Wednesday, July 31, 2013

[Book Spotlight] Russian Dolls by Cristelle Comby

Russian Dolls
Cristelle Comby
Alexandra Neve is a student at University College London whose world suddenly falls apart. When her best friend jumps from the university’s rooftop, she can’t stop herself from asking, ‘Why?’ The police rule her friend’s death a suicide and for them the case is closed — so whom can she turn to for help?

Sometimes the person you need the most is the one you least expect to find, and in this case it’s none other than Ashford Egan, a blind middle-aged history professor, who’s more willing than most to listen to what she has to say. 

Neve and Egan are as different as they come. She’s restless, careless at times, and fearless when the need arises, while he’s almost the complete opposite: a deep thinker with an analytical mind, a highly rational and collected individual.

As they enter the violent world of the Russian mafia, they must overcome their differences and learn to work together. It’s their only chance if they want to survive.

‘Are you all right?’ I ask Egan, when we’re both out of the car. He’s standing tall and looking as collected as he can, but uneasiness surges off him in waves. He’s tensed, listening intently to his surroundings. I guess that the mumble of the nearby officers and the guns, which are checked and cocked, must not help.
My friend gives me a tight nod and we move forward, rejoining the detective who brought us here.
‘Alexandra Neve,’ Langford snorts, on our arrival. He takes off his wire-rimmed glasses and cleans them on the hem of his trench coat. I have to fight an impulse to roll my eyes at his condescending tone; I force a minimal smile on my lips instead. Honey catches more flies than vinegar.
 ‘DI Langford,’ I acknowledge, with a polite nod of my head.
‘And your professor friend, I presume?’ the balding bobby retorts, eying the man at my side suspiciously. I venture that Egan doesn’t need his eyesight to pick up on the contempt with which Langford is looking at him; it’s plain to hear in his voice.
He addresses his subordinate then, levelling him with a cold stare. ‘You’d better be right about this, Matthew.’
With that, he promptly pushes forward, knocking — on purpose, I’m sure—against Egan’s left shoulder. I reach for him. My friend sways a little at my side, but the grip I have on his forearm is firm and he doesn’t lose his balance. Bastard! I think in my head, barely restraining myself from letting the insult pass my lips.
‘What a charming man,’ Egan says through clenched teeth, while rolling his abused shoulder a little.
‘Sorry about that,’ Stenson says. ‘You caught him in a bad mood.’
‘Because he has good moods? I thought that was his default setting,’ I snort and raise my eyebrow innocently when Stenson fixes me with a reproachful stare.
‘All right,’ the sergeant says, moving the discussion to something more constructive. ‘The boat has already docked. They’re unloading it as we speak.’
‘What’s the cargo?’ Egan asks.
‘Bio fuel and a few crates of Russian goods,’ Stenson informs us. ‘We’re going to let them go ahead with it and keep a watch on them from afar. As soon as our targets move in to collect their merchandise, we move in to intercept them.’
Langford gestures in the background for his subordinate and Stenson lets out a small groan.
‘I’ve got to go,’ he says quickly. ‘You two, stay here. Is that clear?’ he demands in an almost military tone. I nod in answer and he takes a step away.
‘No matter what happens, you stay by the car,’ he throws again over his shoulder before joining a group of men clad in bulletproof vests. They’re all massed around the front of a car, over which a large map has been unfolded and Langford is barking orders left and right.

About the Author

Cristelle Comby was born and raised in the French-speaking area of Switzerland, somewhere between Geneva and Lausanne, where she still resides.

Thanks to her insatiable thirst for American and British action films and television dramas, her English is fluent.

She attributes to her origins her ever-peaceful nature and her undying love for chocolate. She has a passion for art, which also includes an interest in drawing and acting.

Russian Dolls is her first new-adult novel, and she’s hard at work on the next titles in the series.

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