Stasi Winter

Written by David Young
Review by Julia Stoneham

Fans of David Young’s Stasi novels will not be disappointed by this one, Stasi Winter – and what a winter it is.

The narrative begins quietly when the frozen body of a woman is found in a shopping street and picks up pace as the writer swiftly establishes his familiar style of complex plot and the intricate relationships, both currently and historically, between his characters. Young’s use of both the prevailing climatic conditions and the complex, postwar politics of the late 1970s, are well realised and possibly handled more subtly than are the amorous adventures of his characters.

There are aspects in the treatment of the storyline as it approaches its dramatic finale that take it close to being a Boys’ Own adventure story. We find lines such as “it’s when we get into the reactor room that things go wrong”. Many of the chapters end with rather overdone cliff-hangers such as “She pulled her Makarov from her shoulder holster, gestured to Tilsner to do the same. The hunt was about to begin”. Or, economically enough “At some stage the tables will turn”.

This, without doubt, is a page-turner made engaging thanks to the author’s outstanding descriptive powers and the evocations of his locations in terms of both time and place. A good, lively read.