Let’s go from the start here. Set in East Berlin, 1975, this novel features Oberleutnant Karin Muller and her deputy, Unterleutnant Werner Tilsner, with the narrative starting when Muller and Tilsner are called to investigate the broken body of a young girl by the Berlin Wall (except Young has a different, more Orwellian name for the wall: the ‘Anti-Fascist Protection Barrier.’)
When Muller and Tilsner arrive at the scene, there is a Stasi officer, Klaus Jager there, ahead of them, and they are to assist him. Not the other way around. Cue then not only an investigation into a girl fleeing from the West and escaping into the East, but something altogether more powerful, deep and sinister.
Atmospheric and achingly haunting at times, this novel paints a scene of a world we thought we knew and yet, when we read on, we soon understand that what we thought of the former East Germany is just the tip of the iceberg. Young, with his debut, has created a constant, tense string of not only intrigue, but emotion too. I remember the Berlin wall falling. I remember images when I was young of people trying to climb over it, of being shot in the process.
This debut works the main characters well. Interwoven and developed, it plays out the narrative and plot, as you move through the pages, with skill.
Deep and dark, this debut is utterly gripping, sucking you in straight from the get go. Fascinating backdrop, well observed characters and a corker of an ending. All in all, superb.
Out now in e-book, the paperback version is out in February 2016. Available on Amazon here