Hard Currency

Steven Owad. Five Star, $25.95 (264p) ISBN 978-1-4328-2579-9
The apparent suicide of Krystyna Krol, who overdosed on drugs, propels Owad’s middling mystery set in 1992 postcommunist Poland. Krystyna’s estranged brother, Julian, a former political activist who’s now a reporter in Warsaw, senses that something is amiss: his university-educated sister, skilled in foreign languages, abhorred drugs and had a promising future. As Kroll puts his investigative instincts into play and interviews the overworked medical examiner, the caustic police lieutenant in charge of the case, and Krystyna’s cynical roommates, a disturbing picture emerges of his sister, whose private life had troubling connections to the corrupt bureaucracy that flourished under communism. Owad (Brother’s Keeper) presents an unremittingly bleak view of a dystopian society whose drunken citizens live in cities plagued with rotting infrastructures and greedy officials. Cluttered with chaotic episodes and thin characterizations, this convoluted tale is barely saved by a rousing finale in a salt mine. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/23/2012
Release date: 07/01/2012
Genre: Fiction
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