Posts Tagged ‘Stasi Winter’

  • Title: Stasi Winter
  • Author: David Young
  • Publisher: Zaffre
  • Publication Date: 9th January 2020

Copy received via publisher and Tracy Fenton for review purposes.


In East Germany, solving a murder can get you killed …

A gripping and intelligent thriller set in East Germany, during the worst winter in one-hundred years. Perfect for fans of Tom Rob Smith, Phillip Kerr and Joseph Kanon.

In 1978 East Germany, nothing is as it seems. The state’s power is absolute, history is re-written and the ‘truth’ is whatever the Stasi say it is.

So when a woman’s murder is officially labelled ‘accidental death’, Major Karin Müller of the People’s Police is faced with a dilemma. To solve the crime, she must disregard the official version of events. But defying the Stasi means putting her own life – and the lives of her young family – in danger.

As the worst winter in living memory holds Germany in its freeze, Müller must untangle a web of state secrets and make a choice: between truth and lies, justice and injustice, and, ultimately, life and death.

Stunningly authentic and brimming with moral ambiguity, Stasi Winter is the thrilling new novel from the award-winning author of Stasi Child.

My Thoughts:

I have been a huge fan of David Young’s Karin Müller series for some time now, and I was ecstatic when I heard about the latest book, Stasi Winter. I’ve loved getting to know this character and following the turbulent path that her life has taken to this point, seeing the obstacles that are thrown at her and how she tackles them make for thrilling reading.

Müller’s battles with the Stasi have been a regular occurrence throughout the series and the one thing that you always take away from the books is the feeling of the underdog winning small battles here and there in the face of adversity. She may not win the war against them, but she certainly scores a few points where she can, showing the enemy that she’s not going to be bullied by their strong-arm tactics and red tape.

The case that Müller takes on is puzzling, and the more she looks at the evidence the less she believes the officially sanctioned version of events. Why are the powers that be so keen for the investigation to follow a certain route? What evidence are they covering up, or not disclosing to Müller and her team?
Running alongside this is a strand of plot centring around a young woman who has already tangled with the Stasi and is keen to avoid them at all costs. But life in East Germany is never easy, especially when your name is already on a list belonging to the Stasi. As she struggles to get a handle on the situation she’s in, Irma faces up to demons from her past and realises that escaping the regime may be harder than she’d ever imagined.

Atmospheric writing evokes a strong sense of the setting, the biting cold of wintry weather almost makes you shiver involuntarily as you read on. The creeping unease that leeches from the pages is strong and grips you, you can’t help but be drawn in to the story and try to piece together the clues that Müller and her team uncover. The case is intense, and as things unravel slowly, I found I was gripped. I needed to keep reading, I had to know what happened to the woman that was found dead, I had to know what would happen to Karin Müller and her family.
One of the things I’ve loved most about this series so far is the the way that David Young manages to give his readers a great feel for life in East Germany under the repressive and feared administration of the Stasi. His writing transports readers to the setting, even if it is to the harsh conditions of Hohenschönhausen. This quality makes each of his books an immersive reading experience and has me eagerly awaiting the next book!

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