The Darkening Field by William Ryan

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A dedicated policeman caught in terrifying circumstances, Captain Alexei Korolev of Criminal Investigation Division of the Moscow Militia may be unwavering in his outward party loyalty but he is forever conflicted about what he must do to maintain that good standing.

It is 1937, and Korolev finds himself on an airplane bound for Odessa after the suspicious suicide of Maria Alexandrovna Lenskaya, a loyal young party member who supposedly had an illicit intimate relationship with the party director. His instructions are to determine if her suicide was actually a cover-up for murder, and if so, to find her killer, but under no circumstances reveal her close ties to the director.

Maria was working on the set of a movie subsidized by the state, and between everyone involved in the production, her journalist boyfriend, and countless nosy locals, the pool of possible suspects is large and daunting. Korolev finds help from several quarters that are every bit as ominous as they are useful, but none of them can make up for the one important fact of his case which he cannot discuss.

Moral, loyal, and also committed to justice, Captain Alexei Korolev is trapped between the demands of the party and those of the truth. As a result he is one of the most intriguing figures in crime fiction, and he makes The Darkening Field another shocking and devastatingly true-to-history thriller from William Ryan.


About William Ryan

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WILLIAM RYAN is the author of The Holy Thief, which was a Barry Award Nominee for Best First Novel and shortlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Ryan attended Trinity College, Dublin and completed his Masters in Creative Writing at St. Andrews University. He lives in London. This is his third novel.
Published January 3, 2012 by Minotaur Books. 333 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Darkening Field

Kirkus Reviews

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These are people to whom all publicity is bad publicity, and for whom Karolev has become the go-to guy whenever there’s a sticky situation like this one: On a movie set near Odessa, a young woman commits suicide, a young and beautiful party member famously connected to a super-powerful party member.

Jan 18 2012 | Read Full Review of The Darkening Field

Publishers Weekly

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Ryan’s compelling if less than fully satisfying second Stalin-era thriller (after 2010’s The Holy Thief) takes Moscow CID detective Alexei Korolev to 1937 Odessa to look into the apparent suicide of Maria Lenskaya, a production assistant on a movie called The Darkening Field, found hanging in...

Nov 21 2011 | Read Full Review of The Darkening Field

Book Reporter

Commissar Ezhov, head of the NKVD and aide to Stalin, needs Korolev to investigate the apparent suicide of a close personal friend of his: a young woman named Maria Alexandrovna Lenskaya, a loyal party member and semi-famous Russian film star.

Jan 26 2012 | Read Full Review of The Darkening Field

Look At OKC

Korolev is a dedicated investigator for the Moscow militia who is sent to Odessa to investigate the suspicious death of a young woman who was working for a state-sponsored movie company.

Mar 04 2012 | Read Full Review of The Darkening Field

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