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Publisher's Summary

In the volatile and shifting political atmosphere of Eastern Europe after World War II, an inexperienced homicide detective fresh out of the academy is assigned a crime that no one wants to solve. Set in a bombed-out city in an unnamed country formerly occupied by the Germans and now by the Russians, the story follows Emil Brod as he unravels the threads of the cover-up of a brutal murder, while supporting his grandparents, his only family, in the equally brutal city.
©2002 Olen Steinhauer (P)2003 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Ned Schmidtke's deep, authoritative voice suits the story. He never gets in front of the action. Instead, he supports this atmospheric tale with well-paced, even reading and a few carefully chosen vocal mannerisms for the main characters. A moody, involving listen." (AudioFile)

What listeners say about The Bridge of Sighs

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    145
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Bridge of Sighs and Sounds

The first book in Olen Steinhauer's series chronicling the cold war through the eyes of an Eastern Bloc homicide squad. The story is brilliant, I thought, and puts the American reader, at least, on a side of the Iron Curtain to which he is not accustomed. A tremendous story that keeps you wondering till the last moment. Sadly the book is, I feel, marred by the narration. Mr. Schmidke keeps a good pace and does a passable job with story. His voice seems to lack the flexibility to handle the different characters in the book, and his female characters sound like Homer Simpson. Some characters don't even sound human. The voice of Emil's partner is particularly unlistenable.

This is a 5-star book. I took two stars off the overall because of the performance. If the performance doesn't bother you, you'll be fine.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

an interesting listen

I enjoyed this book, right from remembering Rober Trower singing the song with the same name as the book. A good setting, eastern Europe after WWII, much despair, a seemingly good description of the life then, a small romance, some intrigue. I keep thinking back to the author's description of the title of the book as it relates to the story. Made me think of Thoreau and his statement of the desparatioon we all have in the lives we lead.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A satisfactory noir thriller

I listened to Steinhauer's "Milo Weaver" series a few months ago. I can't say I enjoyed "The Bridge of Sighs" as much, but it was still a good listen. If you want fast paced action, or steamy sex scenes, this isn't a book for you, but if you enjoy escaping into post WW2 central Europe and a grim noir, early cold war setting this book may do that. For me, Steinhauer has not mastered the genre as well as Alan Furst, but he is in the running with David Downing or Phillip Kerr.

The book suffers from being set in an unnamed country. I suppose that takes pressure off the author, who is not forced to work within a set of historic events as a novelist working in a real setting must. And, the characters were a bit thin, but had enough personality to keep me interested. Still, if there were a little more back story included for the main characters it might have been a much richer listen.

I give the performance a qualified four stars. When I come across a male reader who can interpret a woman's voice in a way that doesn't grate, they will be lauded with five stars and a rave review. Ned Schmidtke, unfortunately is not that reader, and his voices for the various characters are somewhat limited, and I found it a little hard to distinguish between the characters, sometimes.

Altogether, not a bad job, but if you like this genre, and haven't experienced them, I'd recomment Alan Furst's work, or for that matter Martin Cruz Smith's "Arkady Renko" series over this book.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A tale for our time

A police procedural in a small Eastern European country a few years after WW II. The author convincingly conveys what it was like to live and survive in a Russian block “socialist utopia”: the hypocrisy, the poverty, the distrust, the fear. Great protagonist who somehow had not succumbed to his socialist environment, young, inexperienced, learning to feel his way through all this to try to solve a crime. Underlying message better conveys the thesis of The Captive Mind than that work does itself. A timely book as wokism attempts to recreate in the West the same oppressive atmosphere of the Soviet bloc. Narrator has just the right voice for the book. Many characters have depth.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Bridge of Sighs leaves sighs of disappointment

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I can't imagine anyone enjoying this plodding tale with its monotonous characters and flat narrartor

What do you think your next listen will be?

Something by LeCarre

Would you be willing to try another one of Ned Schmidtke’s performances?

the narrator...never

What character would you cut from The Bridge of Sighs?

The Grandfather and his endless rants

Any additional comments?

perhaps this book was an early effort for the unusually good author...a real stinker though

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • PJ
  • 05-29-22

I regret listening to this book.

My usual reads are cozy mysteries, but decided to try this historical noir thriller. I regret it deeply. Too much violence, cruelty, and pure evil throughout. The narrator does not do female voices well. His Elena sounds like a heavy smoker who is well past her fifties, not a beautiful twenty-something. I won’t be choosing anything by this author or this narrator in the future.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rj
  • 03-10-22

Our inhumanity never ends with peace!

A beautiful story told in expressions of the heart & soul with a great narrator!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Not for me

Nothing special or original about the story, other than the author trying to place the story in an unnamed (fictional?) European town. Honestly that takes away more than it gives. The story and characters themselves are unoriginal and boring. Skip it.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Dark happenings post war.

Some might find this story too dark. I reflexed against the despairing tone. Skip it unless you are interested in post war history.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Another ugh

This is certainly a plodding story, out of my misery at chapter two. Wasted time trying to listen.

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