Writing about Reading: The Confession

September 17, 2012 § 3 Comments

The second book in a five-book series by Olen Steinhauer, The Confession is an interesting move by the author. Most series stay with the same point-of-view character (or characters, if there is more than one), so I was expecting The Confession to continue with Emil Brod, the hero of The Bridge of Sighs. But Steinhauer not only departs from that tradition, but also changes the narrative voice; where The Bridge of Sighs was a third-person narrative, The Confession is told in first-person, from the point of view of Ferenc Kolyeszar — a character barely mentioned in the previous novel.

The Confession begins eight years after The Bridge of Sighs. Kolyeszar’s marriage to his beautiful wife is in trouble, and he suspects her of infidelity. Distracted from his work as a homicide investigator for the People’s Militia, he brushes off his partner’s suggestion that an apparent suicide is something more sinister. Then another body turns up, and Kolyeszar finds himself splitting his time between murder, corrupt politicians, and his crumbling marriage.

While still a good book with a few twists and turns, The Confession nevertheless isn’t quite as good as Bridge of Sighs, and pales in comparison to Steinhauer’s newer books in the Milo Weaver series (The Tourist, The Nearest Exit, and An American Spy). I’m still eager to read the next book in the series, 36 Yalta Boulevard, which leaps another ten years and seems to focus on a new character. And even if this novel isn’t quite as good as the author’s other books, it’s still better than most novels on the shelves these days.

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