RUSSIAN RECKONING explores the question: What if a Russian émigré living in Brooklyn was persecuted by a vengeful blackmailer, risen up from the depths of their shared past in the Gulag?
To unravel this mystery, Jo Epstein follows her stepfather, Nikolai, through the teeming streets of Moscow, gets trapped in a dark Russian forest, and relives the brutality of the notorious Vladimir Central prison.
Jo is a private investigator who is equally at home tracking down a killer as she is performing at the Poetry Slam in New York. In her own words:
the detective runs down digs up
uncovers exposes and brings to light
what we refuse to touch but can safely see
from the other side of the TV screen
munching genetically modified food
to put us in the mood
the poet waits, hibernates and then relates
images from dream to dream
connecting the dots in an unconscious stream
trusting in the end they’ll reveal what they mean
“Joyce Yarrow's second case for private eye Jo Epstein not only opens a window on 1950s Russia, where thieves and political exiles all face the same brutal realities in post-Stalinist gulags--but on how lives warped then play out in the present... An unusual and very well crafted story with astonishing characters.” ~ Barbara Peters ~ The Poisoned Pen
“VERDICT - Intricately layered like the Russian nested doll of the title, this tale of vengeance and hatred flavored with a Russian cultural backdrop will appeal to readers who enjoy unusual mysteries with an international setting.” ~Library Journal