A Russian multimillionaire learns the hard way that rubles aren’t everything when KGB thugs go after his pile.
At the age of 22, Alex Konevitch has it made. By dint of being the smartest entrepreneur in a not very entrepreneurial country—perestroika and Russian capitalism are still in their infancy in 1991—he’s parlayed his modest start-up funds into a major fortune. They call him “Kid Midas” with good reason, as just about everything he’s touched has been transformed into construction-business gold. And his happiness is completed by his fairy-tale bride, lovely, endlessly loyal Elena, a Bolshoi-trained ballerina who’s left the world of dance to be by his side. So successful and admired is Alex that it’s only a matter of time before greed and envy surface in the monstrous person of Sergei Golitsin, deputy director of the KGB, who never saw the man, woman or child he wouldn’t eagerly torture in pursuit of his goals. In short order, he mounts a conspiracy aimed at separating Alex from his millions. Kidnapped and beaten within an inch of his life in the good old KGB way, Alex signs over most of his wealth to the goons and takes off for America. Only there, he reasons, will he be safe from enemies who continue to stalk him for reasons never made entirely clear. At any rate, Alex has guessed wrong about the land of the free. It turns out that goons are goons regardless of nationality, and when they’re in high places that spells big-time trouble of a kind few readers will find unpredictable.
Haig (Man in the Middle, 2007, etc.) plots like a dervish but fleshes out his high-profile cast with nothing more than a lick and a promise. The result is a fast-paced, puppet-driven thriller that blows a chance to be first-rate.