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Reading is my addiction... I read paranormal romance, urban fantasy, science fiction and fantasy, young adult, romance and historical romance. I am part of the blogging team over at Badass Book Reviews: http://badassbookreviews.com 

The Holy Thief: A Novel

The Holy Thief: A Novel - William Ryan I won this book in the Goodreads First Reads giveaway. I received an Advance Readers Edition which contained an audio excerpt of the first 15 pages of the book. Intrigued, I decided to listen to the CD first. I am glad I did; some of those Russian names are a little difficult to pronounce. The CD did not match the book exactly, it looks like some additional editing had been done.The Holy Thief is set in Stalinist Russia. The historical context felt authentic. The Russian population was nervous - everyone was afraid of being arrested, tortured, or shot. People were suffering from serious shortages of the basic necessitities of life. Shortages of food, clothing, and shelter were common. Korolev, the main character makes observations about the shortages of basic toiletries such as soap. During this time period, many religious artifacts were being removed from the churches and sent abroad. The Holy Thief follows the brutal murders of several people who were associated with this trade. Captain Korolev of the Moscow Criminal Investigative Division is assigned to the case. At this point, I did have the CSI:Moscow image in my head, but without The Who soundtrack. Korolev is an interesting character. I was picturing a Columbo type - a little crumpled, a little overweight. Korolev is in his forties, and has been a detective for a while. His solve rate is high, and as a result, he was offered a better (shared) apartment in a nicer neighborhood. He is intuitive, resourceful, and diplomatic. Korolev was able to work discreetly with the American art dealer and the leader of the thieves. Korolev does get beat up a lot towards the end, suffering from several concussions.The story started off slowly for me. Perhaps it was because I am not familiar with Russian names. It did hold my interest and the last 10 chapters are very exciting. This is a good first novel for William Ryan and I hope that he continues to write.Side note - as I did receive an advance copy, I am hoping that the final copy will have better editing.