This is a cinematic, complex book, yet also tight and focused. The protagonist is a Polish-American Philadelphia policeman visiting Warsaw as part of a Sister Cities delegation. While there, Adam Kaminski hopes to learn more about his ancestry and culture, and wonders if he might even find relatives. Find one them does, and this leads him into an entanglement with the Polish police, members of the government, and dark secrets from the country’s past. His newly-found cousin, an investigative reporter, is certain that his daughter’s death, ruled a suicide, was in fact a murder. An idealistic and energetic young woman with a passion for politics and justice, Basia Kaminski may have learned too much about some high-ranking, influential people. Her father’s life is in danger as result of his inquiries into her death, and as Adam gets involved he puts his own life at risk as well.
Gorman knows how to pace for maximum effect and portrays her characters and her setting masterfully. She uses details of sight, sound and scent to create a powerful sense of the characters’ experiences. From the wintry streets and public parks to pubs and milk bars, from private homes of all walks of life to the halls of government and the deep recesses of the national archives, the setting is so alive it’s almost like a character itself. The romantic subplot is perfectly interwoven with the mystery, each dependent on the other.
One scene shifts to the perspective of a character whose point of view is not otherwise used, a choice that I found distracting, but that’s more a matter of my preference than a problem in the writer’s style. The quality of her research is outstanding. I highly recommend this book for readers who like political intrigue, dramatic locales, and mysteries with depth and substance.
To read more about her series and some fascinating background on this book, go to http://www.janegorman.com