The Bridge of Sighs (2003) is the first in the 5-book Yalta Boulevard sequence by Olen Steinhauer. I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery. I have the 2nd in the series and will seek out the rest. Devotion is a theme. It has an authentic feel to it to me.
from the back of the book:
In this auspicious literary crime debut by Olen Steinhauer, an inexperienced homicide detective struggles amidst the lawlessness of a post-WWII Eastern European city. It's 1948, three years after the Russians "liberated" the nation from German occupation. But the ideals of the Revolution are but memories. Twenty-two-year-old Detective Emil Brod is finally getting his chance to serve his country, investigating murder for the People's Militia.
The first victim is a state songwriter, but the facts point to a political motive. Emil wants to investigate further, but his new colleagues in Homicide are suspicious and remain silent. He is on his own in this new, dangerous world. The Bridge of Sighs launches a unique series of crime novels featuring an ever-evolving landscape, the politically volatile terrain of Eastern Europe in the second half of the twentieth century.
"One man has only so much loyalty. Figure out where yours lies."The book is on a list of most-awarded mysteries and received 5 award nominations. Kirkus Reviews says, "Time, place, and cast are all richly evoked in a well-written, often gripping debut." Publishers Weekly concludes, "Fans of J. Robert Janes (who provides a blurb) in particular and of mysteries with totalitarian regime backgrounds in general should appreciate the authenticity the author brings from his experience as a Fulbright Fellow in Romania."