Bantam, Feb 22 2011, $25.00
A German agent drives a motorcycle from his homeland into Poland. From there he enters Stalin’s Russia where a man waits for him. He has the schematics for the Konstantin project, which he gives to the other party in exchange for money. The German leaves, but is shot from behind.
Stalin is furious about the leak of T-34 a new weapon to use in the upcoming war with Germany. He orders former Prisoner 4745-P Inspector Pekkala to interrogate the person in charge inventor Colonel Rolan Nagorski. Pekkala concludes that the Colonel is innocent, but someone inside committed treason and must be found before further leaks occur. However, before he can dig deeper, someone murders Nagorski. A raging Stalin wants the killer caught immediately, but Pekkala knows he must not work in haste to insure the seditious murder is caught before Internal Affairs Commissar Major Lysenkova further muddies up the case, probably on purpose.
The second Stalinist era historical police procedural (see Eye of the Red Tsar) enables the reader to look deeply at the paranoid Russian leader who saw assassins everywhere; leading to his killing millions as enemies of the state. Pekkala is an honorable courageous person who knows his Stalin-sanctioned investigation into anyone is paramount to official suicide, but his love for his Mother Russia has him carry out his mission. Shadow Pass is a terrific 1930s whodunit enhanced by flashbacks to when Pekkala was the Tsar’s top investigator.