cover image Moscow Twilight

Moscow Twilight

William E. Holland. Pocket Books, $20 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-74643-8

During what seems to be the botched holdup of an expensive, private Moscow restaurant in 1989, CIA station chief Charles Hutchins is murdered; his body is found mysteriously absent of identification, and the beautiful Russian woman who was dining with him vanishes. KGB captain Sergo Chanturia, a Georgian who is beginning to have doubts about the faltering Soviet system, is in charge of the investigation. The CIA man's best friend in the U.S. Embassy, cultural attache Ben Martin, a college professor who will soon return to academia, also looks into the death, ruffling the feathers of the new CIA station chief. With the Cold War thawing, Chanturia and Martin eventually join together to track down Hutchins's murderers-- aided by the beautiful Russian, whom Martin finds and falls in love with. They uncover a conspiracy that includes stolen nuclear fuel, the Soviet ``Mafia,'' corrupt KGB agents, Ceausescu-era Romanian secret police and the Iraqi military. A New York lawyer who acts as an adviser to Western companies doing business in the former Soviet Union, Holland offers a story that relies too much on coincidence and features heroes who escape difficult situations with unbelievable ease. Still, the characters are appealing, and his setting--a crumbling Soviet Union--is convincingly drawn. (July)