cover image The Dog Who Bit a Policeman

The Dog Who Bit a Policeman

Stuart M. Kaminsky. Mysterious Press, $21.5 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-89296-667-7

One of the most prolific mystery writers working today, Kaminsky is also one of the best, as he demonstrates in this 12th installment of his deliciously mordant series about Moscow cop Porfiry Rostnikov. Rostnikov, a weight-lifting, one-legged inspector, is a sharp and caring policeman, as well as the perfect tour guide to a changing--i.e., disintegrating--Russia. Now working in the Office of Special Investigation under a corrupt but efficient boss known as the Yak, Rostnikov has been promoted and promised full support ""if one or more of the varied criminal organizations and the confused state bureaucracy attempted to impede the performance of his duties."" To this point, the Yak has held on to the allegiance of Rostnikov and his staff, which includes a mad pathologist who talks to cadavers; an obsessive detective called Emil Karpo, ""the Vampire,"" who spends ""all his waking hours relentlessly pursuing criminals from both the past and present""; and Rostnikov's son Iosef, a failed actor/playwright and veteran of the conflict in Afghanistan. While Rostnikov and Karpo try to head off a war between two Mafia leaders, Iosef and his partner are looking into the latest disappearance of a popular, Yeltsin-esque politician with a drinking problem. Another pair of detectives pose as Ukrainian high-rollers to infiltrate a burgeoning business in illegal dogfights--hence the title for this beautifully researched and energetically written story. Kaminsky won an Edgar for A Cold Red Sunrise, the fourth book in the series. This effort is even better. (July) FYI: Kaminsky also writes the Toby Peters series and the Abe Lieberman books.