The Gentle Axe
By: R.N. Morris
Just before Christmas, in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1866, police investigator Porfiry Petrovich faces his most challenging murder case since the events made famous by F. Dostoevsky in the novel Crime and Punishment-a case with disturbing parallels and even darker implications
Stumbling through Petvosky Park one cold morning in search of firewood, an elderly woman makes a horrifying discovery. A burly peasant twirls in the wind, hanging from a bowed tree by a rope about his neck, a bloody axe tucked into his belt. Nearby, packed neatly into a suitcase, is the body of a dwarf, a deep axe wound splitting his skull in two.
It does not take long for the noted police investigator Porfiry Petrovich, still drained from his work on the case involving the deranged student Raskolnikov, to suspect that the truth of the matter is more complex than the crime scene might suggest. Why do so many roads lead to the same house of prostitution and the same ring of pornographers? Why do so many powerful interests seem intent on blocking his efforts? His investigation leads him from the squalid tenements, brothels, and drinking dens of the city’s Haymarket district to an altogether more genteel stratum of society. As he gets deeper and deeper in, and the connections between the two spheres begin to multiply, both his anger and his terror mount.
I’ve read Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment years ago but the details are quite hazy to me now beyond the basic plot points (a sign that I need to re-read the novel sometime soon ^_~). I came across R.N. Morris’s works on GoodReads and thought it was interesting that he chose to write a mystery series featuring a character from Crime and Punishment. The Gentle Axe is the first novel in this series featuring Porfiry Petrovich and set in St. Petersburg.
TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
– Grab your current read
– Open to a random page
– Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
– BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
– Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
– Should Be Reading
Hi everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend =) I have two teasers to share this week with you all:
“He dipped his fingers into barrels of shoes and crates of spectacles and stroked the snuffboxes and thimbles laid out on trays. It was as if these objects, left to their own devices, demonstrated some natural law of affinity, the magnetism of the abandoned. And of course, there was the fact that everything in the shop had once been part of someone’s life; behind every object, however mundane in itself, was a story of despair and even tragedy.”
– p. 51, The Gentle Axe by R.N. Morris
This is the first novel in Morris’s historical fiction/crime series feature Russian detective Porfiry Petrovich, who was one of the main characters in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. My memories of Crime and Punishment are a little vague I remembered thinking that it was interesting for Morris to take the inspector character and write a series of novels featuring him. I’m only a small way into this novel but it’s pretty interesting so far (can never really say no to a novel set in Russia, really, lol).
“‘…If you refuse to obey me, I’ll replace you as commander.’
‘And how will you do that?’
Arista revealed a faint smile. ‘Think hard…I’m sure you can figure it out.'”
– p. 381, ‘The Emerald Storm’, Rise of Empires by Michael J. Sullivan
I’m continuing Sullivan’s Riyria Revelations with the second omnibus, Rise of Empires. ‘The Emerald Storm’ is the fourth novel of the series; I just started it and am quite excited to see where Royce and Hadrian’s story will take them in this installment. I thought this particular exchange was amusing and kick-butt ^_~
The Last Ember
By: Daniel Levin
An Italian antiquities squad discovers a woman’s preserved corpse inside an ancient column. Pages torn from priceless manuscripts litter the floor of an abandoned warehouse. An illegal excavation burrows beneath Jerusalem’s Dome of the rome, ground sacred to three religions.
Jonathan Marcus a young American lawyer and a former doctoral student in classics, has become a sought-after commodity among antiguities dealers. But when he is summoned to Rome to examine a client’s fragment of an ancient stone map, he stumbles across a startling secert: a hidden message carved inside the stone itself. The discovery propels him on a perilous journey from the labyrinth beneath the Colosseum to the biblical-era tunnels of Jerusalem in search of a hidden 2000-year-old artifact sought by empires throughout the ages. As Marcus and a passionate UN preservationist, Dr. Emili Travia, dig more deeply into the past, they’re stunned to discover not only an anicent intelligence operation to protect the artifact, but also a ruthless modern plot to destroy all trace of it by a mysterious radical bent on erasing every remnant of Jewish and Christian presence from the Temple Mount. With a cutting-edge plot as intricately layered as the ancient sites it explores, The Last Ember is a gripping thriller spanning the high-stakes worlds of archaeology, politics, and terrorism in its portrayal of the modern struggle to define–and redefine–history itself.
This book has been on my want-to-read list for a very, very long time and only got around to picking it up recently. It’s been a while since I’ve read a novel from this genre so it was a nice change of pace from the stuff I usually read. This book is also one of several books that I am reading for the I Love Italy Reading Challenge because the story takes place (for the most part) in Rome.
No Time for Goodbye
By: Linwood Barclay
Fourteen-year-old Cynthia Bigge woke one morning to discover that her entire family–mother, father,brother–had vanished. No note, no trace, no return. Ever. Now, twenty-five years later, she’ll learn the devastating truth.
Cynthia is happily married with a young daughter, a new family. But the story of her old family isn’t over. A strange car in the neighborhood, untraceable phone calls, ominous “gifts”–someone has returned to her hometown to finish what was started twenty-five years ago. And no one’s innocence is guaranteed, not even her own. By the time Cynthia discovers her killer’s shocking identity, it will again be too late . . . even for goodbye.
I read this book a few weeks ago but never got around to writing a review on it. I was in the mood for a suspence that would keep me reading; I also needed a book to read during my travels in the metro to and from work. This book came with good reviews over at GoodReads so I decided to check it out.
The Silent Oligarch
By: Christopher Morgan Jones
Deep in the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources sits a nondescript bureaucrat named Konstantin Malin. He draws a nominal government salary but from his shabby office controls half the nation’s oil industry, making him one of the most wealthy and feared men in Russia. His public face is Richard Lock, a hapless money launderer bound to Malin by marriage, complacency, and greed. Lock takes the proceeds of his master’s corruption, washes them abroad, and invests them back in Russia in a secret business empire. He knows little about Malin’s true affairs, but still he knows too much.
Benjamin Webster is an investigator at a London corporate intelligence firm. Years before, as an idealistic young journalist in Russia, Webster saw a colleague murdered for asking too many hard questions of powerful people; her true killers have never been found. Hired to ruin Malin, Webster comes to realize that this shadowy figure might have ordered her gruesome death, and that this case may deliver the justice he has been seeking for a decade.
As Webster peels back the layers of Malin’s shell companies and criminal networks, Lock’s colleagues begin dying mysteriously, police around the world start to investigate, and Malin begins to question his trust in his increasingly exposed frontman. Suddenly Lock is running for his life- though from Malin or Webster, the law or his own past, he couldn’t say.
I received an advanced reading copy of this book recently thanks to GoodReads so I decided to read this book as soon as I could in order to provide a review before the novel is formally released next month.