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Fall of a Cosmonaut (2000)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0892966688, Hardcover)It's no coincidence that Chief Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov, Stuart Kaminsky's popular Moscow policeman, reads Ed McBain novels. McBain's 87th Precinct and its denizens are a lot like Kaminsky's Office of Special Investigation, and in this 13th outing in the author's series featuring Rostnikov and his colleagues, the parallels are particularly outstanding. Kaminsky, who also pens the Toby Peters, Abe Lieberman, and Lew Fonseca series, has published extensively on Hollywood icons such as Gary Cooper and Clint Eastwood, worth noting because his detectives share many of their qualities and more than a little of their style.
This lively thriller has Rostnikov and his investigators working three cases: the disappearance of a cosmonaut; the theft of the final negative of a Russian movie epic on the life of Tolstoy; and the murder of a parapsychologist. Each offers a handful of suspects, motives, and an opportunity for one of Rostnikov's detectives to take center stage: the inspector and his son Iosef on the search for the last survivor of a mission on Mir gone horribly (and secretly) wrong; Sasha, whose wife and children have left him and whose mother is driving him crazy, trying to sort out who's behind the extortion attempt on the movie producer; and Karpo and Zelach, assigned to the murder at the Center for the Study of Technical Parapsychology, where, to Zelach's dismay, his unusual (and unwelcome) telepathic gifts are accidentally discovered by a researcher who won't take no for an answer.
In due time, the cases are solved, the loose ends wrapped up, and the lives and loves of Rostnikov and his men have become as important to the reader as the guys at the 87th Precinct have become over time to McBain's readers. Both authors share a mastery of their craft, an unhurried but intellectually challenging pace, and a gift for characterization that is equaled by few other writers in the genre. --Jane Adams
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:31 -0400)
Rostnikov confronts a mystery that stretches from Moscow to the stars Once, Russian children wanted to be cosmonauts like Yuri Gagarin. But the Soviet Union is dead, and the days of Gagarin's glory are long passed. For the men and women aboard the decaying Mir space station, life is an unending series of near-disasters. During one such breakdown, cosmonaut Tsimion Vladovka asks ground control to contact Moscow police inspector Porfiry Rostnikov if anything happens to him. And when Vladovka disappears a year after his safe return to Earth, Rostnikov is the only man who can find him. A philosophical detective, Rostnikov has made a name for himself navigating the bureaucracies of the Kremlin. But never has he encountered anything like the labyrinth that is Star City, home of the Russian space program. Something has terrified the cosmonaut, and since he knows dangerous state secrets, he must be found, alive or dead. But if a man who braved outer space is scared, what chance does an earthbound detective have?
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