Following his investigations in The Holy Thief, which implicated those at the very top of authority in Soviet Russia, Captain Alexei Korolev finds himself decorated and hailed as an example to all Soviet workers. But Korolev lives in an uneasy peace – his new-found knowledge is dangerous, and if it is discovered what his real actions were during the case, he will face deportation to the frozen camps of the far north.
But when the knock on the door comes, in the dead of night, it is not Siberia Korolev is destined for. Instead, Colonel Rodinov of the NKVD security service asks the detective to look into the suspected suicide of a young woman: Maria Alexandovna Lenskaya, a model citizen. Korolev is unnerved to learn that Lenskaya had been of interest to Ezhov, the feared Commissar for State Security. Ezhov himself wants to matter looked into.
And when the detective arrives on the set for Bloody Meadow, in the bleak, battle-scarred Ukraine, he soon discovers that there is more to Lenskaya's death than meets the eye . . .
Korolev nodded, thinking of the dead girl, and wondering whether, these days, it was such a good thing to be Commissar Ezhov’s friend . . .
Russia, 1937. In Moscow, Stalin’s purges are reaching their darkest hour.
Meanwhile Korolev, a police investigator, must travel to the bleak, battle-scarred Ukraine – scene of some of Stalin’s bloodiest crimes – to look into the mysterious death of a young woman. The victim, a beautiful film production assistant, had made both powerful friends and terrible enemies . . .
‘The Holy Thief, set in Stalin’s Russia, was one of last year’s most impressive crime fiction debuts. The Bloody Meadow, William Ryan’s follow-up, does not disappoint . . . Ryan has obviously done much research into that sinister period of Russian history and manages to convey its claustrophobic atmosphere brilliantly’ Marcel Berlins, The Times
‘Every bit as darkly compelling as its predecessor’ Daily Express
‘An outstanding thriller’ Independent Ireland