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Download The Bridge of Sighs Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Bridge of Sighs, 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 Schmidtk Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.”


  • “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.”


  • “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.”


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

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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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.