An eastern European detective finds that someone’s left an almost-priceless diamond in her home. Is she being set up? Is this connected to her best friend’s role in the current national election, or to a wave of murders? Author Michael Genelin provides an intriguing setup for this Commander Jane Matinova investigation that has some of the feel of Gorky Park.
Genelin (a friend of this reviewer) is a former prosecutor for Los Angeles County and his knowledge of criminal syndicates is obvious. In this second in a series of Martinova stories, he makes much of the theme that criminal and political corruption often run parallel to each other, and are sometimes directly related. Although Jana is a senior police officer and her friend Sofia is a member of the Parliament, almost no one can be trusted in Slovakia.
Matinova is a well-rounded character, perhaps missing a few flaws to make her more real. Dark Dreams makes for a fast and engaging read with one flaw: the villain could be identified too early on. This reader would love to see Mr. Genelin’s knowledge applied to a “Mike Genaro” detective novel set in the sunny and mean streets of L.A. (Yes, Mike Genaro might serve as the fictional alter ego of the author.) Soho Press, $24.00, 368 pages; Reprinted courtesy of Sacramento Book Review.