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Reviewed by Darryl Greer for Readers' Favorite
The Kirov Wolf is one of a series of novels by author R.H. Johnson, following the exploits of NYPD detectives Pete Nazareth and Tara Gimble. In this story, the crack husband and wife team are on the prowl for a Russian assassin, who has apparently been living in New York City for decades. He occasionally emerges when he feels it is necessary to dispose of a Russian émigré who does not share his world view, particularly if it conflicts with that of Russian president Ruslan Kotov. The first to go is a well known billionaire so the stakes are high and pressure on the detectives mounts as the death toll rises. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that there is a national security aspect to the case. Pete Nazareth, a former marine, is a veteran of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has a friend in the CIA, Dalton Stark, whom Nazareth had met on one of his special ops. Stark’s help is enlisted and, as more murders follow, the hunt becomes more intriguing. As the story twists and turns towards its denouement, one surprise follows another until eventually all the strands of the story come together.
The Kirov Wolf gets off to a dramatic start, as R.H. Johnson hooks the reader straight into the story. His narrative is highly descriptive, a visual treat, as the unfolding scenes leap off the page. Unless the author happens to be a walking encyclopedia on all things Russian, the research necessary for a work of this nature must have been enormous. As he has used a number of real events, cleverly blending fact with fiction, the story comes across as plausible. The plot is intricate, involving not only the inner workings of the New York City Police Department but also the CIA, as well as Russian spooks, all cleverly blended together so that, step by step, the reader can keep pace with the story. Characterisation is excellent. The title of the book is as intriguing as the story itself. There actually was a Kirov wolf, though it was a real wolf, a man-eater which terrorised some USSR citizens between 1944 and 1954. But back to this version, a rather harmless novel. The Kirov Wolf is a great read, a real page-turner.