#1 in series

The Holy Thief

Book 1 in the series

3.68 based on 1412 ratings & 203 reviews on Goodreads.com
Pan

Publication date: 10.04.2014
ISBN: 9781447270133
Number of pages: 320

Synopsis

As Stalin's Great Terror begins, a killer strikes . . .

Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Moscow Militia, is asked to investigate. But when he discovers that the victim is an American citizen, the NKVD - the most feared organisation in Russia - becomes involved.

As more bodies are discovered and the pressure from above builds, Korolev begins to question who he can trust; and who, in this Russia where fear, uncertainty and hunger prevails, are the real criminals. Soon, Korolev will find not only his moral and political ideals threatened, but also his life . . .

Shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger, the Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year and the Irish Fiction Award.

In the media

Impressive debut... The Great Terror's atmosphere of fear and paranoia is well portrayed, and Korolev is an appealing hero
The Times
It is rare to meet a genuinely exciting new voice in crime fiction. Ex-City lawyer William Ryan should definitely give up the day job, because he is a writer through and through, and in this first novel he establishes what promises to be a rewarding series. Ryan's research is impressive . . . More importantly, the way his people think and speak under duress has the feel of eye-witness reportage. The city life - the feral street-children who have a ragged copy of Sherlock Holmes, the thugs who run the underworld that flourishes under the biggest thug of all, Stalin - is terrifyingly believable, while scenes like that of a pathologist and police-photographer chummily swigging post-mortem vodka out of sample jars give a tragicomic sense of humanity preserved. Ryan writes with narrative drive and urgency, real sense of place, and a central character who is conflicted, moral, and above all likeable. Any one of these things is a rarity; the combination is whodunnit heaven
Times Literary Supplement
A subtle, superb mystery, a wonderful central character and with a sense of place and period to rival even the greatest of the Russian masters. More please!
Kate Mosse