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Friday, December 07, 2012

Goodreads | Eric_W Welch (Forreston, IL)'s review of A Cold Red Sunrise

Goodreads | Eric_W Welch (Forreston, IL)'s review of A Cold Red Sunrise:

The old saying "red sky at night, sailor's delight; red sky in morning, sailors take warning," apparently has some scientific validity. It even appears in the Bible (Matthew XVI:2-3) Something to do with the refraction of sunlight through dust particles at night meaning a high pressure and fair weather is on the horizon whereas in the morning, deep red means it's shining through a lot of water content in the clouds. Or something like that.

Whether Kaminsky had anything like that in mind with this title I have no idea, but it certainly reflects the trouble Inspector Rostnikov is headed for when he's sent to look into the murder of another inspector in outermost Siberia who was killed while investigating the killing of a dissident's child.

Kaminsky writes with great authority of Russia: its culture and history. While some readers may find the little historical snippets of Siberia distracting, I did not. I love that kind of background and setting. Kaminsky does it well: informative without being intrusive. The insertion of numerous Russian words I'll have to take on faith as being correct since I know no Russian at all.

My favorite character, I think is Emil Karpo who totally buffaloes the KGB masters with his totally PC responses to their queries and they have no idea if he's making fun of them or not. The scene where his supervisor accuses him of visiting a prostitute is classic. "That I meet this woman is true. That our meeting is intimate is also true. That it represents a weakness I also confirm. I find that I am not completely able to deny my animalism and that I can function, do the work of the state to which I have been assigned, with greater efficiency if I allow myself this indulgence rather than fight against it."

Both he and Rostnikov have been demoted and transferred to the traffic division, but the KGB knows Rostnikov to be a talented detective, but one who bears a lot of watching. In some respects, Rostnikov reminded me a little of Leon's Brunetti, a thoroughly honest cop surrounded by corruption and idiotic bureaucracy run by the clueless. There's a side plot involving another Rostnikov mentor, but I'll not reveal the plot.

Note: I remain a little puzzled why this book was distributed as an ARC, which is how I got it, since it's been available for several years. (Publishers Weekly reviewed it in 1988.) The same was true of another book, Crashed by Hallinan. There would seem to be plenty of reviews out there, so I'm not sure why more would be needed.

Then again, never look a gift horse in the mouth and I was pleased to read this and am happy to provide a review. I certainly enjoyed the book and will read more in the Rostnikov series. It has also encouraged me to purchase several other Rostnikov titles for my Kindle.

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