Neither one thing nor the other, yet Stelian Munteanu is known to all: the police force, the secret service, even the shady businessman whose daughter’s body is found on the seashore in South Shields. The British police force do not suspect foul play, and yet Pavel Coman fears otherwise, so he hires Stelian to investigate. Complications arise when Pavel Coman himself is butchered, and a number of his daughter’s female acquaintances – including Stelian’s wife, Sofia – are shot and wounded in Britain.
In the meantime, political conspiracies threaten to destabilise the Romanian state. The idea of a Greater Moldova, reuniting territories that were split after World War Two, is resurgent, and an ambitious Polish politician is spearheading a campaign. His backers are generous, and he is splashing the cash, setting up a slick internet operation to spread misinformation and dissent, and stoke up the masses in Romania to insurrection and rebellion. Somehow Stelian gets involved in this investigation too.
Resilience is the sixth in the series, so there is a lot of backstory that the reader is not privy to here. Best to just ride with it, because there’s enough to keep track of. Structured in short bursts, the action frequently jumps time and location, signposted through sub-headings. Readers must pay close attention to these, because, without them, there is no chance of keeping up. I would also advise using the helpful cast of characters to keep tabs on the various roles that they play. Let’s just say that Stelian Munteanu isn’t the only multitasker!
There is intrigue and contemporary relevance in the political strand for thriller fans, plus a shoal of red herrings and a satisfactory body count for crime aficionados. There is, however, one element in the denouement that I found unfeasible: would two seasoned operatives really lose it so badly?Despite this, Resilience is a thoroughly enjoyable read, provided you keep your wits about you.
Reviewed by Lizzy Siddal
This review, together with an interview with translator Marina Sofia, first appeared on Lizzy Siddal’s website here. You can also read more about Romanian crime fiction past and present in Marina Sofia’s article in The Romanian Riveter.
by Bogdan Hrib
Translated by Marina Sofia
Published by Corylus Books (2021)
November 2021 #RivetingReviews titles are available to buy from bookshop.org.
Lizzy Siddal is a British bibliophile and book blogger. She runs German Literature Month every November, now in its tenth year, on her blog Lizzy’s Literary Life.
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