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The Twelfth Department

Captain Alexei Korolev Novels (Volume 3)

William Ryan

Minotaur Books

Captain Alexei Korolev has nothing to complain about. He has his own room in an apartment, a job in the police force that puts food on the table, and his good health. In Moscow in 1937, that’s a lot more than most people have to be grateful for. But for the first time in a long time, Korolev is about to be truly happy: his son Yuri is coming to visit for an entire week.

Shortly after Yuri’s arrival, however, Korolev receives an urgent call from his boss—it seems an important man has been murdered, and Korolev is the only detective they’re willing to assign to this sensitive case. In fact, Korolev realizes almost immediately that the layers of sensitivity and secrecy surrounding this case far exceed his paygrade. And the consequences of interfering with a case tied to State Security or the NKVD can be severe—you might lose your job, if you’re lucky. Your whole family might die if you’re not. Korolev is suddenly faced with much more than just discovering a murderer’s identity; he must decide how far he’ll go to see justice served . . . and what he’s willing to do to protect his family.

In The Twelfth Department, William Ryan's portrait of a Russian policeman struggling to survive in one of the most volatile and dangerous eras of modern history is mesmerizing.


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CHAPTER ONE
 
 
Yaroslavsky station was crowded and unpleasant—but Korolev breathed in the hot, muggy air and allowed himself a smile. What did it matter, when Yuri, his twelve-year-old son, would be stepping down from the Zagorsk train in a matter of minutes?
It was hot though. Even in the relative cool of the ticket hall, Korolev could feel sweat pooling under his arms and running down his back in what seemed to be a constant stream—but he still couldn’t help the joy bubbling up through him. Anyway, it couldn’t stay this hot for much longer—the
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REVIEWS

Praise for The Twelfth Department

“Ryan's tense, tightly plotted whodunnits feel gloriously plausible, a function of the intimate link he forges between his readers and his characters, never mind that those characters are living through extraordinary times.”—The Guardian

“Ryan’s latest has a fine cast of characters, puzzling murders, interesting police work, and a strong sense of the terror that pervaded  Stalin’s Russia. But it is his eye for period detail (e.g., scheming apparatchiks who denounce a neighbor simply to move into a larger apartment) that makes this one special.”—Booklist (starred review)

The Twelfth Department is the third outing for William Ryan’s increasingly impressive Captain Korolev series…There’s an Orwellian influence to the manipulation of language and meaning…The geographical setting and political backdrop are compelling enough, but Korolev is a fascinating character in his own right, an army veteran of “the German War” who acknowledges the poisonous nature of the regime he serves even as he clings to the hope that its propaganda might some day chime with reality.”—The Irish Times

“Excellent…While the police work will keep readers engaged, the series’ chief strength comes from Ryan’s skillful evocation of everyday life under Stalin.”—Publishers Weekly (starred)

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • William Ryan

  • WILLIAM RYAN is the author of The Holy Thief, which was a Barry Award Nominee for Best First Novel and shortlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Ryan attended Trinity College, Dublin and completed his Masters in Creative Writing at St. Andrews University. He lives in London. The Twelfth Department is his third novel.

  • William Ryan
    William Ryan
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    The Twelfth Department

    Captain Alexei Korolev Novels

    William Ryan

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    FROM THE PUBLISHER

    Minotaur Books

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