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The Confession Paperback – Mar 10 2005

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; Reprint edition (April 1 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312338155
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312338152
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.5 x 20.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #207,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“Postwar Eastern Europe chillingly evoked by a storyteller... who understands the relentless conjunction between character and suspense.... Good enough to suggest comparison with Graham Greene; place the author in the forefront of contemporary suspense writers...” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“This is a gripping and fully realized portrayal of a man whose strengths, flaws, struggle, and ultimate fall are emblematic of the fate of Eastern Europe itself. While skillfully developed, the intricacies of plot, particularly the story behind the diverse crimes, fade to relative insignificance in light of Ferenc's heartrending 'confession'. Densely atmospheric and strongly recommended...” ―Library Journal (starred review)

“Beyond delivering an involving police procedural in an intriguing setting, the author relates with spare irony his narrator's psychological journey.... [The Confession] is enthusiastically recommended for fans of well-made hard-boiled and noir fiction.” ―Booklist (starred review)

“Bigger in scope... than The Bridge of Sighs [...Steinhauer's original and mesmerizing first mystery]... the novel makes readers wonder just what Steinhauer will do for the next book in his series...” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Kindle Edition
dark, brooding, excellent character development affords an empathetic view of the dark days behind the Iron Curtain in and around the 1956 Hungary uprisings. Should be read after The Bridge of Sighs, but quite OK as a stand-alone novel.Excellent quartet.
-Jack Andison-
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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
great read, kept my interest.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 40 reviews
23 of 25 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.
8 of 8 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.
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.
7 of 8 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 - 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.
26 of 28 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.