There have been quite a few reviews for The Darkening Field in the US so far and they’ve mostly been pretty good. Here’s a quick round-up –
Bookreporter liked it, Ray Palen saying “I believe Captain Korolev has much more to say, and I look forward to his next outing.”
RT Book Reviews were also impressed, Donna M. Brown saying “Colorful characters, including the organized crime gang the Moscow Thieves, drive a tightly woven plot toward the startling conclusion.”
Kirkus liked it, comparing it to Stuart Kaminsky’s novels.
Russian Life liked it, saying of the novel: “It is well written, moves along at a brisk pace, has a compelling protagonist, and delivers an entertaining story that teaches us a few things along the way. What more could one ask for, really?”
Publishers Weekly described it as “compelling“, but had some concerns about there being too many plot twists. Ah well.
Library Journal had no such concerns however giving it a resounding thumbs-up:
“Ryan’s prodigious research is crafted into an intense tale marked by Korolev’s yearning to do an honest job of criminal investigation without drawing attention to his essentially ethical and religious nature (a no-no in the atheistic Soviet Union). Ryan’s main characters are strong and believable, the dialog is crisply idiomatic, and Odessa’s cityscape is grimly foreboding. Ryan’s Korolev is on a brilliant trajectory to join the ranks of respected European detectives.”
And Book List gave it a much appreciated Starred Review:
” … Booklist lauded Ryan’s first Korolev novel, The Holy Thief (2010), and this successor fully delivers on the promise of that judgment. Korolev is a wonderful character, a spiritual ancestor of Martin Cruz Smith’s Arkady Renko, persevering amid the murderous paranoia of Stalin’s Russia. The plot is intricate, the action satisfying, and Ryan’s use of period detail, including the brutal collectivization of the Ukraine and that region’s nationalist and anarchist movements, makes for exhilarating reading.”
Shelf Awareness also gave it a great review, Jessica Howard writing:
“Ryan’s vast array of suspects, soldiers and police officers can be confusing at first, especially given the similarities of many Russian names, but it’s worth persevering. The Darkening Field is an excellent mystery with unforgettable characters, and it brings to life the tension of a dark era in Russian history.”
Margot Kinberg gave The Darkening Field a very thoughtful and positive review on her Confessions of Mystery Novelist blog, describing it as “a suspenseful and well-drawn atmosphere of paranoia and suspicion.”
And Lunch.com gave it another very good review, saying “It’s white knuckle time quite often, and the reader tends to be on the edge of his seat. I look forward to many more books in this excellent series, since it’s obvious the author has done extensive research into the times and places about which he writes, and he conveys the implicit spirit of menace and fear very well. “