Captain Alexei Korolev has nothing to complain about. He has his own room in an apartment, a job in the police force that puts food on the table, and his good health. In Moscow in 1937, that's a lot more than most people have to be grateful for. But for the first time in a long time, Korolev is about to be truly happy: his son Yuri is coming to visit for an entire week.
Shortly after Yuri's arrival, however, Korolev receives an urgent call from his boss—it seems an important man has been murdered, and Korolev is the only detective they're willing to assign to this sensitive case. In fact, Korolev realizes almost immediately that the layers of sensitivity and secrecy surrounding this case far exceed his paygrade. And the consequences of interfering with a case tied to State Security or the NKVD can be severe—you might lose your job, if you're lucky. Your whole family might die if you're not. Korolev is suddenly faced with much more than just discovering a murderer's identity; he must decide how far he'll go to see justice served . . . and what he's willing to do to protect his family.
In The Twelfth Department, William Ryan's portrait of a Russian policeman struggling to survive in one of the most volatile and dangerous eras of modern history is mesmerizing.
The shooting murder of Boris Azarov, a high-level Russian scientist conducting secret psychological research, propels Ryan s excellent third pre-WWII thriller featuring Alexei Korolev, a Moscow CID detective (after 2012 s The Darkening Field). Korolev, a methodical, almost plodding investigator, gets assigned to the case, but he soon realizes that several arms of the secret police either want him to back off entirely or to arrest someone just to clear the books. Korolev gets a quick demonstration of the power he s up against: his 12-year-old son, Yuri, is kidnapped amid subtle assurances that the boy will be returned safely if Korolev goes with the flow. While the police work will keep readers engaged, the series chief strength comes from Ryan s skillful evocation of everyday life under Stalin. Ordinary Soviet citizens, Korolev included, have become resigned to all forms of corruption and hypocrisy, yet must still wear the mask of communist devotion.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This one is as good as the other two right up to the end. When the author just confused me to tie up the loose ends. Maybe it made sense to smarter readers than me.