36 Yalta Boulevard: A Novel

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36 Yalta Boulevard: A Novel

by Olen Steinhauer

St. Martin's Press | July 11, 2006 | Trade Paperback

36 Yalta Boulevard: A Novel is rated 4 out of 5 by 1.
Olen Steinhauer''s first two novels, The Bridge of Sighs and The Confession, launched an acclaimed literary crime series set in post--World War II Eastern Europe. Now he takes his dynamic cast of characters into the shadowy political climate of the 1960s.
State Security Officer Brano Sev''s job is to do what his superiors ask, no matter what. Even if that means leaving his post to work the assembly line in a factory, fitting electrical wires into gauges. So when he gets a directive from his old bosses---the intimidating men above him at the Ministry of State Security, collectively known for the address of their headquarters on Yalta Boulevard, a windowless building consisting of blind offices and dark cells---he follows orders.
This time he is to resume his job in State Security and travel to the village of his birth in order to interrogate a potential defector. But when a villager turns up dead shortly after he arrives, Brano is framed for the murder. Again trusting his superiors, he assumes this is part of their plan and allows it to run its course, a decision that leads him into exile in Vienna, where he finally begins to ask questions.
The answers in 36 Yalta Boulevard, Olen Steinhauer''s tour-de-force political thriller, teach Comrade Brano Sev that loyalty to the cause might be the biggest crime of all.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 320 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.8 in

Published: July 11, 2006

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0312332033

ISBN - 13: 9780312332037

Found in: Mystery and Suspense

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Cold War Moody Expatriate American author Olen Steinhauer's five part Iron Curtain series gets better with every book, every decade he showcases, and every character he focuses on. 36 Yalta Boulevard is no exception. Brano Sev, the enigmatic "apparatchik" who played supporting roles in The Bridge of Sighs and The Confession, finds himself at the heart of a conspiracy to overthrow his unnamed country while on assignment as "rezident" in Vienna, Austria. Weaving his way through a sixties Europe populated by the Beatles, Christian sponsored CIA groups, the Austrian secret service, double dealings and betrayals, hash smoke, too much drink and just a hint of free love, Sev remains a loyal party man and devout socialist, fighting for what he believes is right. Sev's politics (not to mention his advanced age and tenuous health) make him a strange protagonist in a novel of intrigue, but it is refreshing to imagine the Cold War struggle from the other side, and with an agent as loyal to his cause as we expect the agents of our side to be. It makes an otherwise familiar spy story something entirely entertaining, because despite the Soviet flavour of Steinhauer's setting and the unique point of view of his protagonist, Steinhauer's tale is one that we've read before. Sev is that classic Cold War agent trying to root out a nasty Mole in his own organization while being framed as the Mole himself. His boss is helpful and caring; his boss's boss is angry, unreasonable and under suspicion; and there are even the obligatory love interest and family ties to corruption that throw Sev's loyalty even deeper into question. Without the moody setting of Steinhauer's Cold War Europe and Comrade Major Brano Olesky Sev, [book:36 Yalta Boulevard] would have been a pedestrian, though still enjoyable, spy yarn. But Steinhauer's characters and setting elevate the third installment of his Eastern European series into the realm of real excellence. If you are a nostalgic leftist or just a fan of Cold War spy fiction, Steinhauer's work is well worth a read.
Date published: 2013-10-24

– More About This Product –

36 Yalta Boulevard: A Novel

by Olen Steinhauer

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 320 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.8 in

Published: July 11, 2006

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0312332033

ISBN - 13: 9780312332037

Read from the Book

8 FEBRUARY 1967, WEDNESDAY • He left the Capital that morning, and at ten stopped in Uzhorod to fill his petrol, then continued up into the mountains, alert to each curve hidden behind clusters of snow-sprinkled pines. A small suitcase and briefcase shivered on the passenger seat. His name was Brano Oleksy Sev. He had reached his fiftieth year the previous month with fewer scars than he deserved, and owned the same white Trabant P50 he had bought ten years before. He had replaced so many internal parts that likely nothing inside it had come with the original car. Even the steering wheel had been replaced in 1961 (31 October, the same day Stalin’s sarcophagus was removed from its Red Square mausoleum), after he had taken a particularly sharp turn while trailing a suspect and found it sitting in his lap. In Vranov he took lunch at the empty restaurant he knew from his last visit three years before, because this stop never changed. The waitress, a large woman with a cleft lip, frowned a lot at him. Then she leaned against the edge of the table, a faint odor of sweat misting off her cheeks, and asked if he was sure he didn’t want a drink with that. “We’ve got the best brandy in the region.” Brano shook his head and watched her return, frowning, to the kitchen, then opened his briefcase and took out the case file with cold fingers. Until last August, Brano had been a major in the Ministry for State Security, located on Yalta Boulevard, number 36
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From the Publisher

Olen Steinhauer''s first two novels, The Bridge of Sighs and The Confession, launched an acclaimed literary crime series set in post--World War II Eastern Europe. Now he takes his dynamic cast of characters into the shadowy political climate of the 1960s.
State Security Officer Brano Sev''s job is to do what his superiors ask, no matter what. Even if that means leaving his post to work the assembly line in a factory, fitting electrical wires into gauges. So when he gets a directive from his old bosses---the intimidating men above him at the Ministry of State Security, collectively known for the address of their headquarters on Yalta Boulevard, a windowless building consisting of blind offices and dark cells---he follows orders.
This time he is to resume his job in State Security and travel to the village of his birth in order to interrogate a potential defector. But when a villager turns up dead shortly after he arrives, Brano is framed for the murder. Again trusting his superiors, he assumes this is part of their plan and allows it to run its course, a decision that leads him into exile in Vienna, where he finally begins to ask questions.
The answers in 36 Yalta Boulevard, Olen Steinhauer''s tour-de-force political thriller, teach Comrade Brano Sev that loyalty to the cause might be the biggest crime of all.

From the Jacket

Praise for 36 Yalta Boulevard and Olen Steinhauer
 
"A brainy thriller motored by stylishness and brevity. Steinhauer evokes the baroque, bureaucratic nature of the Ministry without choking his readers on it, and he can render it humorous without being satirical. His characters, too, are subtle and biting."
---Esquire

"Brano Sev is Steinhauer''s most intriguing hero yet, and that''s saying something..With its shifting perceptions, pervasive paranoia, and truly unpredictable plot, this will be savored by readers of well-crafted espionage ranging from Alan Furst to John le Carré."
---Booklist (starred review)
 
"Steinhauer is a master at entangling a compelling protagonist in a spellbinding web where each broken thread entraps the character (and the reader) in yet another mystery. This is an imaginative, brilliantly plotted espionage thriller, with finely detailed settings and a protagonist of marvelous complexity. Highly recommended."
--Library Journal (starred review)

"A wonderfully taut tale that is part police procedural, part political thriller, part love story....Steinhauer has created a vivid world in a lost time."
---Washington Post Book World on The Confession
 
"A mesmerizing and richly atmospheric follow-up to his 2003 debut." 
---Entertainment Weekly on The Confession
 
"The Confession is a clever reworking of the police procedural: The narrative-within-a-narrative exposes multiple levels of complicity and guilt that make this an affecting, sobering entry in one of the most inventive series around." 
---Los Angeles Times on The Confession

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 The Bridge of Sighs, The Confession, 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.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for 36 Yalta Boulevard and Olen Steinhauer   "[Steinhauer''s] people are real, the crimes genuine, and he is telling larger truths about that era, making it unusually accessible." ---David Halberstam, LA Times   "A brainy thriller motored by stylishness and brevity. Steinhauer evokes the baroque, bureaucratic nature of the Ministry without choking his readers on it, and he can render it humorous without being satirical. His characters, too, are subtle and biting." --- Esquire "Brano Sev is Steinhauer''s most intriguing hero yet, and that''s saying something..With its shifting perceptions, pervasive paranoia, and truly unpredictable plot, this will be savored by readers of well-crafted espionage ranging from Alan Furst to John le Carré." --- Booklist (starred review)   "Steinhauer is a master at entangling a compelling protagonist in a spellbinding web where each broken thread entraps the character (and the reader) in yet another mystery. This is an imaginative, brilliantly plotted espionage thriller, with finely detailed settings and a protagonist of marvelous complexity. Highly recommended." -- Library Journal (starred review) "A wonderfully taut tale that is part police procedural, part political thriller, part love story....Steinhauer has created a vivid world in a lost time." --- Washington Post Book World on The Confession   "A mesmerizing and richly atmospheric follow-up to his 2003 debut."  --- Entertainment Weekly on The Confession &nbs
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