Friday, July 4, 2008

Vodka Neat by Anna Blundy

Fast paced, mesmerizing and featuring soul weary, boozy foreign correspondents, Vodka Neat was an enjoyable and exhilarating read from beginning to end.

Posted to Moscow by the Chronicle, foreign correspondent, Faith Zanetti, has mixed feelings about coming back to live and work in Russia. The last thing she expected however was to be arrested on suspicion of murder almost as soon as she'd landed. About sixteen years ago, a young couple was found brutally murdered in their apartment. Faith, who was nineteen at that time, was married to a Russian black marketer, Dimitri Sakhnova, and living and working illegally in Moscow. Then, Demitri managed to keep her out of the investigation. Now, however, the police claim that Demitri has confessed to the crime and has implicated her in the crime as well. Faith is flabbergasted; admittedly she was blindingly drunk on that fateful night, but surely she would remember killing two people with an axe? Fortunately, the police have practically no evidence implicating her and let her go. But now Faith is on a mission: to clear her name and find out what exactly Demitri is up to. Little does she know that she's about to step into a web of deceit and murderous jealously...

Fast paced and completely compelling, I finished Vodka Neat in one sitting. It was the kind of exciting and enjoyable new read that one is always relieved and thankful to find. I really enjoyed the author's tongue-in-cheek prose style and the manner in which she structured the novel, going backwards and forwards in time, showing us Moscow in the 1990s and Moscow today. Also her character portrayals were vivid and totally believable. All in all this was a first rate read. Light and almost breezy manner in spite of it's subject matter, and featuring a female protagonist that is both charming and capable and full of wonderfully intriguing plot twists, I'd recommend Vodka Neat to any mystery reader looking for something a little different to savour.

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