Are liberation movements ideological or personal? In Steinhauer’s world, apparently, ideology means little or nothing at all. Not to the Armenians, not the Turks, not to the communists—not to anyone. My last Steinhauer was The Bridge of Sighs (Nov. 30, 2009), which impressed me favorably, if not overwhelmingly. Liberation Movements is even better. This guy is a real writer.

The Armenians in question hijack a plane. The socialists/communists (Like The Bridge of Sighs, Liberation Movements is set in iron curtain


Eastern Europe) in question are 1) police investigators charged with solving a murder, or investigating espionage, or both at once. They’re seldom clear 2) national security types trying to solve the hijacking. 1&2 overlap in unpredictable and mysterious ways. All of these intrigues turn out to be vehicles for the characters to work out their personal dilemmas, which are multiple and deep. Those predicaments eventually intertwine with 1&2 in unpredictable but (because of x’s artistry) not so surprising once we find out—ways.

Liberation Movements is  page turner, but it’s not a potboiler. Lots to think about here. Childhood traumas turning into adult conflicts, which in turn affect work, which (when the workers have power over others), in turn affect the lives of others who had no connection with the original problem. Interesting stuff, and I’m now convinced that Steinhauer is a writer worth following.

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