The first blog reviews for The Twelfth Department are out – and so far they’re all positive.
Rob Kitchin over at The View from the Blue House described it as having “a strong sense of place, good contextualisation, and vivid atmosphere. Overall, an enjoyable read and a solid addition to what is shaping up to be a very good series.”
Paul Brazill liked it as well, saying The Twelfth Department is “an engrossing and satisfying follow up to its cracking predecessors The Holy Thief and The Bloody Meadow.”
Paul goes on to say: “Ryan’s atmospheric writing is typically smooth and full of vivid, cinematic images. The story is a compelling, twisting and turning investigation and Korolev and the other characters are very well drawn- especially Count Kolya, leader of the Moscow Thieves. All in all, fantastic stuff.”
Sarah Ward on Crimepieces was also impressed:
“The Terror element isn’t overdone: it’s ever-present and pervades everyone’s decisions but the crime/mystery element is given space to flourish. Ryan always presents a solid police investigation and here, there are plenty of twists and turns until we reach the conclusion. The evocation of thirties Russia is excellent and even minor scenes, such as the description of the Moscow zoo and the delight that children take in watching the animals, bring the era to life.
Overall I think that this is the best book yet in a series that is going from strength to strength.”
Gareth of Killing Time also enjoyed it:
“As with the previous books, Korolev’s moral wavering – caught between his duty as a good comrade and his conscience – remains one of the most compelling aspects of the novel, and the character.
Ryan simultaneously raises the stakes and develops his protagonist with the introduction of Korolev’s son Yuri, mentioned in previous books but not seen. Korolev’s colleague Slivka, and neighbour Valentina, are two other recurring characters starting to be fleshed out. One of the joys of crime fiction is being able to immerse yourself in another place (and, in this case, time) and get to know characters over several books, and it’s particularly pleasing to encounter a series whose development has been thought-out and well-paced. The Twelfth Department is possibly the best so far in a very enjoyable series.”
And, last but not least, Marleen Kennedy of Book Noir on NudgeMeNow seems to be a fan as well:
“There is a wonderful balance as far as the characters in these books are concerned as well. We get our fair share of scary party officials, which is to be expected given the setting of the story, but we also encounter Count Kolya, the Chief Authority of the Moscow Thieves and his niece, Sergeant Slivka who is Korolev’s colleague. And the relationship that is slowly developing between Korolev and Valentina, the woman he shares an apartment with, is a delight to watch.
I could go on gushing about this book indefinitely but I won’t. I’ll end this review with this advice: Go and get this book, read it and be enthralled. If you haven’t read The Holy Thief and The Bloody Meadow yet I’d advise you to read them first. Having said that, it isn’t necessary to have read those two books in order to enjoy The Twelfth Department.”
So far so good then …