Important thing about me: I am fascinated and passionate about novels set in the former post-Soviet/post-Communist time. As myself I am familiar at a certain extent with the life in those countries, I love the feeling of reading fiction inspired by hard and always worth a couple of novels realities. However, it is not enough to have the perfect details and set of characters in order to write a good book.
I had a similar impression when I had my first encounter with the Arkady Renko novels, in Stalin's Ghost: great setting, interesting characters and some curious story developments, but in the end of the day, the domino pieces did not match together and the entire story ended up in a very disappointing course of events.
It happened the same in the case of Tatiana, which features the extraordinary pressures against the work of investigative journalism in post-Soviet Russia. There are all the elements for an excellent story: local mafia, former USSR problems - Kursk submarine drama, for instance - and state of mind and also Chechen fighters. It seems that the author has a subtle knowledge of the realities in this troubled part of the world. The dialogues are the part I've loved the most in the book: full of live, smart and witty. However, when all those parts were brought together: the dialogues, the bizarre characters, the circumstances, the story failed of being more than plain, less exciting than the everyday news in the Russian media. There is something in the art of storytelling which is missing and it is enough to discourage me from liking the book.
However, will give another - last - try to this author, as I have his latest book ready for a review. Hopefully things are sounding better but as for now I am not impressed at all.
Rating: 2.5 stars