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To a reader's delight, and what must be the great pain of the Russian populace, Russia has gone from being an ideal setting for thrillers because of a totalitarian system that made just about everything illegal, to an ideal setting for thrillers because of it's complete lawlessness.  Siberian Light finds Gregori Nowek, a geologist & mayor of an oil boomtown in Irkutsk, Siberia (his slogan was "Can I Do any Worse?"), investigating the murders of Andrei Ryzkhov, an intermediary for the AmerRus oil company which is drilling for Siberian light crude oil, and of two of his own militiamen, who went to investigate why Ryskhov's dog was barking.

Nowek's superior, Arkady Volsky, wants him to conduct the investigation, but State Prosecutor Gromov has other ideas & turns loose ex-KGB Major Kaznin.  The investigation leads Nowek, & his loyal-but-cynical driver Chuchin, to Tunguska & the AmerRus base, but along the way he has run-ins with the local mafia, falls in love with Dr. Anna Vereskaya,  a tiger biologist with an uncanny resemblance to Nowek's wife who died three years earlier in an Aeroflot crash.  Just to further complicate life, his 16 year old daughter Galena runs away.

There's a lot going on here, but White manages to keep all of the plates spinning and his portrait of life in post-Soviet Russia is fascinating.

(Reviewed:)

Grade: (B+)

  

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