Advance reader reviews of The Darkening Field

The Darkening Field

A Novel

by William Ryan

The Darkening Field
  • Critics' Opinion:

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  • Published in USA  Jan 2012
    352 pages
    Genre: Mysteries

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There are currently 26 member reviews
for The Darkening Field
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  • Chris W. (Temple City, CA)


    The Darkening Field
    I really enjoyed the combination of murder mystery and political intrigue. We got to follow the leads as the detectives uncovered them. The pre-World War II setting in Russia was well described along with the conflicts some people felt with their government. The distrust of others, the fear of appearing disloyal to the government, the worry of the detectives about how high in the government the leads would take them, all were ever present in the story. I will read the author's first book now and definitely recommend this book to others. It would provide many avenues of discussion for a book club.
  • Sarah C. (Cape Girardeau, MO)


    The Darkening Field by William Ryan
    What a Fun read! it is not everyday you get a chance to read a classic western/mystery/thriller and historical fiction all rolled into one. It was a little work keeping the names straight, but well worth it. Highlights a difficult era in our past in a way that makes no apologies, and is entertaining.
  • Barbara E. (rockville, MD)


    The Darkening Field
    I would highly recommend this mystery. Set in 1937 in Stalinist Russia, the plot revolves around the murder of a young woman working on a film set. The murder quickly turns into a much more complicated affair with the revelation of old crimes and many dark secrets. The author creates an evocative atmosphere of dread ad oppression, in which any remark, thought or past allegiance can lead to imprisonment or death. Although set in a world in which human life seems to hold little value, William Ryan gives us a detective of extraordinary humanity in Alexei Korolev. His female counterpart, Nadezhda Slivka, is a breath of fresh air and irony in the midst of an oppressive regime. The mystery is complex but enthralling and the ending does not disappoint. I would highly recommend this work to anyone who craves a deeply satisfying and atmospheric historical mystery.
  • Harriette K. (Northbrook, IL)


    The Darkening Field
    A police detective from Moscow is sent to the Odessa area to investigate a suspicious death, and we are plunged into 1937 Communist U.S.S.R. I started reading with low expectations, and then the plot, the time in history and the frightening world the characters lived in grabbed me. The book was totally engrossing, and left me wanting to know more about the protagonist, Alexei Korolev. He is interested in doing the right thing, but also fears for his safety and that of his son in a world where intrigue is the norm. I will now go on to read the author's first book featuring this character. I recommend this book to all lovers of suspense.
  • Susan F. (Rabun Gap, GA)


    Unique Thriller
    As a history buff and recent visitor to the Odessa catacombs, I found The Darkening Field a unique thriller with the backdrop, ever present, of life in Soviet Russia in 1937. It was the time of the Great Terror, a time of a series of campaigns by Joseph Stalin to purge the unloyal and repress and execute many. No one was safe and no one could be trusted.

    Such is the atmosphere in which Alexei Korolev, a moral man, must operate as a detective with the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department. This time, he must find the murderer of Maria Lenskaya, a production assistant on a new propaganda film being made in Ukraine. As the story twists and turns, I enjoyed the portrayal of Korolev as he must evaluate each suspect not only on their personal relationship to the victim, but also on their, often hidden, political persuasion as well. An invaluable aid was a listing of the book's characters which helped me sort out the many Russian names.

    I highly recommend this second tale of Detective Alexei Korolev. Hopefully, a third is in the making.
  • Trezeline B. (Columbia, MD)


    The Darkening Field
    A very riveting book. Korolev, a Soviet detective is called upon to investigate a murder. There is a possibility that what he discovers could offend or involve higher ups in the Soviet structure in a very dangerous 1937 in the Russian history. This possibility makes for an exciting read.
  • Judith M. (San Diego, CA)


    The Darkening Field
    From the very first I was engrossed in this story. It certainly helped refresh my memory of post revolution Russian history and set it on a more human level. The main character was well developed, and the interaction with the new young female detective will be worth reading in future books.

    Yes, the mystery does seem like a minor part of the bigger political intrigue. But, I for one want to go back and read the first Captain Alexei Korolev book, and will eagerly await the next.

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