Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev returns....
Moscow, 1937: Captain Korolev, a police investigator, is enjoying a long-overdue visit from his young son Yuri when an eminent scientist is shot dead within sight of the Kremlin and Korolev is ordered to find the killer. It soon emerges that the victim, a man who it appears would stop at nothing to fulfil his ambitions, was engaged in research of great interest to those at the very top ranks of Soviet power.
When another scientist is brutally murdered, and evidence of the professors' dark experiments is hastily removed, Korolev begins to realise that, along with having a difficult case to solve, he's caught in a dangerous battle between two warring factions of the NKVD. And then his son Yuri goes missing....
A desperate race against time, set against a city gripped by Stalin's Great Terror and teeming with spies, street children, and thieves, The Twelfth Department confirms William Ryan as one of the most compelling historical crime novelists at work today.
©2013 William Ryan (P)2014 Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd
"Ryan handles mystery with great aplomb and depicts Stalinist Russia in an utterly realistic way making this a book not to be missed" (Daily Express)
"Pre-war Soviet Moscow is described in satisfyingly detailed complexity without ever losing the reader" (Irish News)
"Ryan is an author growing in confidence and capability. He plays off the complexities and contradictions of Korolev's character against an addictive, high-tension atmosphere in which suspicion, surveillance and secrecy are the constant by-products of Stalin's 'Great Terror.' This is superb historical crime fiction with chilling plotlines, exciting and authentic investigative narratives and a truly impressive grasp of pre-war Soviet Russia's oppressive, fear-fuelled society" (Lancashire, Yorkshire and Isle of Man Evening Post)
This book might be the weakest of the three so far but it's still a GREAT listen. I actually pick books based on Sean Barret's narration because his reading/acting style and timbre of his voice make listening a joy.
I'm eagerly awaiting the next if these books.
This is the last (so far) instalment of Ryan's series about Capitan Korolev from Moscow CID. Like the two previous instalments this one is also set in the 1930s Moscow. While the previous two books were an excellent read, this one shows that perhaps it's time to retire the captain.
The mystery could have been crafted much much better. You can spot most of the plot turns from a mile, and barely surprised when they're actually coming. There are barely any twists or big revelations that the reader hasn't foreseen.
What distinguished Ryan's previous novels is that they did not deteriorate into cliches about the USSR in the 1930s. In the previous instalments the Soviet characters were a mixed bunch: some good, some evil, some true believers in the Soviet system, others suspicious, yet others outright against it. Another bonus were rather lively descriptions of Moscow and Soviet life in the 1930s.
This book repeatedly recycles the all-time worst cliches: evil security services, state indoctrination, omnipresent surveillance and intimidation. The Russian people appear as a faceless mass drawn into apathy by fear and depravation. The authorities are equally faceless, trying to turn the population into a homogenous Stalinists.
Accordingly, the representations of Moscow are also reduced to the most iconic "ominous" sites: the Lubyanka, the Kremlin, and the infamous "Leadership House" (better known as "the house on the embankment").
All this is not only boring, but historically inaccurate. And while Ryan's previous work was very much attuned to historical nuances, it seems that in this one he has abandoned all his previous methods. In short, if you never tried Ryan's books or really enjoyed the previous adventures of Korolev, you can give this one a miss.
"One bullet wreaked havok"
Outstanding and original whodunit set in Stalin's Russia. A regular police inspector is caught up in the paranoid
politics of Stalinism. Wonderfujjy narrated by Sean Barrett.
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