It’s 1937 and at the close of a particularly harsh winter, Moscow Militia detective Captain Alexei Korolev receives an ominous knock on the door in the dead of night.
Korolev- despite recently being decorated after the events in William Ryan‘s cracking previous novel, The Holy Thief – expects the worse – to be dispatched to certain death in one of Siberia’s frozen prison camps.
However, he is, in fact, sent off to a film set in Odessa, to investigate the apparent suicide of a young woman who was a ‘very close’ friend of the Commissar for State Security.
Like The Holy Thief,The Bloody Meadowthrobs with a sense of paranoia and fear, as Korolev carefully negotiates the tangled spider web of Stalinist Russia while trying to get to the bottom of the case. The Bloody Meadow is an immensely satisfying murder mystery that is packed with great characters -including some familiar faces from The Holy Thief – and strong on atmosphere. Korolev himself is a particularly likeable protagonist who constantly struggles with the duality of his position and the need to do the right thing.
Ryan’s great descriptive skills are really to the fore in The Bloody Meadow, which is sometimes so richly cinematic the it makes you wish that Carole Reed were still alive in order to faithfully adapt the book for the silver screen.
The Bloody Meadow is a fantastic follow up to The Holy Thief, which comfortably confirms the Korolev series as must reads and William Ryan as very much ‘the real deal.’