"Impressive.... Ryan, who merits comparison to Tom Rob Smith, makes palpable the perpetual state of fear of being reported as disloyal, besides dramatizing the difficulty of being an honest cop in a repressive police state. Readers will hope Korolev has a long career ahead of him."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"In his solitude and resolve, Ryan’s Korolev evokes Martin Cruz Smith’s fierce Arkady Renko, while the period detail and gore call to mind Tom Rob Smith. Remarkable thriller..."
--Library Journal (starred review)
"William Ryan brilliantly captures the eerie paranoia of Stalinist Moscow, which serves as an endlessly fascinating background for his compelling tale. This is a non-stop page-turner and a remarkable debut."
--David Liss, author of The Whiskey Rebels
“A subtle, superb mystery, a wonderful central character and with a sense of place and period to rival even the greatest of the Russian masters. More please!”
--Kate Mosse, author of Sepulchre
"With The Holy Thief, Ryan establishes himself as a fresh voice, rendering the snow-slicked streets of Thirties' Moscow with brilliant clarity. His picture of Captain Korolev as a conflicted, yet loyal, state servant is acutely real, as is his world, slouching toward terror and war. A masterful evocation of a dark time, wrapped around an even darker mystery, The Holy Thief does its magic on the head as well as the nerves.”
--Olen Steinhauer, author of The Nearest Exit
“A powerhouse debut, intricately plotted, tautly written, richly imagined. With effortless, page-turning ease Ryan leads us into the mirror-world of 1930s Stalinist Russia where nothing is quite what it seems and no one is quite who they claim to be. For Captain Alexei Korolev of the Moscow Militia, the price of failure is a bullet through the head—and so is the price of success. Thrilling.”
--Paul Sussman, author of The Hidden Oasis
“A first-rate crime novel: a genuinely memorable detective, powerful story and a seamlessly convincing setting. William Ryan is the real thing.”
–A. L. Kennedy, author of Day
"The Holy Thief is an utterly compelling and beautifully lucid novel, in which murder, history and suspicion combine to create an atmosphere of ever-increasing and constantly shifting suspense."
--John Burnside, author of The Glister