cover image The Woman from Prague

The Woman from Prague

Rob Hart. Polis, $25 (304p) ISBN 978-1-943818-47-1

Set in Prague, Hart’s Kafkaesque fourth novel featuring amateur PI Ash McKenna (after 2016’s South Village) has great pace, a fascinating relationship between the central characters, and superb atmosphere. Driven from his New York City home by his personal demons, Ash has nearly come to the end of his three-month visa in Prague when he encounters a latter-day Mephistopheles calling himself Roman and claiming to be an emissary of a shadowy unnamed U.S. government agency. By threatening Ash’s mother, Roman compels Ash to retrieve a thumb drive or small laptop from a brash Czech spook, Samantha Sobolik, supposedly a U.S. bank employee. The job explodes in their faces, hurling Ash and Sam headlong into murky international intrigue and corruption. Born out of the hard-boiled wisecracking tradition and able to swing his fists as well as Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer, Ash just wants to make someone’s life better, keep his mother safe, and pay homage to his father, a firefighter who died heroically on 9/11. Noir fans will be enthralled. Agent: Bree Ogden, D4EO Literary Agency. (July)