It's August, 1948, three years after the Russians "liberated" this small nation from German Occupation. But the Red Army still patrols the capital's rubble-strewn streets, and the ideals of the Revolution are but memories. Twenty-two-year-old Detective Emil Brod, an eager young man who spent the war working on a fishing boat in Finland, finally gets his chance to serve his country, investigating murder for the People's Militia. 

The victim in Emil's first case is a state songwriter, but the evidence seems to point toward a political motive. He would like to investigate further, but even in his naivete, he realizes that the police academy never prepared him for this peculiar post-war environment, in which his colleagues are suspicious or silent, where lawlessness and corruption are the rules of the city, and in which he's still expected to investigate a murder. He is truly on his own in this new, dangerous world. 

The Bridge of Sighs launches a unique series of crime novels featuring a dynamic cast of characters in an ever-evolving landscape, the politically volatile terrain of Eastern Europe in the second half of the 20th century.


...a stunning and unique look at life and crime in a Soviet satellite nation.

--Paula L. Woods, Los Angeles Times

Everything that a listener could want is here: murder, political intrigue, blackmail, a love story, and a quality mystery...

--Scott R. DiMarco, Library Journal (audio review)

Steinhauer spins out his story in clean and simple prose that gleam with authenticity and captures a uniquely East European spirit. ...gripping, subversive...

--Dick Adler, Chicago Tribune

...a wonderfully taut tale...This is a series I will follow with eagerness.

--Paul Skenazy, Washington Post

...original and intelligent, finely polished debut, loaded with atmospheric detail that effortlessly re-creates the rubble-strewn streets of the postwar period.... Highly recommended.

--Ronnie H. Terpening, Library Journal

...brilliant portrayal of an unnamed country in the aftermath of the Second World War... Bleak and uncompromising, this powerful novel grips from beginning to end.

--Susana Yager, Sunday Telegraph

Olen Steinhauer in The Bridge of Sighs has created a remarkable first novel ... featuring Emil Brod, who could turn out to be one of the finest crime fiction creations of 2003.

--The Halifax Chronicle-Herald

...thoughtful and impressive...

--The Guardian

Steinhauer captures the fatalism [of] ... Milan Kundera or Bohumil Hrabal, who actually lived through such totalitarian regimes. Despite this story being set 50 years in the past, the question at its heart is today as timely as it's ever been.

-- the News and Observer, Raleigh NC

The Bridge of Sighs is a richly atmospheric tale of one man's quixotix struggle to decipher the bleak enigma of postwar Eastern Europe. The intriguing young Inspector Brod is a character to remember.

--Dan Fesperman, author of Lie in the Dark

...a novel of intense vitality... Lots of humor, lots of threads and an ever-deepening mystery that is unique and a fine start for a very promising new author.

--J Robert Janes, author of Dollmaker