Second-novelist Rosenbaum (the Edgar-nominated Zaddik, 1993) returns with a tightly placed story of thieves, double-crosses, and the Russian mafia. Sasha is a likable con man who's left Mother Russia for New York City's the â€šmigrâ€š community of Brighton Beach. His hustles include everything from babies for shady adoptions to phony Small Business Administration Loans. Then Boris, an old friend from Russia, arrives -- and is promptly murdered, in front of Sasha. Sasha flees the scene, taking the antique box Boris was supposed to deliver to a third party. Thinking Boris's death is linked to the box, he hides it at the apartment of Maddy Malloy, a newspaper reporter working on the story of the murder. She knows that Sasha has stashed it in her closet, but she's fallen for him. The murder investigation ties Boris and Sasha to organized crime, plus Maddy realizes that almost everything Sasha has told her was untrue, and still she lies to the police and her editor about her relationship with him -- and the location of the mystery box. Meantime, Sasha has fled to Russia to get away from whoever killed Boris. There, he discovers that the box contained Russian uranium, and that the buyer was the CIA (which is trying to keep former Soviet supplies away from bad-guy nations). Sasha returns to the US to recover the uranium, but by this time a whole lot of folks have the same idea: former KGB agents, the CIA, two sets of Russian Mafioso, and various freelance thugs. And most of them target Maddy, thanks to Sasha. Further complicating life is the search for a hidden cache of art, valuable in its own right as well as being a means to smuggle future shipments of uranium. Fast, intriguing, and often violent. Even when he's a jerk, you'll find yourself pulling for Sasha.