Ayo Onatade is an avid reader of crime and mystery fiction. She has been writing reviews, interviews and articles on the subject for the last 12 years; with an eclectic taste from historical to hardboiled, short stories and noir films
The Twelfth Department is the third book in the Korolev series featuring Captain Korolev, a police investigator. This time around, Korolev is hoping to have the opportunity to spend time with his son. It is a visit that is long overdue and he does not want any distractions during the visit.
Unfortunately, for him, a renowned scientist is killed close to the Kremlin and Korolev finds himself putting his visit with his son on hold as he tracks down the killer. This is not an easy case as the dead man was involved in research that reached to the upper echelons in the Soviet Union and he was also determined to get to the top as well. When another scientist is brutally killed, it soon becomes clear that Korolev has an extremely difficult case on his hands and then his son goes missing.
Reading this series is like having a bird’s eye view of 1930s Russia with Korolev as the tour guide. We find ourselves immersed in a city that is wrapped up in the terror that is part of Stalin’s rule, spies and invariably the politics as well. William Ryan has a good sense of place and you are easily able to appreciate the atmosphere in Stalinist Moscow from the wealth, and the privileges revelled in by the elite to the fear that also perpetrated. That fear also ensures that no matter what level they may find themselves in society they could just as easily be condemned, detained and bundled on to a train to the Siberia.
The Twelfth Department has a tightly written plot full of twists and turns. These alongside an ever-moving Moscow, which is strikingly portrayed, make for a really gratifying read. This is a series that just keeps on getting better and better. Atmospheric, impressive and a cracking story, if you haven’t started to read this series then what are you waiting for! Pitch perfect for all of those who love historical crime. I hope we don’t have to wait too long for the next one in the series.