A few days ago I ran out of novels from the Library. I hunted through the bookcase in Boy Number One's room where there are several older novels and withdrawn library books I never read. I picked out this former Litchfield Park item.
I'll rate this as average. This is one of Kaminsky's Porfiry Petrovich novels. I have read one or two others in the series and liked them better. This one was good but didn't grab me. Maybe I'm just too whiny about wanting more guts and gore and noir. This is not quite a cozy either though.
(What the hell?! I was just looking Kaminsky up and Red received the '89 Edgar Award. I'll be darned. I wonder if part of that is the Soviet setting and its importance, mystery and relevance at the time.)
Petrovich no longer works for the Procurator General but has been transferred to the cops, the MVD. He gets sent out to Siberia to investigate the murder of a Commissar who was, in turn, investigating the death of a dissident's young daughter. To find the Commissar's murderer among the small village's few inhabitants Petrovich also has to figure out the daughter's killer. A second plotline follows one of Petrovich's men left behind in Moscow who is trying to catch strong-arm thieves preying on tourists.
Petrovich, and his almost emotionless subordinate, Karpo, investigate while a political hanger-on obviously spies on Petrovich. Great use of setting and Siberian history by Kaminsky. Petrovich worries for his wife who has a brain tumor diagnosed during his absence, and for his son deployed to Afghanistan.
Gratuitous Ed McBain references by Kaminsky. Who can blame him?