"Rostnikov is quite simply the best cop to come out of the Soviet Union since Martin Cruz Smith's Arkady Renko in Gorky Park." --San Francisco Examiner Crime in post-communist Russia has only gotten worse: rubles are scarce, blood, plentiful. In the eyes of Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov and his metropolitan police team, new-found democracy has unleashed the desperation that pushes people over the edge, and has emboldened those already on the path to hell. A trio of nasty cases confirms their worst fears. Deputy Inspector Sasha Tkach must find the murderous thieves who have terrorized an impoverished neighborhood. His blood-stained quarry turns out to be a gang of brothers, aged seven, nine, and eleven years old. Policewoman Elena Timofeyeva joins the tax police in a raid on a house filled with Czarist treasures, worth billions of rubles. The next day every last relic and work of art has disappeared without a trace. And relentless Inspector Emil Karpo will not rest until he finds the Mafia beasts who killed the only woman he has ever loved in a bloody drive-by shooting--Karpo intends to punish them his way. Playing by the shadowy rules of their superiors, and playing against time and the odds, Rostnikov and company have their hands full upholding the law--and holding onto something they can believe in--in a country wracked by political change and its powerful consequences.
Contemporary Russia and 1940s Hollywood are worlds apart in both time and space, but mystery genre veteran Kaminsky is equally at home in both. Rubles are scarce in Moscow, but Chief Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov and his subordinates are up to their shoe tops in blood: a shootout apparently involving a Mafia scheme to sell fissionable material to the highest bidder; three nearly feral small boys who kill passersby for whatever they carry; and the kidnapping of a wealthy businessman that turns into multiple murders. The resolution of these crimes is uniquely Russian. The success of Kaminsky's Rostnikov novels is richly deserved. Porfiry and his team of detectives are engaging, complex people, struggling to do their jobs in a country turned crazy and murderous as it lurches toward a market economy and battles a historical soul that makes democracy an alien concept. It's hard not to feel compassion for the cops and the Moscovites in general, and Kaminsky is deft at creating this feeling with small, telling details of ordinary life. Mystery fans are often armchair anthropologists, and Kaminsky offers a rich culture for them to study. --Thomas Gaughan
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review
Kaminsky excels each time he enters the harshness of post-Cold War Russia, a politically and socially volatile world where his Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov is a rarity among policeman: shrewd, utterly incorruptible and destined to survive each complex political shift. As in previous Rostnikov works, including the Edgar-winning A Cold Red Sunrise, the inspector's team has several cases to crackand, as always, Russian society itself is as much an adversary as the assembled criminals. A gang of tattooed Mafia killers stage a shoot-out that claims the life of a prostitute, the only human to break through the robotic exterior of Emil Karpo, Rostnikov's loyal assistant; three young boys are robbing and killing on the streets; a cache of valuable artifacts vanishes; and the ruthless cunning of a wealthy couple is put to the test in the aftermath of a kidnapping attempt. Fortified by his love for weight lifting, Ed McBain novels, Russian plumbing and American pizza, the rotund Rostnikov perseveres, strong as a bull, lame in one leg and quite clearly nobody's fool. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal Review
In addition to his Edgar Award-winning Inspector Rostnikov novels, Kaminsky manages to juggle several excellent mystery series at once. Here, Rostnikov struggles against the rising tide of crime in post-Cold War Russia. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Stuart M. Kaminsky is head of the radio/television/film department at Northwestern University in Illinois. He is also a writer of textbooks, screenplays, and mystery novels. The more popular of his two series of detective novels features Toby Peters. Set in the 1930s and 1940s, the Peters books draw on Kaminsky's knowledge of history and love of film by incorporating characters from the film industry's past in nostalgic mysteries. Murder on the Yellow Brick Road (1978), for example, features Judy Garland while Catch a Falling Clown (1982) stars Emmett Kelley as Peters's client and Alfred Hitchcock as a murder suspect. His other critically acclaimed series chronicles the cases of Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov. Kaminsky's detailed studies of Russian police procedure combined with aspects of life in Russia have earned the Series an Edgar nomination for Black Knight in Red Square (1984) and the 1989 Edgar Award for A Cold Red Sunrise (1988). Stuart Kaminsky was born in Chicago in 1934 and died in 2009. (Bowker Author Biography)