Published on 1st October 2015 by Bonnier Publishing/Twenty7 Books
East Berlin, 1975
When Oberleutnant Karin Müller is called to investigate a teenage girl’s body at the foot of the Wall, she imagines she’s seen it all before. But when she arrives she realises this is a death like no other: it seems the girl was trying to escape – but from the West.
Müller is a member of the People’s Police, but in East Germany her power only stretches so far. The Stasi want her to discover the identity of the girl, but assure her the case is otherwise closed – and strongly discourage her asking questions.
The evidence doesn’t add up, and Müller soon realises the crime scene has been staged. But this is not a regime that tolerates a curious mind, and Müller doesn’t realise that the trail she’s following will lead her dangerously close to home . . .
Stasi Child is David Young’s brilliant and page-turning debut novel.
I will never forget 1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall, that divided East and West Germany. Everybody was glued to the television, as scenes played out of the infamous dividing wall coming down. Prior to 1989, East Germany was under Communist rule and East Germans could not enter the West. It was a society cut off from the rest of Western Europe. David Young, in his remarkable debut novel, brings to life the culture and atmosphere of East Germany in the years before the fall of the wall.
Karin Muller works for the police in East Germany in 1975. The secret police or the Stasi hold all of the power and control in the land. Muller is asked to identify the victim, by a Stasi officer. A teenager has been found at the Eastern side of the Berlin Wall, brutally killed. The East Germans call the Berlin Wall ‘The Anti Fascist Protection Barrier’. There seems to be an indication from the forensic markings, that the victim was trying to get from West Berlin to East Berlin.
I was in awe, whilst reading this novel. David Young manages to capture beautifully the sense of place. I could completely believe in the Communist East Germany being portrayed. There is an atmosphere of oppression, bureaucracy and a sense of being watched. East Germany is a place, where secrets do not stay hidden for long. The Stasi play a major part in this. They recruited millions of men, women and children to spy on their fellow comrades and report back. Despite this, David Young also shows that there are many people like Karin Muller who have a sense of purpose in this regime and are comfortable with it. Karin Muller works within the system to discover the truth about the murder victim.
This is terrific crime read; with its insight into a bygone era and a fascinating political slant. Those of you who have read and loved Child 44, will appreciate this one. Thank you, David Young!
My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for my review copy.