Commander Jana Matinova finds herself in the depths of a snowstorm surveying what at first appears to be a tragic road accident: five women and a male driver lying beside the burning remains of a van that has apparently spun off the road. This is the beginning of a trail that tracks a people-smuggling ring from Ukraine, through the Commander’s native Slovak Republic and into France.
Having entered the Czechoslovak police force as a young woman during the years of Soviet oppression, Jana has endured some very dark moments in her life. The regime destroyed her marriage to her actor husband and now a widow estranged from her daughter, Jana does as many mothers do: struggles to balance the emotional demands of family with the professional challenges of her work. Having risen to the rank of Commander, her skills as an investigator are called upon by an EU Commission to track down a criminal mastermind who is behind several brutal murders, kidnapping, extortion and the master of a vast human trafficking network.
The key to unlocking the mystery is a beautiful young woman who could be the mastermind’s next victim. At Commander Jana Matinova’s side are a variety of surprising allies not least her own boss, Colonel Trokan, who was her shield during the years when the State had her marked as an enemy of the people.
The author, Michael Genelin has written for stage and screen after a career that led from UCLA Law School through the LA District Attorney’s office and then on to a consultancy for US Department of Justice and USAID in Central Europe, experience that he’s used to full effect in creating this, the first in an exciting new series of mysteries.
This book was one of those you pick up on a hunch: it became one of those you recommend. An impulsive purchase that will be a ‘must buy’ when the next book appears.
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