Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Stasi Child-David Young

Stasi Child-David Young

the facts
satisfaction: up/side
pages: 416
gender: M
nationality: UK
year: 2015
novel

Thriller set in the GDR involving Karin M├╝ller, a police detective, members of the Stasi, and children.

I wonder sometimes if I'm simply very cynical for thrillers. Oh no! The higher echelon is corrupt the book cries and I am simply unsurprised. I almost feel like if politicians, police (secret or overt), etc so often corrupt in thrillers ended up being innocent, I'd then be totally surprised. But no, likely I'd just decry it as unrealistic and idealistic.
Anyhow, Young has written a fairly straight forward thriller but one set in the GDR which has its own interesting tensions and power dynamics. The lignite smog of the GDR hangs over the novel though the atmosphere is mostly built through the plot and character of Karin herself. I really liked Karin. I liked her unflinching feminism, her missteps are in the right vein, and her position as smack dab in the middle makes her so realistic. She is in the middle and so she is both with power and powerless-like most of us in our jobs. She acts rationally while being driven. Unfortunately, this is so rare for female characters. I was a bit annoyed by the 'lust' angle but I guess it illustrated the air of mutual mistrust so I'll excuse it. I was a bit thrown by the end. It's very open? The motive is less believable than anything that came before it? Then I figured out that this is part of a series. I will be reading the next installment since Young managed to pull off one of my often-disliked plot devices, the split screen, i.e. two plotlines that appear to be unrelated (but an astute reader knows they are) that join. Except Young maintains the split screen without changing narrative voices even as plotlines join and diverge. Challenging and successful.

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