Author: Philip Kerr
Original language: English
EVERYONE IS GUILTY OF SOMETHING… In comtemporary Russia the old ghosts have been laid to rest, but the stench of corruption is just as strong as ever. Now a top-level Moscow investigator, dispatched to St. Petersburg, is about to discover just how deep the decadence runs–in both the corridors of power and the labyrinth of the human heart. The man from Moscow has been teamed up with Grushko, a palm-reading local detective with Elvis Presley hair. Together they embark on a investigation into the brutal murder of a famous and controversial journalist. To Grushko, an expert in the ruthlessness of the rising Russian Mafia, the killing has all the earmarks of a professional hit. But in the new Russia appearances have almost as little value as the new ruble. Soon the focus of the investigation will fall on the journalist’s widow, a pinup beauty whom one detective will find impossible to trust…the other to resist.
Mikhail Milyukin, Russia’s first investigative journalist, is found executed Mafia-style. Finding his killers and the reason for the murder falls to relentless militia officer Yevgeni Grushko. This novel works both as a gritty cop novel in a unique setting and as a lens on a troubled and tragic country. Kerr really did his homework; he secured the cooperation of the St. Petersburg militia’s organized crime unit, rode with its officers, and took part in several operations against the Mafia. His research gives the book special weight, for example, in his explanations of the ethnic foundations of Russia’s gangs. The language of cops and thugs alike has a wonderfully quirky but authentic sound; strikes against the Mafia are “realisations.” Equally important, however, Kerr lived with the incredible privations that nearly all Russians endure. His illumination of those hardships in the lives of his characters is almost painful at times, and the startling crime uncovered by Grushko has a terrible plausibility in grim contemporary Russia.