I've always enjoyed Martin Cruz Smith's novels, and this one has not disappointed me. Good, listenable dialog and many interesting facts about the Russian culture and the aftermath of the USSR's involvement in Afganistan and WWII wrapped up in a solid engrossing plot line. Read very well, too.
I would highly recommend this author to anyone who liked early le Carre or enjoys Alan Furst. If they like the more popular authors, Clancy, et al, they might find it a little dull.
This book is part of a trilogy, (at least), so I'd have trouble separating incidences. Overall it was suspenseful, without a lot of gratuitous gore, something I like. The book kept my interest consistently, but without huge and stupid violent scenes. A tightly written book.
Two faults: While I don't expect this sort of book to be realistic, there were moments when I had the "yeah, right", response to plot points. Still, it was far better than most of the more popular author's works. And, the reader cannot read women's voices. He makes the story sound like it occurs in a world consisting of heterosexual men and drag queens. I hate to be that critical, it's hard to "voice" your opposite sex, but it was distracting. Overall, a very enjoyable thriller.
This may deserve a little better rating, but the book wasn't to my taste. I believe another reviewer stated that this is a story told through dialog. That's true and it's well done, but I listen to this kind of stuff for entertainment and the method of story telling limits action more than I realized it would. Another petty beef is that I need to have a character I like to really enjoy this kind of story, a tale like this is just grim if there isn't someone for me to root for, and I didn't find anyone that appealed to me.
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