Snowdrops - Ad Miller (3 stars)

Debut from Economist’s man in Moscow somewhere between literary and hardboiled

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Snowdrops - Ad Miller

(Atlantic)

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.

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