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    East Is East

    Set during the Cold War I found it unusual that we were actually behind the Iron Curtain and not in a "those awful Socialists way". Instead this is very much a procedural set within the confines of the People's Police of East Berlin during the mid-1970's, Although the third in a series having not read the previous two books does not spoil your reading of this tale, it is very much stand alone. The characters are introduced to you in such a way that you get to know them without it being mostly spent rehashing previous books. There are throwbacks to those books scattered throughout but more in the way of the main protagonist, Karin Muller's, thoughts about similarities to previous crimes than anything else. Struggling to reconcile her life as a mother of 6 month old twins, her fracturing relationship with their father Emil, her new promotion to Major and subsequent heading up of a specialist detective unit Karin has enough going on without the constant impinging of the Stasi. She knows her home life is blatantly spied upon and that they will interfere at every level of her investigation but she still tries to seek out truth. This book keeps well away from the East Is Bad and West Is Good so beloved of this genre. Instead they are what they are but the people are the same no matter which side of the Anti-Fascist Barrier they fall on. The flow of the tale is good and the plot unfolds in real time, and flashback, in such a way that you do keep turning those pages. Be it Karin's struggles at home, her doubts about Tilsner and her dubious relationship with Stasi hierarchy; you want to know it all. I'm not entirely sure that I could be persuaded to read the earlier books in this series though. I did enjoy this book but more as a one off than any real investment in the people and places. It is well written but just didn't grip me enough to make me invested in the characters. I'm not sure what was missing for me but there was always something just out of reach that could have transformed this from a good book to a great book. I RECEIVED A FREE COPY OF THIS BOOK FROM READERS FIRST IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW.
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