Snowdrops - Ad Miller
Debut from Economist’s man in Moscow somewhere between literary and hardboiled
For his debut novel, it was pre-determined that AD Miller would write about Russia. As The Economist’s man in Moscow for three years, he must have walked a million steps in pursuit of dark stories in a land which has them coming round every corner. Snowdrops initially suggests it might be a Mafia corpse-fest but turns out to be a subtle affair about a country where love, history, family and loyalty are interchangeable products.
An English lawyer gets mixed up with a crook called The Cossack and two young women unafraid to destroy the frail and innocent. The tale is told as a confessional back in Britain where Nick has returned full of remorse for his unwitting part in a grand deception. Miller often displays his credentials a little too thickly and the metaphors are often horribly clunky, landing his tone somewhere between literary and hardboiled. But as the story weaves to a sad denouement, its frostbitten cruelty leaves you numb.