By David Young
Published by Twenty7 (Kindle - 1 October 2015, Paperback - 11 February 2016)
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 from asking questions.
The evidence doesn't add up, and it soon becomes clear 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 an excellent thriller set in 1970s Berlin before the Wall came down.
The story focuses on the discovery of a teenage girl's body at the foot of the Wall. What's unusual is that the girl appears to have been escaping from the West to the East. Oberleutnant Karen Muller and her team are tasked with trying to find out the girl's identity. But not everyone wants them asking questions.
Stasi Child has a complex plot with twists and turns that build up the tension. It's filled with corruption, control and violence. The author has captured the atmosphere well, with vivid descriptions of the Berlin setting and the contrast between East and West. This was a time of secrets, lies and paranoia. Anyone could be under Stasi control. People were wary about what they said and did, even when they were considered to be an authority figure themselves. Karen Muller is an interesting protagonist, not as cold and detached as some of her colleagues, and actually cares about what happened to the victim. She's also curious about what's on the other side of the Wall, which keeps the Stasi on their toes.
Stasi Child is a well-written debut and I look forward to seeing what the author has in store for Karen next.
I received an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review.