Reviewed by: Keith Nixon
Approximate word count: 10-15,000 words
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Alex Shaw was a drama teacher in an international school based in Kyiv until he left to set up his own consultancy business.
Hetman, the author’s first novel, took 12 years to write, subsequently followed up by Cold Black. Both were Kindle bestsellers.
You can learn more about the author at his website.
Gennady Dudka is head of the Organised Crime and Corruption Unit in the Ukranian SBU. He is tasked with finding out who is masterminding a series of audacious raids on armoured cars. The timing couldn’t be worse. In a week’s time the Ukraine is hosting an Interpol conference. Dudka must track down the people responsible - or face the consequences.
This is an interesting novella. It is clear the author, even without reading his bio, is very knowledgeable when it comes to the Ukraine, its people, politics, food and culture. And that adds a dimension to this story that I’ve not come across before. There’s a very strong sense of place within, what it’s like to live and operate within the country, the detail stretches down even to the level of bread consumption.
That’s not to say that this detail dwarfs the story, far from it. The descriptions are light and support the action. In fact it is the politics – crime and corruption within the SBU – that drives this tale and one man, Dudka, who is brave enough to tackle it, albeit in a pragmatic fashion.
The characters are well done too, again they fit with the location and atmosphere Shaw creates, as does the dialogue. The action clips along with the odd twist and turn en route as Dudka tracks down his man and saves the day.
This is a well written short story, I’d like to know more about Dudka and the Ukraine. Well worth looking out.
Nothing of note.
A small number not worth mentioning.
Rating: **** Four Stars