Stuart M. Kaminsky won an Edgar for A Cold Red Sunrise, the fourth book in his deliciously mordant series about Moscow cop Porfiry Rostnikov, and number 12, The Dog Who Bit a Policeman, might be even better. Rostnikov, a one-legged inspector who lifts weights and sleeps in a black T-shirt emblazoned with "The Truth Is Out There" in white letters, is one of the most engaging and relevant characters in recent crime fiction, a sharp and caring policeman as well as the perfect tour guide to a changing (that is, disintegrating) Russia. Now working in the Office of Special Investigation under a corrupt but efficient boss known as the Yak, Rostnikov has been promoted and promised full support "if one or more of the varied criminal organizations and the confused state bureaucracy attempted to impede the performance of his duties. Up to now, the Yak had been as good as his word and had successfully bought the loyalty of Rostnikov and his staff." That staff, as rich as in a work by Gogol, includes a mad pathologist who talks to cadavers; an obsessive detective called Emil Karpo, "the Vampire," who spends "all his waking hours relentlessly pursuing criminals from both the past and present"; and Rostnikov's son Iosef, a failed actor/playwright and veteran of the war in Afghanistan. While Porfiry and Karpo try to head off a war between two Mafia leaders, Iosef and his partner are looking into the latest disappearance of a popular, Yeltsinesque politician with a drinking problem. Another pair of detectives pose as Ukrainian high rollers to infiltrate a burgeoning business in illegal dogfights--hence the possibly ungrammatical (shouldn't it be "The Dog That..." rather than "The Dog Who..."?) but definitely appropriate title for this beautifully researched and energetically written story.|
Source: Dick Adler, Amazon.com.