‘A Darker State’ is the 3rd novel by David Young in the Karin Muller series featuring Karin Muller, a detective in the East German People’s police and set in the 1970s, a time when much of life in East Germany was controlled by State security – the Stasi.
Karin and her partner Werner Tilsner have both been promoted. Karin is now a major and in charge of a newly established serious crimes unit, set up to work closely with the Stasi. They soon have their first case when the body of a young man is found weighed down in a river. But as soon as they start to investigate, the Stasi shut down their investigation, declaring the death a suicide. The early parts of the investigation had already shown some unusual irregularities with the body. Has Karin just been promoted because the Stasi thinks that they can manipulate her easily?
Then the son of one of Karin’s colleagues goes missing and he has a very similar lifestyle to the young man found in the river. As Karin starts to investigate the disappearance of young Markus, she is able to secretly continue her investigation into the first death.
But crossing the Stasi is never a good idea and they have many ways of monitoring what is going on.
Along the way, Karin starts to discover disturbing information about Emil, her boyfriend and father of her twin babies. But the most disturbing thing she discovers is what has really happened to Markus and other young men like him.
The world portrayed in this novel is almost like a dark fantasy world, except that much of the novel is based on fact. The sorts of things that happen to people in this story really did happen in cold war East Germany and the Stasi really did spy on everyone and control many aspects of life.
David Young’s writing is exceptional as he brings this dark and depressing world to life.
This was an excellent addition to an excellent series and I look forward to reading David Young’s next novel.