Picks and Pans Review: Cover Story

updated 05/16/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/16/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Robert Cullen

This just in: The news from post-Soviet Moscow is bad. And thrilling. And relentless. At least it is in the fictional world of Colin Burke, the Moscow correspondent of an American newsmagazine, who trips over a story involving Syria's attempts to woo Russian nuclear scientists. Caught amid New York City office politics, a Russia straining between Marx and market economy and his own thirst for Stolychnaya, Burke is catapulted into a labyrinth of intrigue.

Cullen, a former Moscow correspondent for Newsweek, portrays a post-Communist country where the hidden mikes are still on but no one is listening, and where an extra gallon of gas may be more difficult to come by than weapons-grade plutonium. It's enough to make one go ballistic. (Atheneum, $20)

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