Russian thrillers

I’d like to take a break from INSIDE THE WEATHER CHANNEL briefly and write about three very good thrillers I’ve read recently.

It’s rare I find three consecutive novels that keep me eagerly turning pages, but Moscow Rules, Child 44 and City of Thieves did it.

Curiously, all three were set in Russia. I didn’t pick the books for that reason; it just worked out that way.

Each novel is set in a different historical era. Moscow Rules (for which Russia is the primary backdrop but not the only one), by Daniel Silva, deals with contemporary Russia, black market arms dealers and Israeli spies. Silva is proving to be one of the best thriller writers in the business, creating not only gripping suspense but characters of great depth.

Child 44 is the debut novel of Tom Rob Smith. It’s set largely in Josef Stalin’s Soviet Union. Smith paints a chilling picture of what it’s like to live in a police state. His protagonist faces overwhelming odds and there seems absolutely no way he or his family will escape the relentless death grip of State Security forces. The tale is full of twists and turns; the characters, fully developed and engaging. Child 44 was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the International Thriller Writers 2009 Best First Novel award.

City of Thieves, by David Benioff, is perhaps the most unforgettable of the three novels.
The backdrop is the Nazi’s World War II siege of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). The book portrays a grim and terrifying adventure set amidst starvation and brutality as two young men search for, of all things, a dozen eggs in order to avoid being executed by a Russian Army colonel. Despite the bleak setting, the memorable characters weave dark humor into an otherwise savage environment.

I’ll be back with more from INSIDE THE WEATHER CHANNEL in a couple of days.

Photo: Three new (in paperback) and very good thrillers.
MOSCOW RULES by Daniel Silva.

CHILD 44 by Tom Rob Smith.

CITY OF THIEVES by David Benioff.


  1. John Tabellione on April 27, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Buzz – Thanks for the tip. I am a huge fan of Daniel Silva. Look forward to reading the other two recommendations.

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