Two Leaps Across a Chasm: A Russian Mystery

Nikolai Aleksandrov, Author Gale Cengage $20 (322p) ISBN 978-0-684-19415-8
Firsthand insights into the paradoxes of glasnost and perestroika aid but add no luster to this mystery of corruption in the Gorbachev-era Soviet Union, written by a former Moscow police investigator. Journalist Sergei Orlovsky travels to Arshalsk to uncover a scandal in the militia and quickly finds himself in mortal danger. With the help of boyhood friend Yuri Kirilov, a Moscow obstetrician, Orlovsky evades his pursuers and returns to Moscow to publish an expose. But the article is squelched, all copies mysteriously confiscated, and both Orlovsky and Kirilov come in for scrutiny from detective Lt. Col. Voshko. When Voshko in turn finds himself under investigation, these three men learn that the scandal reaches far beyond Arshalsk to involve the Mafia, black marketeers, the Nomenklatura, generals and top government officials. In the telling of this story, however, Aleksandrov and Olcott create little suspense and much confusion. Many characters--especially the conspirators--are rendered so superficially that one blends into another. Weighted further by a languid narrative voice and a muddled denouement, this disappointing and already dated first novel simply has too much to overcome. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
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