

It’s August, 1948, three years after the Russians “liberated” this small nation from German occupation. But the Red Army still patrols the capital’s rubble-strewn streets, and the ideals of the Revolution are but memories. Twenty-two-year-old Detective Emil Brod, an eager young man who spent the war working on a fishing boat in Finland, finally gets his chance to serve his country, investigating murder for the People’s Militia.

The victim in Emil’s first case is a state songwriter, but the evidence seems to point toward a political motive. He would like to investigate further, but even in his naïveté he realizes that the police academy never prepared him for this peculiar post-war environment in which his colleagues are suspicious or silent, lawlessness and corruption are the rules of the city, and he’s still expected to investigate a murder. He is truly on his own in this new, dangerous world.

The Bridge of Sighs launches a unique series of crime novels featuring a dynamic cast of characters in an ever-evolving landscape, the politically volatile terrain of Eastern Europe in the second half of the twentieth century.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Steinhauer makes you smell the murky sewers and feel the damp chill of the dark alleys as Emil works to solve the case. This is a finely formed novel that evokes all of the desperation, intrigue, and bloody-mindedness that was postwar Europe, but it also brings to life the spirit of those people, who not only survived those horrible years but went on to build new lives.”

    FennFocus Reps Picks

  • “In this richly drawn detective mystery, the large cast of secondary characters is well realized, and the social and physical setting is powerfully drawn.”

    Kliatt  

  • “Steinhauer deftly presents minor characters, while he richly renders the country’s travails as was is followed by occupation, suspicion, corruption, and betrayal.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Ned Schmidtke’s deep, authoritative voice suits the story. He never gets in front of the action. Instead, he supports this atmospheric tale with well-paced, even reading and a few carefully chosen vocal mannerisms for the main characters. A moody, involving listen.”

    AudioFile

  • “Ned Schmidtke’s narration provides a gripping reading that allows this novel to unfold steadily toward the exciting conclusion.”

    Library Journal (audio review)

  • “Time, place, and cast are all richly evoked in [this] well-written, often gripping debut.”

    Kirkus

  • A 2004 Edgar Allan Poe Award Nominee for Best First Novel
  • A 2004 Anthony Award Finalist for Best Historical Mystery
  • A 2004 Macavity Award Finalist for Best First Mystery Novel
  • A 2004 Barry Award Finalist for Best First Mystery Novel

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Byron | 2/19/2014

    " Pretty good story about post-war (1948) eastern Europe when the Russians haven't completely taken over the government and memories of the Nazis are still fresh in everyone's mind. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tom | 2/8/2014

    " I bit hard to get through. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mary | 2/4/2014

    " This book didn't make much of an impression - barely two weeks after reading it I can't remember the characters' names or many details. The protagonist is a police detective in an unnamed Eastern European country a few years after WWII. His first case is a perplexing murder that leads him to a love interest (the widow) and a corrupt, climbing Politburo member. He nearly dies a few times, things are bleak, people commit casual evil, then the book ends and you, the reader, know that this unnamed country has at least another 40 years to go of the same. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jillian | 2/2/2014

    " Post WWII eastern bloc police noir - pulls you along quite nicely, not a roller coaster, but compelling enough for me to get the rest from the library. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David Diamantes | 1/31/2014

    " Steinhauer captured post World War II Eastern Europe in this gritty novel about a rookie homicide investigator with the People's Militia, in an unnamed country behind the iron curtain. What hooked me, was Steinhauer's ability to add texture like a painter using a palette knife. He introduces a character, and then paints him with words. He shows you--not tells you, in layers until you can see their day old stubble and smell the vodka on their breath. The characters are coarse, flawed, fat, and certainly human. I could smell the left over cabbage soup and see the grime on the windows. The plot wasn't unusually complex-- it didn't need to be. This was my first of Steinhauer's works. I can wait to start the next "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Mike Philbin | 1/6/2014

    " I tried this, as I'd really enjoyed his later works like The Tourist and The Nearest Exit, but Steinhauer's slow first novel about an Eastern-blok post-WW2 detective just couldn't hold my attention. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 RollingT | 1/5/2014

    " I "read" this as an audio book and was not too impressed. I know the reader has a lot to do with how a book goes over but still I found it rather dark and it moved slowly for me. If it is accurate about conditions in the east following WWII it's amazing anyone surviived with any hopeful outlooks. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Joe | 1/1/2014

    " This was not good. In fact this Eastern European crime series is not good. Two books were enough to convince me of that. Whatever changed in this author's life that produced the last two books was significant. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen | 11/12/2013

    " I had a difficult time getting into this book but did finish it. It's a crime novel set in a post-German occupied country, now under Soviet control at the time the book takes place, 1948. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ken French | 10/13/2013

    " Too slow. Also, the main character was kind of a drip. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Evelyn | 7/23/2013

    " Did not really enjoy it, may be the reading "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda Spake | 7/10/2013

    " Very good book for a first novel. Obvious in this book that Steinhauer is a major talent. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carrie | 6/12/2013

    " First in the Steinhauer series. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leora | 5/17/2013

    " A little slow to get into, but this police procedural heats up with excitement and gives a fascinating look at a frustratingly nameless central European city in 1948. Great characters and unusual relationships. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stacey | 5/2/2013

    " Starts out slow, but picks up speed about 1/3rd of the way in. This book is atmospheric in the same vein as Alan Furst's novels. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Don | 1/31/2013

    " Blackmail, betrayal, and brutality in post-World War II Eastern Europe. Great read, especially for a first novel, and by a Virginia-raised author. Looking forward to the next 4 in the series. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julie | 1/11/2013

    " A mystery set in another time and place that gives you little pieces as you go to keep you interested. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 8/26/2012

    " A tense cold-war era detective novel. Dark and intense. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kevin Scott | 7/9/2012

    " Good, but, like The Tourist, very slow to start. The pacing here is a little bit less even, with too much piled up against the end of the novel, and some less-than-plausible twists to keep the protagonist alive, but still fairly interesting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Thomas | 4/11/2012

    " This book kickstarts Steinhauer's 5-part series of crime/spy/literary/whatever novels about a fictional Soviet satellite nation during the Cold War. Wonderful, smart, engaging. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vtpowell | 2/5/2012

    " I am just about to finish...another wonderful Russo book...long, but characters are so well developed...Lucy Lynch is a truly lovable person... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephen | 9/12/2011

    " A fictional Eastern European country murder mystery. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eddie | 9/7/2011

    " Eastern European homicide detective solves first murder in post-war country. Good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 5/27/2011

    " Terrific start to a 5 volume series in the post WWII, eastern European region. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kim | 5/6/2011

    " Really not a fan of this book. I like crime/murder mystery novels, but I think that this had too much of a historical perspective. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Thomas | 1/24/2011

    " This book kickstarts Steinhauer's 5-part series of crime/spy/literary/whatever novels about a fictional Soviet satellite nation during the Cold War. Wonderful, smart, engaging. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Joe | 1/15/2011

    " This was not good. In fact this Eastern European crime series is not good. Two books were enough to convince me of that. Whatever changed in this author's life that produced the last two books was significant.
    "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tom | 8/2/2010

    " I bit hard to get through. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne | 6/29/2010

    " Evokes the paranoia of immediate post-war Europe.
    Well written, except for the acknowledgment page.
    (Annoyingly bad prose) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 6/12/2010

    " Terrific start to a 5 volume series in the post WWII, eastern European region. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda | 4/26/2010

    " Very good book for a first novel. Obvious in this book that Steinhauer is a major talent. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 4/24/2010

    " Really liked the moodiness and sense of place. That bumped a so-so plot up to 4 stars. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eddie | 3/4/2010

    " Eastern European homicide detective solves first murder in post-war country. Good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kevin | 6/11/2009

    " Good, but, like The Tourist, very slow to start. The pacing here is a little bit less even, with too much piled up against the end of the novel, and some less-than-plausible twists to keep the protagonist alive, but still fairly interesting. "

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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

Ned Schmidtke has played leading roles on Broadway, on national tours, and at dozens of regional theaters in the United States and Canada. He currently resides in Los Angeles, where he continues to work in theater, film, and television.