Read 36 Yalta Boulevard by Olen Steinhauer Online


Olen Steinhauer's first two novels, The Bridge of Sighs and The Confession, launched an acclaimed literary crime series set in post--World War II Eastern Europe. Now he takes his dynamic cast of characters into the shadowy political climate of the 1960s.State Security Officer Brano Sev's job is to do what his superiors ask, no matter what. Even if that means leaving his poOlen Steinhauer's first two novels, The Bridge of Sighs and The Confession, launched an acclaimed literary crime series set in post--World War II Eastern Europe. Now he takes his dynamic cast of characters into the shadowy political climate of the 1960s.State Security Officer Brano Sev's job is to do what his superiors ask, no matter what. Even if that means leaving his post to work the assembly line in a factory, fitting electrical wires into gauges. So when he gets a directive from his old bosses---the intimidating men above him at the Ministry of State Security, collectively known for the address of their headquarters on Yalta Boulevard, a windowless building consisting of blind offices and dark cells---he follows orders. This time he is to resume his job in State Security and travel to the village of his birth in order to interrogate a potential defector. But when a villager turns up dead shortly after he arrives, Brano is framed for the murder. Again trusting his superiors, he assumes this is part of their plan and allows it to run its course, a decision that leads him into exile in Vienna, where he finally begins to ask questions.The answers in 36 Yalta Boulevard, Olen Steinhauer's tour-de-force political thriller, teach Comrade Brano Sev that loyalty to the cause might be the biggest crime of all....

Title : 36 Yalta Boulevard
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780312332037
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

36 Yalta Boulevard Reviews

  • Brad
    2019-01-24 13:12

    Expatriate American author Olen Steinhauer's five part Iron Curtain series gets better with every book, every decade he showcases, and every character he focuses on. 36 Yalta Boulevard is no exception.Brano Sev, the enigmatic apparatchik who played supporting roles in The Bridge of Sighs and The Confession, finds himself at the heart of a conspiracy to overthrow his unnamed country while on assignment as rezident in Vienna, Austria. Weaving his way through a sixties Europe populated by the Beatles, Christian sponsored CIA groups, the Austrian secret service, double dealings and betrayals, hash smoke, too much drink and just a hint of free love, Sev remains a loyal party man and devout socialist, fighting for what he believes is right. Sev's politics (not to mention his advanced age and tenuous health) make him a strange protagonist in a novel of intrigue, but it is refreshing to imagine the Cold War struggle from the other side, and with an agent as loyal to his cause as we expected the agents of our side to be. It makes an otherwise familiar spy story something entirely entertaining because -- despite the Soviet flavour of Steinhauer's setting and the unique point of view of his protagonist -- Steinhauer's tale is one that we've read before. Sev is that classic Cold War agent trying to root out a nasty Mole in his own organization while being framed as the Mole himself. His boss is helpful and caring; his boss's boss is angry, unreasonable and under suspicion; and there are even the obligatory love entanglements and family ties to corruption that throw Sev's loyalty even deeper into question. Without the moody setting of Steinhauer's Cold War Europe and Comrade Major Brano Olesky Sev, 36 Yalta Boulevard would have been a pedestrian, though still enjoyable, spy yarn. But Steinhauer's characters and setting elevate the third installment of his Eastern European series into the realm of real excellence.If you are a nostalgic leftist or just a fan of Cold War spy fiction, Steinhauer's work is well worth a read.

  • Barbara Barna
    2019-02-06 13:52

    Just finished blitzing through Olen Steinhauer's 5-book crime & espionage series set in a fictional Soviet-bloc country during the Cold War. Each book is set during a different decade (1940s - 1980s) and revolves around a cast of recurring characters working for the Ministry of State Security. Any resemblance to Romania is intentional as Steinhauer began writing as a Fulbright Scholar there. But then he moved to Budapest and there's a heavy Hungarian shade as well. 36 Yalta Boulevard (3rd in the series) gets attention here because early on you realize this book is a huge progression from the previous two and its exciting as a reader to see Steinhauer finding his voice and coming into his own as a writer. You'll nod and smile and concur with the New York Times' comparisons to Le Carre.

  • SlowRain
    2019-02-05 17:59

    Brano Sev--mid-ranking officer in the security services of an unnamed Eastern European country during the Cold War--is given an opportunity to regain his position and title with a simple investigation back in his hometown: find out why a man who had recently defected to Austria has returned. What results takes Brano far from his home territory and forces him to reexamine everyone he knows.This is Olen Steinhauer's third novel in his Yalta Boulevard Sequence. Like his previous novel, there is more detail in the plot and characters than there was in his debut. It's a testament to Steinhauer's writing ability that he can take a man like Brano Sev, who is a hardcore believer in socialism and the brutalities needed to enforce it, and still make him sympathetic and understandable. Where lesser authors would have given the Western reader a feel-good tale that appeals to our values, Steinhauer keeps Brano Sev honest and true to his ideals.The settings are all handled deftly. Whether it is Brano's hometown, the European countryside, Vienna, etc., we have a clear sense of time and place. The plot, too, is sure to entertain fans of the most complex of thrillers.And, yet, that's where I think it falters. There is just too much plot. Brano is a very interesting character, but we still don't get to know much about him--we only get a taste. He seems as knowable now, as the protagonist of his own novel, as he did when he was just a minor character in the previous ones. I wanted more Brano Sev. I wanted to know more of what he was discovering and struggling with. I wanted more narrative. What this novel delivers is a lot of little events. It's full of twists, coincidences, contrivances, and then more twists--in case we didn't have our fill already. With all the potential for weighty matters to be examined, it comes across as a rather light-weight novel--albeit, with a complicated plot.Is this novel powerful enough to cause people to reexamine or reinforce their own beliefs? I doubt it. Does it expose anything or educate the reader? Not really. Is it entertaining and enjoyable. For some, yes. I just found it mildly so. Not as well-written as anything John le Carré or Graham Greene has ever done, but about on par with Martin Cruz Smith, and a bit more complicated than an Alan Furst novel. Still, pretty good company for Steinhauer.

  • Mal Warwick
    2019-01-24 13:56

    In this, the third novel in Olen Steinhauer’s outstanding Central European cycle, we view the world through the eyes of Brano Sev, a World War II partisan fighter turned secret policeman in his unnamed Soviet satellite country. Now, nearing 50, Brano has been working for months on the assembly line at a factory as punishment for an espionage scandal that erupted after he was sent on assignment to Vienna. Without warning, his superiors pull him out of the factory. temporarily reinstate him as a major in the security service, and send him off to his home village, where he is to investigate why a defector has suddenly returned to the village and what he’s planning to do. The ensuing complications threaten not just to end Brano’s career but possibly his life as well. He flees to Vienna, where his long-held beliefs in the Communist system are challenged from all quarters.36 Yalta Boulevard — the address is that of the security service headquarters in The Capital — continues the story begun in The Bridge of Sighs and The Confession, which follows the life and work of the five men who make up the homicide department in The Capital’s police department. (Brano is the secret service spy in their midst.) The first book is set in 1948, the second in 1956, and 36 Yalta Boulevard in 1966-67. Two later novels — Liberation Movements and Victory Square — carry the tale forward into the 1970s and 1980s, thus traversing the entire half-century history of Communism in Eastern Europe.Now, nearly a quarter-century after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Empire in Central and Eastern Europe, a new generation is growing up ignorant of the Cold War reality that hung over our lives for as long as most of us over 30 can remember. Olen Steinhauer brings back one important aspect of that reality in these unusually well-crafted books: the life and times of the millions who existed under the varying but always oppressive weight of state socialism — some, like Brano, willingly, even eagerly; others, indifferent or resisting.Steinhauer has won numerous awards for the novels in this unusually engaging cycle. He deserves more.(From

  • Susan Decker
    2019-01-25 17:58

    This is the first novel I have read by Olen Steinhauser, but I plan to read more. His characters are finely drawn and the plot is complicated. This is a very somber, gray work about a current/former? spy for his Eastern European totalitarian government. Although it was interesting and progressed nicely, the one overriding emotion I felt as I read the final sentence of the book is numbness, that life is, in the end, futile, and that, for some, happiness is not possible.

  • Eric_W
    2019-01-24 20:50

    Unfortunately, I am again reading/listening to a series out-of-order. Bridge of Sighs was first, followed by The Confession. They began in the 1940’s and by the time we reach 36 Yalta Boulevard (the fictitious address of the East European country’s --we never are quite sure which, but is typically Soviet Bloc-- spy service, the Ministry of State Security.) Brano Sev is sent/led/tricked (we’re never quite sure which) into going to Austria where he is framed for a murder. Relegated to a factory job by his bosses, he is resurrected for another in his home town where he accidentally kills one of his handlers - or is he?. Always one to follow orders and assuming he is part of a grand plan, he’s soon up to his ears in a nebulous labyrinth of betrayal and deceit, unable to trust anyone, and he begins to question his superiors orders.In one of the great ironies, Brano really believes in the system, even as it betrays and beats him, and despite his knowledge of its corruption. He retains a child-like faith that’s at once simplistic and complicated. It’s confusing at times, but that confusion reflects Brano’s own.There are some really good novels out there in the spy genre examining the gray netherworld of human actions where the protagonists stumble their way through a maze that often seems to have no end, and writers like Le Carre, Seymour, Cruz Smith, Furst, and others have fertile ground to display the misty world of human frailty. Add Steinhauer to the list.Ludlum fans will not be interested.

  • Rob Kitchin
    2019-02-12 20:42

    One ingredient of a good spy thriller is a sense of mystery, with the reader and the main protagonist not really sure quite what is happening. Steinhauer manages to maintain this uncertainty to the end of The Vienna Assignment. Just as you think you’ve got a handle on what is happening and why, the mirrors are shifted and a new view appears. The prose is mostly quite functional, but the plotting is carefully constructed, the shifting ground and mind games well framed and paced, tempting the reader along. The characterization is for the most part good, with Sev in particular a well-penned character, with depth, layers and rich back story. The Cold War sense of place in Vienna is well portrayed and contextualised. My big gripe is that Sev’s home country, in which a large portion of the book takes place, is unnamed and is therefore a bit ephemeral. I’m not really sure why. It makes for an odd balance, where the history and places of Austria and Hungary are a central component, but they are opposed by a generic Iron Curtain country lacking in context. Overall, a solid spy thriller with an interesting protagonist and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing until near the end.

  • Sheri
    2019-01-25 15:46

    Steinhauer is my nominee to succeed John LeCarre. His series of spy thrillers has been a delight to read. I've previously read Bridge of Sighs & The Confession. Both are set largely in Romania and peopled by the secret police who keep communism pure in their unit of the Soviet bloc. The first book was set shortly after WWII; the second was set during the Hungarian uprising (which was put down with Russian tanks). This one -- 36 Yalta Boulevard -- is set during the 1960s when the Berlin Wall is the defining point between East & West in Europe and when unhappy citizens are seeking paths of escape from Romania. Each book has focused on a different member of the secret police staff, and nicely portrays the inherent conflicts between the choices they face: the human thing to do, or what they're ordered to do. I'm now totally hooked and starting the 4th book, set in the 1970s, where the main character from 36 Yalta Boulevard is training a rookie who hasn't become sufficiently hardened to the job yet.

  • Carmen
    2019-01-28 17:44

    An exciting ride of a book. Brano Sev is in the secret intelligence business. He always does what he is told. Then one day, he is demoted to working in a factory. He doesn't know why. then he is secretly sent to Austria. There he discovers a spy ring, how people are getting out and telling secrets. In the course of this discovery, he falls in love with a young Yugoslav lady. Set before the fall of the wall, it brings all that time back in a unique way. Most of the books I have read about this time always pit an American or Alli force against a communist agent. This one is more the pyschological side of the Communist agent.

  • Speesh
    2019-02-14 15:10

    Thoroughly enjoyed this one. I've previously read 'The Tourist', which was also excellent, though probably more of a mainstream spy novel.'The Vienna Assignment' is particularly good because it doesn't do, as in the main character doesn't do, what you probably expect it/him to. At least, that's how I felt anyway.It's set in Eastern Europe - and, as Vienna and Austria are in Western Europe - Western Europe, in the mid-sixties. It's about spies, about Socialism about suspicion and trust, betrayal and idealism when all the evidence points against it.Atmospheric, intriguing and thought-provoking. Read it, you won't be disappointed.

  • Daisy
    2019-02-18 17:04

    Lots of characters and a hard-to-follow plot but that didn't deter me. 1967 Vienna. A likable hero. An ending that leaves you wanting a little more. Nice.

  • Mardie
    2019-01-31 13:58

    So far I like this one the best of the Steinhauer books I have read. The plot is very convoluted but almost predictable. I like the time period of this work.

  • Denise
    2019-02-03 15:49

    The third book in the Yalta Boulevard Sequence takes us into the 1960s and puts State Security Officer Brano Sev (who was, as befits his job, a somewhat shadowy figure in the background in the previous books) front and center. Losing his job after being doublecrossed during a mole hunt in Vienna, he's been reduced to working a mindnumbing assembly line job at a factory when his old superiors come calling with a new task for him: He is to travel back to his home village and keep an eye on a potential defector. Then a villager turns up dead and Brano is framed for the murder - which appears to be exactly what his superiors want. Used to following even the strangest orders without asking questions, Brano runs with it, leading him into exile back in Vienna, where he is left to his own devices to figure out what exactly he is meant to accomplish, how - and why, a question he can no longer avoid asking himself.A gripping, complex political thriller that keeps you guessing, with taut suspense and unexpected twists galore. I do believe this was the best book in the series so far, and I'm very much looking forward to the next.

  • Chris
    2019-02-08 12:50

    Eastern European spy Brano Sev returns for a third installment of this post- WW2 thriller. He can't tell who to trust and has no idea why he is framed for murder and led into exile. He can't get any answers and has to just keep his wits and play along, all the while trying to figure out who is who and what is what. Enjoyed this, but not quite as much as I remember enjoying the first two -- granted it's been a good many years.

  • Charles
    2019-01-22 12:49

    This book could have been titled "Loneliness and Confusion," or "Nobody is Happy With Their Life." As melancholy as its predecessors, but not quite as compelling. Indeed, there are a lot of similarities between the three books. I don't know if I find Brano as sympathetic as Emil or Ferenc. Still, I love this series.

  • David
    2019-02-13 20:03

    In Brano Sev, the hero of Olen Steinhauer’s novel 36 Yalta Boulevard, you can see hints of Milo Weaver, the hero of his later novel The Tourist. Both men are spies. Both are lonely men, isolated from their families and friends by the work that they do. Both know how to stand up to torture, and both have father issues.But whereas Milo Weaver is an American spy working in Europe in today’s world, Brano Sev spies for his Communist masters, the Ministry of State Security — headquartered at 36 Yalta Boulevard — in 1967. Yalta, as the windowless building is known, is not a place you want to see the inside of — because most who go in never come out. After botching a mission in Vienna, Brano returns to his own country and finds himself inside Yalta, and this time he’s the one being interrogated, instead of the one doing the interrogation. Stripped of his rank, he narrowly avoids being sent to the work camps and is instead assigned a job in a factory. But soon his old boss comes to him with another mission, and a chance to redeem himself.Redemption, however, does not come easily. As a State Security officer, Brano is hated and feared by most of the citizens of his county. His home town doesn’t welcome him back, his family isn’t particularly glad to see him, and even the local police distrust him. Only when he finally returns to Vienna does Brano find a modicum of happiness. The more he investigates what happened on that botched mission, the more his new life is threatened — until he is finally forced to choose between happiness and duty.36 Yalta Boulevard is a mystery, and a good one. But like all of Steinhauer’s novels, it’s populated with real, flawed people — characters who come alive on the page, even if that page is the only time they appear in the book. I’ve praised Steinhauer’s writing so extensively in my reviews of his other books that I feel like I’m repeating myself, so suffice it to say that this book is every bit as rich and tense and perfectly tuned as all of the author’s other novels.Steinhauer set five books in Brano Sev’s nameless Eastern Bloc country, and 36 Yalta Boulevard is the third of these. I have called the set a series in my reviews of Bridge of Sighs and The Confession, but it’s really just five literary mysteries with the same setting and shared characters. You could pick up any one of these books and start reading, without having to have read the books that come earlier. In that regard, it reminds me of the novels of Jonathan Carroll, who recycles characters constantly. It’s one of my favorite things about Carroll’s books, actually, and I do something similar in my own work because it’s fun for me as a reader. But Carroll’s books aren’t a series, and although Steinhauer’s Yalta books have more of a connection, they really aren’t a series either. They’re just really good novels with a shared setting and interconnected characters.Next up is Richard Kadrey’s new novel, Devil Said Bang, and then it’s back to Steinhauer. I really cannot get enough of his books.36 Yalta Boulevard36 Yalta BoulevardOlen Steinhauer

  • Billpilgrim
    2019-02-19 21:08

    This is third book in the series set in an unnamed fictional Eastern European country, each book set in a different decade. We are in the 1960's now, 1967 primarily. The main character is Brano Sev, who appeared in the earlier books. He was the state security cop who was stationed with the murder investigators in the capitol city. This book begins in Vienna in 1966, where Sev has been sent on a mission, and where he is set up to appear to be working against the state's interests. When he returns to the capital of his country, he is jailed, but saved from prison by his benefactor, a Colonel of the state security system, who gets him assigned to work in a factory. Six months later, he is sent to his home town, a small village far from the capital, where a man suspected of being an informant for the West has recently returned. Sev is tasked with finding out what this man is up to. But, he is framed for a murder and has to flee. The man he was investigating takes him on a flight to Vienna, where things really get interesting.I think this book is great, but I probably liked the first two books in the series a bit more. I think it might be that I found the moods of the time periods in those books to be more gripping. And, it seemed that the references here to Sixties' culture, mostly musical, were simply thrown in. Still, the book kept my interest and I read it quickly and with much enjoyment. I will read the last two books of the series soon.

  • Carl
    2019-02-14 16:11

    The third in his series of Eastern European thrillers; this was quite different from the first two. Those were police procedurals within the milieu of the new Soviet domination of eastern Europe. Each centered on one of the militiamen, and I think the second was a better read from having read the first. 36 Yalta represents a big departure from the mood of the first two. This centers on Brano Sev, a minor figure from the earlier books, the representative of State Security ensconced in (and keeping watch over) the homicide department. But it's not a police procedural, instead it's a spy thriller in the mold of Greene or early Le Carre. The plot is quite (too?) complicated, but the emphasis is on the mental games and psychology of the spies, as well as spycraft, likely much more realistic than what you'd find in Ian Fleming or Ludlum. Who's lying? Who's telling the truth? Whom can I trust? Why?It's never fully clear what makes Brano tick, but eventually it didn't fully matter; I saw him as a man dedicated to his task, and even when he tried to question his motivations, he couldn't come up with the answers.

  • Gary Letham
    2019-02-15 13:54

    Book three of the Yalta sequence and the story turns to Brano Sev, the secret policeman installed at the milita homicide office of the first two books. We find out Brano is a faithful servant of the system, rarely if ever questions orders and is comfortable with his own indoctrination. We meet Brano in the mid sixties just as he is turning fifty. Posted to Vienna he is charged with an assassination of a suspected traitor, but becomes the pawn in a bigger game of treachery and and family bonds. Steinhauer really fills out Sev's character from the glum lug of the first two books. He has an acute inquisitive brain when tasked with an investigation, but has trained himself never to direct this at his own system. After being framed with a murder, Sev finds himself on an enforced exile in Vienna where he is finally caught between the romantic dalliance of his previous visit, a situation that fill give him happiness he has never known and his loyalty to a system that seems to want to destroy him. This is another superb outing by Steinhauer, who needs to get his next book written as I only have two to go. Highly recommended

  • Oksana
    2019-02-09 18:53

    I fell in love with the intricate plot, which reveales its surprises gradually and appears controversial, each new page crossing out the previous one and leaving the reader with a constant sense of zbrka, right until the end. All the essential details are carefully scattered throughout the book, as milestones on a long way to the denouement. So, it is a solid 5 for making me feel intrigued. It is a quality spy thriller from cover to cover.This book showed be how little I know from history. Wikipedia became my faithful consultant whenever I had to brush up my knowledge of the Iron Curtain. Historical references are numerous here! As well as the geographical ones. I gave up on following Brano's way through all these foreign places somewhere on the page 50. My applause to the author’s awareness, but all this German toponymy is beyond me.It was my first acquaintance with Olen Steinhauer, and I enjoyed it profoundly. However, I'm not going to catch up on his other novels as the book turned out heavy and harsh on my emotional self.

  • Richard Toscan
    2019-01-28 15:42

    This early novel by Steinhauer is wonderfully well done in its plotting and character exploration. It's particularly intriguing because of its central character, Brano Sev, an upper-level intelligence operative for his Eastern (Soviet) block country in the 1960s. It's an unusual focus in a genre where the typical villain would be the Eastern block operative. But Steinhauer makes him the "hero", if such a category can be said to exist in 36 Yalta Boulevard, and creates a character who deeply believes in the future of Communism despite all the evidence Sev sees to the contrary in his own country and in Austria. Even more intriguing (I'm attempting to avoid a spoiler) is that the cliche endings would be 1) the operative is killed in the end while doing "good" or 2) he defects to the West and lives happily ever after. Steinhauer does something entirely different, but absolutely logical for his character.

  • Nancy
    2019-02-08 15:48

    It's the 60's and the Cold War is in full swing. Brano Sev is a devoted employee for the Department of Ministry stationed in Vienna but his home is in Yugoslavia. After waking up from a hit in the head and not remembering who he was or what had happened, his life takes an unexpected turn. As he regains his memory he is banished to his homeland and reassigned to a factory job. When he's unexpectedly called back to serve his government, he considers it an opportunity to regain his former life and prestige. Unlike many who sought countless ways to escape the confines of socialism, Brano is devoted to the cause and casts aside liberty, love and family as he serves his ruthless leaders. Sadly, it was probably VERY realistic- yet I kept rooting for him to embrace life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

  • Jim
    2019-02-02 16:00

    36 Yalta Boulevard is my second book by Olen Steinhauer. My first was the Cairo Affair which is a recent stand alone. 36 Yalta is the third of a series ... I always read things out of sequence, not by choice but because the first two books in what is called the Yalta Sequence were not available to me. So I have to find a way to obtain The Bridge of Sighs and the Confession. Brano Sev is an interesting character, an intelligence operative from a fictitious Balkan country. Set primarily in 1966-67, 36 Yalta Boulevard introduced me to very shadowy world where you really never know who your friends are or if you even have any. You don't trust anyone.

  • M Rothenbuhler
    2019-02-15 20:47

    A sobering illustration of the Stockholm Syndrome becomes apparent as a physically and psychologically abused sleuth becomes somehow more and more loyal to the regime that is abusing him.It would be a total downer, but, there are some other characters who escape in various ways; sometimes tragically.The ending has both a surprise and a believable finality. You may never look at a Soviet colonel in quite the same light again.While I have read few books of the spy thriller genre I plan to read more Steinhauer. Again, his grasp of the dehumanizing effects of Communism is strong. Also a hat tip for portraying some Christians quite favorably.

  • Mishehu
    2019-02-16 16:02

    Strong out of the starting blocks. Solid characterization. Great pacing. Intelligent plot. Second half slogs though. Interminably. Might not have helped that I listened to the audio version, read by Russian(?) reader whose male characters all sounded essentially the same, and whose female characters sounded utterly horrid. Made for pretty insufferable listening at times. But I think I can still rate the book objectively: half very interesting (not gripping). Half pretty darned boring. Author is no Le Carre or Cruz Smith for sure.

  • Trawets
    2019-02-02 13:45

    Major Brano Sev is an East European Intelligence Officer tasked with tracking down and either arresting or disposing of dissidents in the 1960s. He finds himself being betrayed and manipulated by both sides in Vienna, he must find those guilty of a conspiracy but at the same time protect his own back. Brano Sev is a committed Communist and has no intention of defecting even though this option is open to him, giving this story an added twist.A great read from Olen Steinhauer.

  • Jeff Crosby
    2019-02-18 20:42

    This is an historical thriller set in cold war Eastern Europe and Austria--part of Steinhauer's Yalta Boulevard sequence. There is a choppy style to the story that I found difficult at first. This is further hampered by a collection of largely unlikable characters. However, as details began to unfold, I found myself drawn into the pace and environment. The story is convoluted, cynical, and slightly disappointing in the end. It's similar to an Alan Furst novel but with less humanity.

  • Canadian 135
    2019-01-20 21:06

    This is the third in Steinhauer's Ruthenia Quartet (The Confession and Brige of Sighs), set in an unnamed Warsaw pact country. This novel features Brano Sev - a dark figure, the political spy from the previous two novels. He goes to Austria, in the 1960's, pretending to defect. This is a powerful novel, which powerfully evokes both Cold War politics and the destructive effect of the system on the soul of a man. Excellent spy novel.

  • Eric
    2019-02-17 19:10

    I was introduced to Steinhauer by way of "The Confession" - a story set in Hungary of '56. "36 Yalta Boulevard" brings us to, mostly, Vienna where the storytelling is equally vivid. The narrator for the work, Yuri Rasovsky, got a view of his German pronunciations of Viennese place names a bit "off" but actually must have been corrected as he worked as they got better later on. The Hungarian Secret Service must have played quite "the games" in Cold War Vienna. Well worth the time.

  • Janet
    2019-01-22 17:56

    A complex and compelling mystery/spy novel. Something of a slow burn and requires some focus and concentration on the part of the reader, but generally rewarding. Many twists and turns and perhaps a bit overly convoluted. The protagonist is not particularly likeable, which is OK, but I wish his motivations were made more clear - even at the end of the book he remained largely an enigma to me. I don't have to actively root for him, but I'd like to at least understand him better.