Sergei Lebedev, trans. from the Russian by Antonina W. Bouis. New Vessel, $22.95 (242p) ISBN 978-1-939931-90-0
The Russian government’s poisoning of political enemies provides the backdrop for this timely thriller from Russian author Lebedev (The Year of the Comet). Professor Kalitin, a chemist who’s working on developing an untraceable poison he calls Neophyte, had been a loyal subject of the Communist regime in its waning days. When the Soviet Union collapses, he decides to defect to the West. After another defector is killed using Neophyte, two Russian generals decide the chemist must be eliminated. Lieutenant Colonel Shershnev is assigned to direct an operation to assassinate Kalitin. Lebedev uses flashbacks to build complicated characters and intensify the plot, but these sometimes slow and confuse. Assured prose is a plus (“He wept with tears postponed for two decades, no longer salty; belated, warm, ugly, desired”), but the weak ending will disappoint genre readers, as will the lack of action and heroic characters. Those who prefer a more literary approach will enjoy the change of pace. Agent: Galina Dursthoff, Galina Dursthoff Literary (Germany). (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/17/2020
Release date: 02/01/2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Open Ebook - 978-1-939931-91-7
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