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The Matryoshka Murders [Kindle] by Kay…
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The Matryoshka Murders [Kindle]

by Kay Williams, Eileen Wyman

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I found this book to be, first and foremost, incredibly well-researched. As a former student in the field, everything I was familiar with was dead-on accurate. This made me inclined to accept that the parts of history I was less familiar with, namely the difficulties of the gay and lesbian community in the former Soviet Union, were accurate as well. Mind you, although you will learn a lot by reading this book, it DOES NOT read like a boring history text. You'll be swept up in protagonist Kate's adventures, both in the USSR and back in the US. You'll come to care about her, her career, and her relationship with Gilly, her on/possibly off again significant other. Another important note about this book: Kate is a lesbian. She is also a journalist, a friend, a co-worker, and many other things. The story is not about Kate Being a Lesbian. It is about Kate, period. I really liked that about this book, and I have not read much in the lesbian/gay fiction genre. It's not at all "in your face" or trying to make a point. And the point that it so convincingly and subtly makes is that having a certain sexual orientation is just one part of a person's identity. Read this book....if you're a fan of the realistic mystery genre, I am confident that you will enjoy it. ( )
  MyChildsCloset | Sep 14, 2015 |
A great all round interesting story. I enjoyed it very much and highly recommend it. ( )
  Devlindusty | Jun 30, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
An interesting thriller in some parts but it did get slow too many times. It could've done better with an earlier background of it's characters and a better explanation to what was going on in the beginning.
  avidreader85 | Mar 5, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Matryoshka Murders is a very well written story of murder, intrigue, and even discrimination. I enjoyed reading it very much!

The story starts in Russia where Kate and her boss are attending a Russian film festival. Kate is also filming some of the events for a documentary she wants to produce herself on the differences between Russian life and American life styles. While in Russia Kate becomes the target of a murder plot and is surprised when she gets home to find she is still a target.

Very good and enjoyable read! ( )
  Kaysee | Jan 23, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A fascinating, disturbing look at conditions in Russia (Leningrad, 1991), particularly what women endure… more particularly, what harshness lesbians are subjected to. Our heroine, struggling with the opposition she faces at home in the US because of her sexual orientation, begins to feel deeply for her Russian "sisters." The question is: do the repeated attempts on her life stem from her association with these women? Or is it because she caught a secret meeting on film? When she manages to elude pursuit and makes it back to New York, she discovers the assassin has followed her. Or was it that the killer followed her from the US, hoping to use the political turmoil of Russia to mask the truth?

An engaging thriller from first to last, with a serious look at the lengths some are willing to go to force others into compliance. A reminder that liberty is not a given, but must be fought for on a multitude of levels. ( )
  Carrie.Kilgore | Jan 22, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kay Williamsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Wyman, Eileenmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Many, many thanks to Olga Catalena, a translator for the Second Leningrad International Documentary Festival, who patiently answered our questions as we struggled to organize this book—Eileen and I couldn’t have done it without her; the writers’ group, Albert Ashforth, P. M. Carlson, Shahrzad Elghanayan, and Theasa Tuohy, who made invaluable suggestions as we read our pages to them; Lina Zeldovich for advice on early sections in Leningrad; and E.W. Count, a published author of books about late twentieth century NYPD detectives, for her insights on NYC detectives and their work. 
Emily R. Johnson gave us important, detailed comments and advice on the first draft.  Jerri Lawrence did a superb, insightful job of editing, twice—once after the manuscript was hot off the press, and again after several revisions.
More thanks to Jerri Lawrence for creating the Topics to Consider for book discussion groups.
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Kate Hennessey is in Leningrad for the 1991 Documentary Festival with colleagues, the chance of a lifetime, she feels, to collect fascinating interviews for her guerrilla film class in NYC.  The USSR is falling apart, corruption and crime rampant. After attending an “illegal” meeting of women and taping their descriptions of the harshness of their lives, Kate and her new friend Sveta are abducted to a cemetery, robbed, and left to die in the bitter cold. Kate escapes; she thinks Sveta has too. Kate believes the abduction was random.
She’s more worried about the fight that she and her lover Gilly had just before she left the U.S., and she throws herself into gathering more footage, her  “Messages from Leningrad.”  
          As rumors circulate of an impending coup, Kate discovers that Sveta is missing and tapes a video interview of Sveta’s lover, 17-year-old Nadya, who has been raped by the police because she is rozovaya, gay. Kate learns to her horror when she and Nadya visit the Kafé Dusha (Café Soul), a dairy bar where gay women socialize,  that Sveta may be incarcerated in a  Psychiatric Clinic for the Cure (drugs and shock therapy).  Or she may be dead.
      An attack against Kate as she shops along the Nevsky Prospect and a fire in the wing of her hotel make her understand that someone wants to kill her. She flees Leningrad, her videos taped to her stomach, pursued by a scar-faced KGB officer and the local police who have found Sveta’s frozen body in the cemetery.  Back home in NYC, Kate finds the danger overseas has come straight to her doorstep, and that nothing is what it seems.
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