A KILLING WINTER by Tom Callaghan
Inspector Akyl Borubaev, a seasoned cop who is a member of the murder squad, Kyrgyzstan’s homicide division, investigates the ritualistic murder of a young woman whose mutilated body is found lying in the freshly fallen snow. Borubaev soon discovers that the body is the daughter of the Minister of State Security, who pressures Borubaev to solve the case quickly, by any means possible, and to deliver the offender to him.
Kyrgyzstan, a former part of the Soviet Union until their independence in 1991, is revealed as a culture filled with abject poverty, cheap drugs, and political corruption, with most people living on the dark fringes of society. Kyrgyzstan is a largely unknown location, and A KILLING WINTER follows in the tradition of those thrillers set in Russia by Martin Cruz Smith and Tom Rob Smith. Much of the story takes place in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital. Callaghan skillfully creates an image of the city that is dark, cold and depressing, adding context and depth to this incredible debut novel.
With the help of his late wife’s uncle, who has ties to the underworld, Borubaev’s investigation leads him across the frozen landscape, in search of a serial killer whose violence grows with each new victim.
Tom Callaghan delivers an often disturbing view of life in Kyrgyzstan, and a story filled with compelling intrigue and fascinating suspense. The story is graphic at times, with visual detail that will transport you to the scene of the crime.
I highly recommend A KILLING WINTER by Tom Callaghan, and patiently await the announced sequel, A SPRING BETRAYAL, scheduled for release later this year.
“As the ice melts, winters crimes are laid bare.”