Monday, February 23, 2015

"The Red Moth" by Sam Eastland

Hello fellow bibliophiles!

Another Monday has (thankfully) come and gone! To start off your work week, here is my newest review. I randomly came across this series while perusing the Mystery and Intrigue shelves at my local library. I'm a big fan of this section and highly encourage you to browse around in it if you enjoy a good spy/mystery book. This is #4 in the Inspector Pekkala series by Sam Eastland. I quickly burned through the first three books only to get stuck trying to check out the next book in the series. It was VERY difficult to acquire. Come to find out, it has not been published in the US but luckily I was able to get it through inter-library loan from a nearby library that somehow managed to have a copy. It took three months. THREE MONTHS for the book to reach my hands. But alas, it arrived. Here's a brief synopsis of the series and my review for the fourth book:

"...Inspector Pekkala - the elusive Finn who was once Tsar Nicholas II's personal detective..." sums up the surface of the main character. After the revolution, Inspector Pekkala was sent to Siberia by Stalin to serve out the rest of his days as a tree marker in a work camp. After nine years, he is brought back to Moscow by Stalin to work for him as his private detective with no limitations, as his eyes and ears outside of the NKVD, Russia's secret police. Each book includes a specific task Pekkala is sent to accomplish or face being sent back to Siberia.

The Red Moth is set at the start of the German invasion into Russian territory during world war two. Pekkala's task is to save the Amber Room at the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo from enemy hands. Hitler wished to acquire these panels to be placed in his city-wide museum in Lintz that he was planning to build to hold art gathered throughout Europe during the war. You may have heard of this if you have read (or watched) Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M Edsel. The book starts with  a series of clues and maps that Pekkala and his partner Kirov must race against time to solve in order to stop the removal of the panels before the German's advance any further into the country.

Sam Eastland does a good job at intertwining Russian facts and history into the fictional story, which he always clarifies fact from fiction at the end. As my friends all know, I am a big fan of Russian history, specifically this time period. I really enjoyed the first three books in the series but I did not think this was as good as the others for majority of the book. I rated it a 3 out of 5 on Goodreads. Eastland does well with intrigue, throwing curve balls into the story line which is always appreciated. There's nothing worse in a mystery than being able to figure out the end result halfway through the book. One thing was different about this book compared to the others though. Cliff hanger at the end. The other three books all wrapped up completely at the end. While I may or may not have been originally interested in reading the next book in the series because I felt it was losing its luster, this completely changed my mind. The next book is already checked out and sitting on my coffee table!

Disclaimer: This series is not for everyone. There is a lot of Russian history, names, cities, etc. throughout the book so if you are not interested in this, then it may not be the best series for you. I however thoroughly have enjoyed it thus far. As always, feel free to share you inputs, comments, opinions, suggestions and ask any questions!

Happy reading fools :)

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