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Nadelson, Reggie - 'Londongrad'
Paperback: 320 pages (June 2009) Publisher: Atlantic Books ISBN: 184354833X

Most of the early action in LONDONGRAD occurs in New York where we are introduced to Russian born FBI detective Artie Cohen. However, the story subsequently moves onto London and ultimately Moscow.

Artie is on the desolate fringe of New York City, where Queens meets Brooklyn and he is stopped by a frantic child who leads him to a derelict playground next to a block of apartments and hesitatingly shows him a dead girl rocking on a swing and covered from head to toe in silver duct tape. The dead girl becomes known as the "Mummy Girl".

As Artie starts to investigate the minimal leads of the case, a calamity strikes as the daughter of his friend Tolya goes missing. The trail leads to London - to Londongrad, emigre home to 250,000 Russians - oligarchs, city traders, restaurateurs, asylum seekers, the rich and the not so rich, in their Little Russia at the heart of the British capital. He then accompanies Tolya to Moscow where the exciting conclusion occurs.

This was a very unusual novel in a series that I'm pleased to have been introduced to and the author cuts the action skilfully between, New York, London and Moscow and always with a compelling sense of atmosphere. She appears to write with an innate understanding of Russian expatriate society that makes one forget about the stereotype Russians you see in films and plays and she seems to see the very essence of being in those particular individuals who seem lost abroad, without the necessary comforts to remind them of life in Mother Russia.

The book is full of terrifying incidents, mysterious warnings in blood and men who are not what they seem. Artie Cohen is a very unusual policeman, and the Russian emigre community he is part of, is a particularly attractive yet uniquely different one at the moment. I will certainly look out for further books by Reggie Nadelson.

Terry Halligan, England
September 2009

More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 27/09/2009 11:22