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  • a really nice historical mystery

    I am a big fan of historical mysteries, and I am especially happy when they introduce me to a time and place that I’m not very familiar with. So I was glad to get a chance to read an ARC of The Body Outside the Kremlin, which is set in the Soviet Union in the 1920s, on a prison island in the middle of the White Sea. This is a time period that I learned only a little bit about in history class, and I certainly learned nothing about the prison camps of the period, other than that they existed. So I was interested in the book right from the start. And I was even happier when I started reading the book, and found that I liked the writing style (a lot). I also like my books to have a really good sense of background and setting, and The Body Outside the Kremlin delivered on that too. Granted, the background and setting were pretty bleak and depressing, but somehow the author made the story interesting and engaging anyway. I also enjoyed the plot, which fit really nicely with the setting. Overall, if you're looking for comparisons - this book struck me sort of as a cross between Eliot Pattison’s Shan Tao Yun series for the prison camp/communist setting and plot, and John Maddox Roberts’s Decius Cecilius Metellus series for the occasional brief flashforwards that add a lot to the story. I believe this is James L May’s first mystery and I very much hope he writes more. And once again, my thanks to the publisher and Net Galley for the ARC, which I was allowed to read in exchange for my honest review.

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