Picks and Pans Review: Monstrum

updated 09/29/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/29/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Donald James

Page-Turner of the Week

MOSCOW HOMICIDE INSPECTOR CONSTANTIN Vadim is one busy future cop. In the Russia of 2015, corpses of eviscerated women begin appearing in the rubble left from a civil war pitting nationalists against anarchists. The serial killer is called Monstrum for his grisly murders, and Vadim is assigned to catch him. Vadim is also one of several doubles for the new vice president and head of the secret police, Leonid Koba, who needs to appear in many more places in the recovering country than time allows. At the same time, Koba's agents are following Vadim because his ex-wife Julia, a general of the defeated anarchists, is still on the loose—and in touch with the inspector. Melding a nifty police procedural with a thrilling spy escapade and an all-too-possible scenario for the wounded giant that is contemporary Russia, James, a veteran TV writer (The Avengers, Mission: Impossible), serves up a compelling triple-dip. (Villard, $24.95)

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