Thrillers should thrill. Novels set in Russia/Soviet Union are a familiar sight on book shelves and there are some outstanding examples. Abson is competing with Tom Rob Smith’s Child 44; Martin Cruz Smith’s Wolves eat Dogs; and Lionel Davidson’s Kolyma Heights. He doesn’t succeed. So if you haven’t read them I’d read them first.
This doesn’t mean this is a poor book. Far from it. It’s a classic page turner, which I read quite happily. Abson tries too hard for authenticity. Pages have Russian words scattered across them. It reads like Назначения. None add to the story.
Otherwise, as in a traditional thriller, the goodies are triumphant even if battered and bruised. There are some very good touches and some detail which did add to the story. Better than average.