NYPD’s Artie Cohen (Fresh Kills, 2007, etc.) learns that sometimes you just have to go home again.
The end of his marriage opens a door Artie might have seen unlocking, as his avuncular affection for best friend Tolya Sverdloff’s beautiful daughter Valentina ripens into something more. But after only one night in Artie’s bed, his new love disappears, and the detective realizes that whoever left Masha Panchuk’s slender blond body smothered in duct tape on a Brooklyn playground probably meant to kill Val. Although he doesn’t really trust Bobo Leven, the Russian-born cop is who Artie turns to in hope of picking up Val’s trail. And when neither can save her, Artie does the unthinkable. Even though Tolya couldn’t convince Artie to come to London to celebrate his birthday, and even though federal agent Roy Pettus couldn’t persuade Artie to go to London to spy on the nouveaux-riches Russkis who flock there to spend their petrobucks, he goes to London to find Val’s killer. Armed with a picture of Val and a former boyfriend he knows only as Greg, Artie learns that even the Russian ghetto of Notting Hill isn’t his last stop. All roads lead to Moscow, and the ex-pat who shudders at the thought of leaving his lower Manhattan loft must travel to a far-off place that’s all too familiar.
Moving Tolya and his family front and center galvanizes Nadelson’s often torpid prose. This is the tale she was born to tell, and she spins it with power and grace.