One of our Debuts of the Year 2011. March 2011 Debut of the Month. The Holy Thief brilliantly evokes a society that has broken down and rules of human behaviour that are hard for us to imagine. We are in Stalinist Russia between the wars. Everyone has to be careful of what they say and who they say it to .Young people have to learn when not to say what is on their minds. 'Even the innocent (are) jumping at shadows these days'. Rank is important. 'The colonel placed a slight emphasis on Korolev's rank, just enough to remind Korolev of the thinness of the ice under his feet'. In this world, Korolev is ordered to solve a gruesome murder but does the culprit exist inside or outside the system? Who can he trust? Where can he turn? Whatever he does, he has to tread carefully. This beautifully written, finely judged novel is up there with the likes of Le Carre, thoughtful and thought-provoking: intelligently written and thoroughly readable.
CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Finalist 2010. CWA Judges’ comments: 'This book gives the reader a powerful evocation of Stalin’s Russia where the need for unequivocal compliance with the new regime contrast with the optimism based on Stalin’s promises of change. Interwoven with this background is a tense, well-realised crime narrative of torture and violence that enmeshes an uneasy star of the Russian police, Alexei Korolev.'