Author: Tom Rob Smith
Genre: Historical, Mystery Thriller
Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.7*)
To those who are new to the political and historical thriller like me, I think this book is a good gateway for reading other books in the thriller category. If you are a veteran of thrillers, I’m not sure how this book will sit but it’s a quick and enjoyable read.
I think this book does a good job with creating an atmosphere of fear due to the Communist leader, Stalin. The political issues themselves were simplified and focused on the fact that anyone could be convicted anywhere and anytime. There is a skewed sense of justice. The plot was a little predictable (even though I couldn’t guess it and I should have). There’s a murderer on the loose who is killing off children in bizarre ways so the plot is also pretty standard as far as thrillers go.
I think the strong point of this book is the relationship between the main character and his wife. I like how it’s different from the stereotypical role females play in thrillers when they are the wife of the main character. Their relationship is multifaceted and dynamic that plays off the individual personality. Their relationship comes under stress when the main character finds out something and everything he thought about his wife was inverted. I’m being vague so I don’t spoil anything.
Overall, a quick, enjoyable read with a Russian setting. In fact, a movie based on this book was released in April 2015 starring Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman. You can watch the trailer here.