Thursday, May 8, 2008

Volk’s Shadow-Brent Ghelfi

Volk’s Shadow
Brent Ghelfi
Holt, Jul 2008, $25.00
ISBN: 9780805082555

In Moscow, terrorists apparently bombed the headquarters of AMERCO, an American oil company. The attackers take over the oil company’s bombed out offices holding hostages. His superiors order Russian army Colonel "Volk" Volkovoy to breach the offices and do what it takes to bring down the Chechen terrorists.

However, nothing goes according to Volk’s plan as they seem to be waiting calmly for his arrival. Volk knows betrayal is the norm in Putin’s Russia, but wonders if he is to be sacrificed for someone’s promotion. He follows clues of criminal activity as he begins to doubt the Chechens had anything to do with the Moscow bombing. From the brothels of Moscow to Chechnya he runs into betrayal after betrayal as he finds his investigation constantly expanding to include the surfacing of a valuable Faberge egg; the kidnapping of a preadolescent girl and a video of Russian massacre of Chechens. Yet as he misses his beloved Valya, he wonders if the murky Russian atmosphere will ever be clean as money seems to buy anything including crimes and culpability cover-ups.

There is so much going on that fans will wonder where suspicious, dedicated, yet ethical Volk gets the mental energy to keep up the incredible pace especially since he is a major cynic re Putin’s Russia. The story line is fast-paced and filled with twists and betrayals, a way of life at least in Volk’s Russia. Timely as the world watches the transition of power, Brent Ghelfi provides a deep dark thriller in which the real star is an alarming gloomy Russia fueled by oil economics and superpower return ambitions.

Harriet Klausner