A Whisper to the Living
Stuart M. Kaminsky
Forge, Jan 2010, $23.99
Russia's Office of Special Investigations Chief Inspector Porfiry Petrovich Rostnikov leads the investigation into who the Bitsevsky Maniac serial killer is. The victims are elderly people murdered by a hammer or similar blunt instrument relentlessly bashing them. Most of the corpses have been found in Bitsevsky Park with a few just outside; hence the media nickname.
Desperate to end the killing spree as over forty people have lost their lives to this psychopath, Rostnikov offers himself up as bait by hanging around the park that has been turned into a graveyard by the predator. At the same time his team struggles to protect a British journalist who wants the cops to stay always while h is investigating Moscow prostitution and the chief’s son Iosef works a double homicide in which a popular boxing champ apparently killed his wife and her alleged lover his sparring partner.
Although the audience knows from the beginning the identity of the Maniac, fans will relish Rostnikov’s latest police procedural as he dangles himself to catch a horrific prolific killer. That subplot, which is the main thread of A Whisper to Living, pays homage to one of the grandmasters of mystery writing Stuart M. Kaminsky who passed away in October. The other subplots pale in comparisons feeling more like filler. Still fans of a terrific modern day Moscow police procedural will enjoy Rostnikov’s apparently final act (see People Who Walk in Darkness and the classic Cold red Sunrise).