Minotaur, 2007 (2007)
Reviewed by Tim Davis
uthor of an acclaimed Eastern European crimes series - including
The Bridge of Sighs
36 Yalta Boulevard
- Olen Steinhauer now brings readers the latest and perhaps best installment in the sequence:
opens, the sixty-four year old protagonist, homicide detective Emil Brod, is poised to retire, but first he must - because of enigmatic orders from superiors - look into the recent death of a senior ministry officer, Yuri Kolev. All superficial indicators point to a heart attack as the cause of death; however, since Brod is following such odd orders in this case, the veteran detective remains wary and thinks further inquiry might be appropriate. After some forensic tests, Brod's hunch about Kolev's death is confirmed: a drug overdose (poison?) was the cause, and - if other clues are correct - it seems not to have been accidental.
n the meantime, in an apparently unrelated sequence of events, Kolev - shortly before his death - had sent Gavra Noukas to a small American town on a singular mission: find Lebed Putonski (a.k.a. Lubov Shevchenko), a defector who had apparently been relocated and given a new identity by the CIA, and then - when Noukas finds him - Noukas is supposed to protect him from unspecified dangers. Things go smoothly, at least at first, and the defector is easy to locate, but Noukas is surprised when the defector is abruptly murdered.
he two seemingly unrelated murders combine to catapult Brod into his most sensitive and explosive case yet. In an environment of pervasive duplicity (throughout society and within the government) and explosive political turmoil (with the country deteriorating into anarchy and revolution), Brod must move carefully and swiftly because the two murders may be only the tip of the iceberg; in fact, everything seems to be connected to a forty-year-old case when an old Gestapo agent had been sentenced to hard labor, and now - if Brod's instincts are correct - someone is determined to eliminate a select list of individuals: Kolev and the defector may have been just the beginning; Brod and others may be next.
ntricately plotted, populated with intriguing characters, and effectively exploring provocative and contemporary themes,
is further evidence (along with the other titles in the series) that Olen Steinhauer is a powerfully effective master of dazzling espionage - crime thrillers in the tradition of Graham Greene, John LeCarré, Alan Furst, and Martin Cruz Smith. Steinhauer's
, a wonderfully clever, well-crafted tale, is highly recommended. Enjoy!
Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.
Find more Mystery books on our
or in our book