The Lensky Connection by Conrad Delacroix
|The Lensky Connection by Conrad Delacroix
|Reviewer: Sue Magee
|Summary: A cracker of a thriller which brings Russia in the nineties to life. Highly recommended. Conrad Delacroix popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.
|Date: November 2021
|External links: Author's website
When we first meet Major Valeri Grozky, it's June 1995 and he's at the Serafimov Cemetry in St Petersburg. He's a pallbearer for his elder brother, Timur, whose death was drug-related. Valeri and Timur's father, Keto, is also a pallbearer and he's disgusted by what his son had become. Valeri thinks differently: he's determined to make his own stand against organised crime and avenge Timur's death. Within a matter of months, his obsession will have cost him his marriage to Marisha and created a dubious link with Natassja Petrovskaya, a journalist. She's determined to expose any and all corruption - and she's less concerned than she ought to be about her own safety. To her, he's a good source. For him, it's a way to get information published, which wouldn't otherwise be possible.
It's difficult to say whether it was accident or design that had Grozky seconded to a GRU (that's Russian Military Intelligence) unit looking into the activities of an oligarch involved in a fraud which came about when an oil company was privatised. There's an American Senate investigation looking into it too - and the political scandal could threaten the upcoming Russian Presidential election. The deeper Grozky delves the more he realises that all is not as it seems - on either side of the Atlantic.
Regular readers of thrillers will have jumped ahead when I mentioned a relatively senior officer in the army, recently separated from his wife and associated with a slightly wayward journalist. The usual way for the story to go would be a sexual relationship, described in detail with little point to the encounters other than titillation. Well, The Lensky Connection isn't that sort of book and gratuitous sex is not on offer. What Conrad Delacroix gives us is an excellent story based on what Russia was really like as the economic reforms of perestroika fell flat. As you read, you'll know that you're in the hands of a man who understands what Russia was really like. You'll know that he has much more knowledge than he needs to tell us: this isn't a book where every bit of research has been assiduously shoe-horned in.
The nineties were a time of turbulence in Russia. The Soviet regime had provided the country - and people such as Grozky - with a structured, stable life. No matter how much individuals might say that they wanted change, what they really wanted was poryatok or order - a roof over their heads and food on the table. Only the very brave - or corrupt - are in a position to take advantage of the opportunities.
And that's what makes life difficult for Valeri Grozky. He's brave but he's essentially an honest man trying to do the job he's been given and pursue his vendetta against the drug lords. He's a superb character but then every character in the book - even relatively minor ones - will stay with you long after you've finished reading. I really enjoyed reading this book. I learned a great deal about Russia, without feeling that I was being educated and I'll be interested to see what Delacroix writes next. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
One of the classics of the Russian thriller genre is Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith. We preferred The Lensky Connection.
Conrad Delacroix was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
The Lensky Connection by Conrad Delacroix is in the Top Ten Self-Published Books 2022.
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