The Body Outside the Kremlin

Delphinium. Jan. 2020. 408p. ISBN 9781883285845. pap. $27.95. suspense
DEBUT A monastery’s icons fuel a plot set at the accursed Solovetsky Archipelago, an outpost in Russia’s frozen north. In 1926, Tolya, a math student sentenced to several years of hard labor for a juvenile political insult, struggles to survive. He is temporarily assigned to aid Petrovich, once an Odessa cop and now also a political convict. Their task is to discover who murdered an art restorer at a nearby museum promoting antireligion themes but still conserving the icons. Loving detektiv stories, Tolya is an active partner, but to his horror he becomes the murderer’s target. The pair make a breakthrough when a bewitching woman convict decides to help them.
VERDICT Solovetsky Island is where many of the techniques used in the Soviet labor camp system were developed to murderous effect. May’s writing seamlessly integrates his detailed research into this experimental prison camp with the intrigues of criminals intent on looting religious treasures. Tolya relates his terrible story years later, during Khruschev’s era of the thaw. May, the author of short fiction and reviews, has made this debut novel a masterful historical detektiv tale.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

Get access to 8000+ annual reviews of books, ebooks, and more

As low as $13.50/month