(1997) Jack Womack, Flamingo, £6.99, pbk, 310pp, ISBN 0-00-655007-X
Set more-or-less in the present, this is a tale set in the Russian underworld, where black market economics are considerably better than those in the real world and, given relatively recent events in the Russian economy, who's to say that Womack isn't right on the money? (Sorry, couldn't resist). The plot's a bit convoluted, but basically involves a Russian entrepreneur running afoul of the Georgian mafia due to a crooked friend whose wife he happens to be screwing. Goods go astray, hostages are taken, and political strings pulled all to resolve the mess the protagonist's life has become. On the whole, I prefer Womack's previous offerings (and unhesitatingly recommend them all), but this book was a little slow, the plot a bit shaky, and the characters mostly unlikeable. Maybe it was all a bit too real for comfort and, without having the edge of the crime genre, just failed to hit the mark. Still good writing though, and worth a look.
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