Stasio, that is. Turns out the New York Times has seen fit to run a review by the esteemed La Stasio in this coming Sunday’s Book Review, alongside James Lee Burke, Rupert Thomson, and Stef Penny. Does she like my little tome? It seems so, despite my tendency toward contrived plot devices (further evidence of how writers masochistically remember only the slights)!
VICTORY SQUARE marks the end to Olen Steinhauer’s grim but fascinating police procedurals set in an unnamed Soviet-bloc nation very much like Romania. Emil Brod, the thoughtful protagonist of this well-plotted series, has grown more fatalistic since we met him as an idealistic young cop in “The Bridge of Sighs,” but sliding into retirement isn’t an option in the charged political climate following the breakup of the Soviet Union. Not in 1989, when revolution is in the air and the lieutenant general of the Ministry for State Security has just been murdered. While it seems contrived to force a casual relationship between Brod’s first case and his last assignment as chief of the murder squad, Steinhauer doesn’t dwell entirely on the past. As Brod tries to go about normal business in a police state that’s about to collapse, currents of rebellion and pro-democracy fervor sizzle in the air, and this story catches all the danger and excitement of the historic moment.