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  • Title: Black Wolf
  • Author: G.D. Abson
  • Publisher: Mirror Books
  • Publication Date: 16th May 2019

Copy received from publisher for review purposes.

Description

FROM THE AUTHOR OF SUNDAY TIMES CRIME CLUB STAR PICK MOTHERLAND.

A young woman is found dead on the outskirts of St Petersburg on a freezing January morning. There are no signs of injury, and heavy snowfall has buried all trace of an attacker.

Captain Natalya Ivanova’s investigation quickly links the victim to the Decembrists, an anti-Putin dissident group whose acts of civil disobedience have caught the eye of the authorities. And Natalya soon realises she is not the only one interested in the case, as government security services wade in and shut down her investigation almost before it has begun.

Before long, state media are spreading smear stories about the dead woman, and Natalya suspects the authorities have something to hide. When a second rebel activist goes missing, she is forced to go undercover to expose the truth. But the stakes are higher than ever before. Not only could her pursuit of the murderer destroy her career, but her family ties to one of the victims threaten to tear her personal life apart.

A captivating, pacy thriller that plunges right into the beating heart of Putin’s Russia.

My Thoughts:

After reading the first book in this series, I didn’t think that this author could possibly match the explosive and taut brilliance of Motherland, but I was wrong! Black Wolf is absolutely amazing, the plot is thrilling, the characters are superb and the pace is like a whirlwind!

Black Wolf sees the reader catching up with Captain Natalya Ivanova, a detective with a difference in the corrupt and often murky world of Russian policing. Following on from the politics in Motherland, life has become testing for Natalya. Wrapping up her previous case left her seeing the corruption that was rife around her within her department, and also made things difficult for her husband who worked in the office. A promotion means that her personal life is threatened with destruction, and so it’s good that she has a case to work on over the Christmas period.

The case that Natalya and her deputy are working on is a troubling one, a the body of a young woman has been discovered in the snow in the outskirts of St. Petersburg, but once the connection is made to a group anti-Putin protestors the case suddenly becomes a whole lot more dangerous. Something about the case soon catches the attention of the government security agency and Natalya is warned off, but subtle hints never work on the headstrong detective, ensuring that readers have an adrenaline packed read ahead.
Operating undercover, Natalya is never far from danger and although she tries to limit the involvement of her colleagues, there are plenty who will help her. They believe she is a good detective and will get the much needed answers to solve the case, even if they do end up risking their own necks in the process.

Much life Motherland, Black Wolf portrays a fantastic image of the Russian wilderness, the harsh and biting cold of the season is so well described that I felt myself shuddering at mentions of trekking through the cold, or removing gloves to be able to use phones. The feeling menace that lurked throughout the plot was enough to keep me on edge reading this but also ensured that I was hooked. The writing is taut and punchy, meaning that I could not put this book down, it’s one of those “just one more chapter” books, where you find that you’ve read well into the wee hours but you don’t care because you need to know what happens.

As the plot opens up and the characters continue to develop in complexity, the reader is rewarded with a truly exceptional novel that takes them on a journey into the dark and dangerous side of Russian corruption, the unknown looms menacingly as the reader turns the pages. Although some forms of corruption may seem obvious, their motivations albeit flawed, some believe their actions are the right course or the only course of action. Others are just morally corrupt, their motivations purely self-serving and acting in their own interest which makes things all the more frightening, wondering how far they are willing to go to achieve their goals.
Writing like this, Abson ensures that he snares the interest of his readers, grabs their attention and does not let up.

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