Jeanne W. (COLUMBIA, MD)
Promising new series
I really enjoyed this book by William Ryan. It's a basic murder mystery, but set in pre-WWII Soviet Union and that makes all the difference. A Moscow detective gets sent to Odessa to investigate a murder on the set of a Soviet propaganda movie. Because the dead girl's lover is a highly placed Soviet officer he must tread carefully. The depictions of Odessa are evocative and the characters live in an atmosphere of paranoia and that make me very glad to live in the USA. The pace is a little slow, but I think that's the lack of technology so it just takes a little getting used to. This is the second in what looks to be a series. I look forward to reading more by this author.
William E. (Honolulu, HI)
Life With Stalin
Interesting read for the description of life with Stalin. The story was not much of a mystery. The characters were fairly stereotypical. If one happens to be interested in the particular period in Russia under Stalin, it is a good read. For mystery readers not so much....
John W. (Clayton, Missouri)
Stalinist Russia - political intrigue, but not a mystery
The best part of this novel is the vivid description of pre-World War II Stalinist Russia. If you are interested in Soviet culture, this book will appeal to you. Captain Korolev is a likeable character and truly loves his country, but understands the realities of living in a dictatorship. If you are looking for a good mystery this is not the book for you – it’s more a good historical read with a lot of political intrigue.
Loren B. (Appleton, WI)
Actually this novel was less of a mystery and more political intrigue. I found it a little hard to follow, but the main character is deep and thoughtful-a different kind of man than what might be expected in Stalin's USSR.
Patricia H. (Norman, OK)
And We Think Politics Can Make Life Difficult!
In 1937 Russia, Captain Alexei Korolev is caught between his party loyalties and his sense of justice, while investigating the murder of an actress. What makes the job more difficult is the one secret condition under which he must perform the investigation. With endless possible suspects, Ryan writes an intriguing crime fiction drawn from history. Rated good versus very good because occasionally a bit stilted but a fascinating story none-the-less.