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The fifth novel in the Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov series offers another example of Kaminsky's ( A Fine Red Rain ) ability to spin a gripping, well-paced narrative peopled with vivid characters. Here the maverick Rostnikov, demoted after numerous battles with the KGB, is assigned to the case of Commissar Illya Rutkin, who was killed in Siberia while investigating the death of dissident Lev Samsonov's daughter, Karla. Inspector Emil Karpo, who accompanies the 54-year-old weightlifting policeman to the small town of Tumsk, has been asked by the KGB to report on his superior. Comrade Sokolov goes along, too, ostensibly to learn procedures, though Rostnikov knows his methods are under scrutiny. A realist and keen observer of humanity, Rostnikov deals shrewdly with the suspects in Rutkin's slaying: Lev Samsonov and his wife, Ludmilla; custodians Liana and Sergei Mirasnikov; Dimitri Galich, a former priest; and militarist General Krasnikov. As Rostnikov unravels the baffling crime, the clues point to loyalty and love as the motives for murder. The denouement is stunning and again proves Rostnikov is in a class by himself. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
The death of a dissident's daughter in the remote Siberian cold leads to an investigation. The subsequent death of the ineffectual investigator results in Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov packing his cold-weather clothes and heading north. The fifth work in this series finds Rostnikov's career stuck fast, owing largely to official displeasure at his unorthodox brilliance. His wife is ill, and his son, partly due to bureaucratic revenge on Porfiry, is soldiering somewhere in Afghanistan. The climate and isolation of the murder scene lead to an agreeably short list of suspects for the inspector and his assistant, the robotic, physically daunting Karpo; unexpected interference, however, is encountered from on high. The author has fine-tuned Porfiry and Karpo into a delightful sleuthing team and a fascinating study in odd contrasts. Kaminsky's warm affection for his characters makes for a winning series. PLR.