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.'
Moscow, 1936 and Stalin's Great Terror is beginning. In a deconsecrated Church, a young woman is found dead, her mutilated body displayed on the altar for all to see. Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Moscow Militia, is asked to investigate. But when he discovers that the victim is an American citizen, the NKVD - the most feared organisation in Russia - becomes involved. As more bodies are discovered and the pressure from above builds, Korolev begins to question who he can trust; and who, in this Russia where fear, uncertainty and hunger prevails, are the real criminals. Soon, Korolev will find not only his moral and political ideals threatened, but also his life...
|Publication date:||7th May 2010|
|Publisher:||Mantle an imprint of Pan Macmillan|
|Primary Genre||Thriller and Suspense|
Moscow, 1936, and Captain Alexei Korolev is making his mark with the Criminal Investigation Division. The mutilated body of a young woman is discovered on the altar of a deconsecrated church, and Alexei is assigned to investigate the killing. But the woman is an American citizen, and the much-loathed NKVD starts to muscle in; Alexei finds that both he and his investigation are under a microscope. He is aware that a wrong move may propel him into the frigid wasteland of the far north, so he tries a risky strategy: he infiltrates the dangerous world of Moscow’s criminal classes. Bodies begin to accumulate, and Alexei finds that not just his life but his political and religious ideals are on the line. In The Holy Thief, William Ryan demonstrates considerable skill in evoking this benighted period, along with a deftness at ringing the changes on familiar crime-plotting moves.
William Ryan is an Irish writer, living in London - having worked as a lawyer in the City for a number of years. In his spare time, he wrote on an occasional basis for television and film before completing a Masters in Creative Writing at St Andrews University in 2005. His debut novel, THE HOLY THIEF, is the first in a series of cases and adventures for Alexei Korolev, a detective working for the Moscow Criminal Investigation Division in 1930s Russia. Author photo copyright © Kate EshelbyMore About William Ryan