Sharing Books and Authors, with an emphasis on Mysteries.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Sunday Salon - The Last Matryoshka by Joyce Yarrow
Joyce Yarrow brings back Jo Epstein, New York City private investigator and performance poet, in the sequel to Ask the Dead. The Last Matryoshka starts out in Brighton Beach, and the Russian community there, but Jo will find she's in the greatest danger when she follows her case to Russia.
Jo's surprised to get a call from her stepfather, Nikolai, since they've never been close. But, they both love Jo's mother, Ruth. And, she's suspicious of Nikolai when he tells her some off-the-wall story about a murder in an elevator, and that he was set up so it looks like he killed a man. He hires Jo to investigate, but the case quickly escalates when he receives a nesting doll, a Matryoshka, with a message inside. "You ruined my sister. Now you will suffer." Jo knows Nikolai knows more than he's telling, but she's forced to work with the man she doesn't trust in a case that leads to undercover cops and fake fashions. Finally, in order to protect her mother, she follows her stepfather, and the case, to Russia. Why? Her mom's husband is "Up to his neck in illegal activities and may or may not have been framed for murder." But, it's family.
The Last Matryoshka is a multi-layered complicated story, best represented by those nesting dolls with one story inside another. It's a story of family, Russian criminals known as the vory, and history. Somewhere in Nikolai's Russian past is a story worth killing for, and Jo Epstein is determined to discover it. She's an admirable character, an investigator willing to set aside her feelings to protect her mother. It's not an easy story to read, with a full cast of undercover cops and Russian names. But, it's a story that explores the past, Russia, and relatiionships. You'll want to discover the secrets buried in The Last Matryoshka.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
My reviews are only my opinion, and do not reflect the views of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.
I will not review self-published books, and, at the present time, do not accept books in e-book format.
My Oct. 19, 2009 blog provides full disclosure that I only receive review copies of books, with no other compensation. All review copies are marked as such. If there any any questions, please feel free to contact me.