Black Sun

Owen Matthews. Doubleday, $26.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-385-54340-8
In 1961, a fearsome new bomb is under development at Arzamas-16, a secret city deep within the Soviet Union, the setting for British author Matthews’s intriguing first novel, loosely based on a true story. Nine days before the nuclear device, which is capable of indescribable destruction, is to be tested for the first time, Fyodor Petrov, a brilliant young physicist working on the project, turns up dead from radiation poisoning. KGB investigator Alexander Vasin is dispatched from Moscow to determine whether Petrov was murdered and, if so, why. Matthews (Stalin’s Children) makes the most of this promising setup for a while, as Vasin navigates the insular politics and unspoken rules of Arzamas. He soon finds that the residents and the scientists at the bomb-making facility tend to close ranks in the face of outside scrutiny. Unfortunately, about midway through, the plot starts to take too many twists and turns. Readers looking for a historical re-creation and unusual locale—a city that exists on no maps, populated by a curious cast of characters—will welcome this promising if flawed entrant to the thriller genre. Agent: Toby Mundy, Toby Mundy Assoc. (U.K.). (July)
Reviewed on : 04/02/2019
Release date: 07/23/2019
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Book - 978-0-385-54341-5
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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