By G. D. Abson
A young woman is found dead on the outskirts of St Petersburg on a freezing January morning. There are no signs of injury, and heavy snowfall has buried all trace of an attacker. Captain Natalya Ivanova suspects the authorities have something to hide. When a second rebel activist goes missing, she is forced to go undercover to expose the truth.Tweet
This is a crime novel set in current day Russia where corruption abounds in the upper echelons of both the judiciary and the government. Natalya Ivanova is a police officer in charge of a case in which a young woman was found dead in a snowdrift just outside St Petersburg. Shortly after starting her investigation the rug is pulled from under her feet and the investigation is closed down. She suspects that the “powers that be” have something to hide and when she discovers that the girl was an anti-Putin activist she is determined to continue her investigation undercover. But in modern-day Russia, if you don’t toe the party line then things can start to go very wrong.
There are a lot of good things about this book. It was fast-paced and had a good storyline. Natalya was a strongly developed character and the winter setting lent a dramatic feel to it. It was also interesting to get an insight into the way a corrupt society functions.
However, although I thought it was a good book, I did not think it was a great one. Somehow I wasn’t completely invested in it and I’m not sure why. I suspect it was largely because of the setting, in Putin’s Russia. When corruption is so rife that it affects everyday life on a daily basis, it was a little difficult to tell whether the main focus of the book was the corruption or the crime. Personally I felt the emphasis crossed an invisible line such that the corruption element became the storyline, rather than being the background setting for the crime investigation itself. It also meant that the ending had to be fairly extreme and somewhat contrived in order to allow Natalya to live to fight another day in her next novel.
Apparently this is the second novel featuring Natalya Ivanova. Although I won’t be rushing out to buy the first, or subsequent books I would certainly read them if they came my way.
Great thriller. I've read a lot of Cold War thrillers, usually with the plot and characters riddled with corruption. This novel was a good reminder that this can still be the case post Cold War.
The lead character came across as strong and capable, but insights into her frailties made her personable too.
Entertaining light read. Powered through it in just a few sittings. Once I found out it was the second instalment in a series about the main character, it made more sense. It felt like an episode in a series and it seems that was indeed the case.
The book was a little predictable at points. It was obvious when Natalya was given the case with the long dead 14 year old, that would eventually and neatly tie into the current investigation. While that was telegraphed way in advance, the antagonist came into the story a little too late.
It was written with a deftness of touch, and I was able to read through large portions in one go. The characters were believable and I particularly enjoyed the realness of Natalya's relationship with Misha, strained yet doting. All in all, I'd be happy to hand the book to someone who was looking for a light and entertaining read.
This is the second thriller for the main character, Captain Natalya Ivanova, although I didn’t realise this. However, the fact that I hadn’t read the first was not a problem. It did not detract from the story. She is a strong, and very likeable character.
It is set in St Petersburg and is a police detective story filled with drama, suspense, and, being set in Russia, police and political corruption.
I highly recommend it.
This is exactly my type of book, kept me gripped from beginning to end. The story is a real page-turner and entirely believable.
This is a thriller set in Russia. I found the writing crisp and intense and full of intrigue. It is a polished story, although somewhat convoluted.
The story was hard to follow in parts, but eventually got back on track. Initially I found it confusing trying to work out who was who. The setting is bitterly cold and grimy and very Russian. The official government protocol and system gets in the way of solving the underlying crime. It’s a page turner, but I got a bit bogged down in the detail.
If you are into a thriller with a political thread, this one is for you.