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This title reads like short stories woven together, one of which concerns the Trans-Siberian Express. Only half-way through the book does our protagonist get on the train.  The details of the train and Siberia read like excerpts from Wikipedia.  


Though it is presented as a police procedural with the three teams of detectives working separate cases, pace Ed McBain's 87th precinct, the ominous villain on the train and the plot that leads to the train is more of the thriller.   Credulity replaces credibility.

The three stories are told back to front in alternative chunks of prose, which this reader finds confusing and distracting.  

Though Porfiry Petrovich Rostnikov is the central, continuing character in this series, endowed with an artificial leg to give him some distinction, I found him to be hallow.  Tap, tap there is nothing inside.  He is very polite, very patient, very clever....  he has a family....  our hero is motivated by justice but the boss is ambitious for political power and is more interested in accumulating files on those he can manipulate than banging up crims. So far, so carbon copy.

The three cases.
1. The subway stabber who is a nutter of no interest. This one is a procedural.  Much plod and a trap that almost backfires.  
2. The mysterious object on the train which turns out to be very little as far as I could tell. The thriller.
3. The kidnapping of the heavy metal musician whose kidnapping was arranged by his father to teach the prick a lesson. I identified with the father on this one.

IMG_3564.jpg The Trans-Siberian railroad in October 2016 when we crossed it.

This is one of dozens of titles by this author, and to this reader it has the same narrative structure of the one other one of his I tried to read.  All done by the numbers.  Yet the cover proclaims it to be a best seller and it was published by a reputable firm. Go figure.

Kaminsky.jpg Stuart Kaminsky

There are some soppy comments on the blanket of white snow in Moscow. Anyone who have lived in a big city will realise snow is usually grey like the sky until it turns brown from the pollution and churned up by cars and pedistrians into brown sludge.   There is nothing nice about it after thirty-six hours.

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Thoughts on the canon of poltical theory and life.

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