Adding to all of this is a muddied attempt by the author to impart elements of fantasy and Russian folklore to this otherwise straight-forward crime thriller. When I first read of the crime leader dealing with a possession of the mind reminiscent of something out of an exorcism film, I immediately felt disconnected from the story. While I believe that Higgins does a commendable job at building his vision of Russia, there comes a point when too many details become cumbersome and distract from the story.
I'm convinced that within the many names of places, people, and muddied descriptions of Russian myth, there is a good story. Despite never really getting into a strong flow, I couldn't help but continue reading to the next chapter (short chapters probably helped with this issue). The story itself is fairly convincing, and all of the plot lines come to a satisfying point. Unfortunately, the narrative just stops, which I'm assuming means a sequel to this novel is in the works. For my tastes, however, I just can't get over the style of Higgin's writing to justify reading a future installment.
For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and GoodReads.
(2013: week 13, book 10)