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** My thanks to Emily at Bonnier Zaffre Books for my copy of this book **

 

Description:

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 Thoughts & Review:

It’s fair to say that I’ve been a fan of cold war thrillers and espionage reads for a long time, cutting my teeth on the likes of Len Deighton and John Le Carré, so when I first heard about this series back in 2015/2016 I jumped straight into reading it and quickly felt like I was in the company of a truly great writer.  Fast forward to 2018 and I am once again catching up with one of my favourite People’s Police comrades, Karin Müller in the third installment of the series.

For fans of the series, this book picks up some months along from the ending of Stasi Wolf, and although time has moved on Karin has adjusted to what life threw at her, it almost feels like we never parted.  Events feel fresh and interesting and the seedy clandestine world of conspiracy seems to leech into her everyday life regardless.
Now promoted to the lofty rank of Major in the People’s Police, Müller is tasked with heading up a new Serious Crimes Department to liaise at the highest levels with other agencies in the Republic, but at what cost?

One of the things I love about Young’s writing is that it feels so authentic, yes there is authorial license applied and this is a work of fiction but the essence of the plot feels real.  Having read many books set in the cold war, you become attuned to certain scenes, a certain level of tension and almost ready to be shocked when someone is identified as an agent (or double agent), but each book of this series gives the reader a feeling of being right there in the moment with Müller and deputy Tilsner.
The vivid descriptions of the settings and locations used in this book are superb, I could almost feel the chill of the air as Müller tried pull her raincoat lapels up to keep the sleet away from her face, I could almost smell the forest that Müller visited, and could see such clear images in my mind whilst I read of the scenes throughout.

The characters in the series continue to intrigue me, whilst we learn more about Müller with each book, we also learn a little more about her deputy.  Werner Tilsner has been a character that has drawn my attention for a while now, something about him keeps me on my toes and indeed it seems to give Müller a moment of pause too, is he a Stasi agent?  Where did he get his fancy watch?  Just what connections does he have?  I’ve not managed to work it out yet but that won’t stop my mind going into overdrive trying to puzzle it out!
Either way, they make a great team and work really well together.  There is a sense of loyalty there between them that Müller really needs when she’s dealing with the murky waters of the Stasi.

The glossary at the back of the book adds useful translations of the authentic German words used (I had great fun testing my knowledge of German with these and pleased to admit that I can still remember German curse words, all that time at school wasn’t wasted after all), and the author’s note adds an extra layer to the plot, explaining where artistic licence may have been employed or explaining details from the plot.

Absolutely masterful plotting, packed with tension and so wonderfully gripping, this is a magnificent book and I cannot wait to see what David Young has planned for book 4!

Highly recommended!!

You can buy a copy of A Darker State via:

Amazon UK
Wordery
Book Depository

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