Medallion, Jun 2008, $25.95
In 1985 in Western Ukraine, Chernobyl engineer Mihaly Horvath is upset at what is going on at the nuclear plant. He believes safety is being ignored and unnecessary risks taken. His brother Lazlo, a Kiev detective, investigates the unclear facility, which angers his bosses, brings him and his family to the attention of the KGB and the CIA. However, the biggest stunner for Lazlo is to learn his family man sibling is having an affair with Chernobyl technician Juli Popovics.
When the Chernobyl plant explodes, Mihaly is among the dead. Lazlo wonders if his sibling was murdered to conceal incompetence and corruption. Juli informs him that she is pregnant carrying his brother’s child. Meanwhile KGB major Grigor Komarov insures nothing but radiation leaks out of the Ukraine; he executes those who know the truth with an eye on the prize replacing Gorbachev as the Soviet Union teeters. Falling in love Lazlo and Juli flee for their lives from this incessant maniac who needs these witnesses dead before they reach the west.
Although there is an exciting Cold War murder mystery with an exhilarating chase, the star of this explosive thriller is the Chernobyl tragedy whose face will always be Nadia. The story line is fast-paced as the events leading to the nuclear explosion unfolds through the brothers, but it is the aftermath that grips the audience without the plot turning overly melodramatic. The Soviet control of media leakage (think what You Tube could have done in the 1980s with Nadia the Olympics Gold innocent and the Nadia the radioactive victim) and killing anyone who would pose a threat, but unable to control radioactive leakage that makes this a sensational thriller.