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The Confession [Paperback]

Olen Steinhauer
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 10 2005 Eastern Europe Thrillers (Book 2)
Eastern Europe, 1956: Comrade Inspector Ferenc Kolyeszar, who is a proletariat writer in addition to his job as a state militia homicide detective, is a man on the brink. Estranged from his wife, whom he believes is cheating on him with one of his colleagues, and frustrated by writer's block, Ferenc's attention is focused on his job. But his job is growing increasingly political, something that makes him profoundly uncomfortable.

When Ferenc is asked to look into the disappearance of a party member's wife and learns some unsavory facts about their lives, the absurdity of his position as an employee of the state is suddenly exposed. At the same time, he and his fellow militia officers are pressed into service policing a popular demonstration in the capital, one that Ferenc might rather be participating in. These two situations, coupled with an investigation into the murder of a painter that leads them to a man recently released from the camps, brings Ferenc closer to danger than ever before-from himself, from his superiors, from the capital's shadowy criminal element.

The Confession is a fantastic follow-up to Olen Steinhauer's brilliant debut, The Bridge of Sighs, and it guarantees to advance this talented writer on his way to being one of the premiere thriller writers of a generation.

Frequently Bought Together

The Confession + 36 Yalta Boulevard + The Bridge of Sighs: A Novel
Price For All Three: CDN$ 41.52


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Review

"'Makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up' " Guardian "'We can only marvel at the rumbling undertone of dread that Steinhauer builds around what appears to be a routine investigation of a suicide but turns out to be just the tip of a murderous political conspiracy' " New York Times Book Review "'Steinhauer successfully conjures up the grey, dehumanised world of a nascent communist state, which provides a suitably chilling backdrop to his hero's quest to unearth a secret that threatens to ruin the lives of many'" Daily Mail "'Good enough to suggest comparison with Graham Greene: places the author in the forefront of contemporary suspense writers'" Kirkus Review --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Olen Steinhauer’s widely acclaimed Eastern European crime series, which he was inspired to write while on a Fulbright fellowship, is a two-time Edgar Award finalist and has been shortlisted for the Anthony, the Macavity, the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger, and the Barry awards. The series includes 36 Yalta Boulevard, The Bridge of Sighs, Liberation Movements, and Victory Square. Steinhauer is also the author of the bestselling Milo Weaver series, including The Nearest Exit and The Tourist. Raised in Virginia, Steinhauer lives with his family in Budapest, Hungary.


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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Compact Thriller and Engrossing Series July 25 2010
By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I am a Steinhauer fan. His first entry in this five book series, The Bridge of Sighs, hooked me and The Confession reeled me in. The unnamed Eastern European country imagined by the author provides a tremendous background for mystery, intrigue, and complex relationships. The characters are well developed, interesting, and completely believable. The plot of The Confession is highly engrossing with two mysteries interwoven along with the personal lives of the militia investigating them. At one point, the book appeared to be conventional but then broadened and surprised me in an unexpected and appreciated turn. I am very much looking forward to 36 Yalta Boulevard which is next in the series.
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2.0 out of 5 stars The Confession Jan. 14 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I just don't like the style of writing. I prefer less description and more action. I found the plot wanting but who am I?
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  27 reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read More Steinhauer May 2 2008
By Douglas S. Wood - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Confession, Olen Steinhauer's second novel set in an unnamed post-war Eastern European country, is a complex multi-layered work - part police procedural, part erotic romance, part noir mystery, part reflection on totalitarian excesses. That's a lot to fit into 326 pages, but Steinhauer deftly manages to pull it off.

Set in 1956, The Confession centers on Ferenc Kolyeszar, a member of a state police unit (the People's Militia) in the Capital, but also an author with connections to the underground literary community. Neighboring Hungarians are experimenting with freedom and pulling away from Moscow until that revolt is brutally repressed. During sympathetic protests in the Capital, the commissar-like Russian Kaminsky puts the police unit in the uncomfortable and unfamiliar role of repressor. Ferenc is less than fully cooperative.

At the same time, Ferenc's partner pursues a seemingly fruitless investigation of an apparent suicide with links to the art world while another member of the unit digs into the unsolved murder of a colleague who had been investigating a rape and murder that others would as soon left alone. Ferenc's own investigation of the disappearance of the beautiful young wife of a powerful industrialist takes an unexpected turn.

Ferenc's marriage is failing and he suspects his police partner is cuckolding him. He takes to heavy drinking and spending nights away from home. Multiple pressures build on Ferenc until he takes some decidedly rash actions.

Steinhauer pulls the various strands of the story together. His close examination of the brutality inside a forced labor camp for political prisoners is both chilling and brilliant. The closing forty pages were as good an ending as I have read in quite some time - a 'wow'. Highly recommended.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the Investment Jan. 12 2008
By ZenReader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Of the four novels in this series I have read this one takes the greatest commitment. The first 75 pages seem to stumble along with little connection to a central plot --at one point Comrade Inspector Ferenc Kolyeszar discusses the death of plot and I really started to worry --but almost out of nowhere a strong and emotional story with all the crime and politics you could ask for emerges. The end makes the book worth while. If you get it. Stick with it.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book Aug. 6 2007
By James L. Bumbalo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I can't believe no one else has reviewed this book. It's a fantastic thriller. If you like Alan Furst, you'll enjoy this book. The writing is eloquent and atmospheric and the story is enthralling. The first book in this series, "The Bridge of Sighs," is also very good. I can't wait to read the remaining books by Steinhauer, who certainly deserves to be much better known and read.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but simplistic Jan. 7 2012
By JoeV - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Confession is the second book in the author's series of life behind the Iron Curtain. Taking place in a nameless Eastern European country, the series' stars are the men of a state militia police force - all of whom wrestle to some degree with their jobs and their conscience. This book's protagonist is Ferenc Kolyeszar, a homicide detective and part-time writer, and who played a minor role in the previous entry The Bridge of Sighs. These books are part mystery, part police procedural and part a narrative of the oppression and machinations under a communist regime - all somewhat reminiscent of the Arkady Renko series by Martin Cruz Smith. Although these books are extremely well-written - particularly in painting "scenes" - I find the characters and the story-lines/plots missing a spark - being both predictable and somewhat stale.

The book opens in 1956 with cracks developing in the Iron Curtain - specifically the uprising in Hungary and the release of dissidents from the communist work camps/prisons. With all this "change" in the air, life still goes on for our police force and our hero, Ferenc. Back at the station house he is tasked with "solving" both the disappearance of the young wife of a Party member, and the apparent suicide of a has-been member of the underground art world. To add to the mix, an emissary from Moscow shows up to keep an eye on Ferenc and his peers, providing "direction" when necessary with dealing with the inevitable protests, and adding one more level of paranoia to their day to day existence. In the not so distant background Ferenc is wrestling with his all but failed marriage.

Our hero is personally involved in all of the above - at times acting as judge, jury and executioner - all the while looking over his shoulder. There is a lot of the proverbial spaghetti thrown at the wall here - with a multitude of sub-plots, twists and turns - and although some of it sticks to the wall, it also dries quickly. As stated the descriptive writing is excellent; the author brilliantly portraying the dismal existence inside of prison camps, the terror of being called in for "questioning" by the authorities, and even the underground art world party scene. Unfortunately I was disappointed with both the lack of depth of the characters and the predictable story-line - which all conveniently ties together at the conclusion. As wonderful as the attention to detail is - this is still a story we've seen/read many times before. (While reading The Confession and Bridge Of Sighs I couldn't help but make the comparison of witnessing a talented movie director working with a mediocre script.)

Good but not great.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really, really happy I stuck it out Dec 26 2010
By Eric F. Kaufman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As some other reviewers have stated, this one took some getting into. I read The Tourist and The Nearest Exit, and loved them both. When I found out there was another series that started with Bridge of Sighs, I had to read that as well and loved it as well. Switching from Milo to Emil was easy and both characters were so well crafted and enjoyable to read.

The first few pages (dare I say chapters) of The Confession gave me a feeling of "oh no...." because for starters I really liked the main character of Emil in Bridge of Sighs and I really learned to dislike or at best distrust the other inspectors that Emil worked with. I really thought the author was off his rocker and reaching far too much to expect to carry forth a series switching to another character, especially a big beefy guy with rings on his fingers who sits in the corner typing.

Another reviewer said he was glad that he stuck with it, and so am I. I actually stopped reading it two chapters in for a few weeks, and lamented to my wife that I wanted to get into it but I just couldn't. So I buckled down and re-engaged, and let me just tell you that if you're an Olen Steinhauer fan you will not be disappointed. How the author managed to switch characters and keep the series moving so well, I do not know, but he absolutely did.

And without the ground work of the what-seems-boring beginning of the book, you can't really appreciate the more eventful sections. I hate to take away from Bridge of Sighs and I can't believe I'm saying this, but The Confession might just be my favorite Steinhauer book yet.
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