Source- Review copy/ Allen & Unwin Australia
Synopsis: Meet Stevie Duveen: striking, brilliant, gifted in seven languages and all kinds of combat – and strategic analyst for Hazard Ltd, an international trouble-shooting outfit specialising in discreet and very dangerous missions. Surprise is her most effective weapon, apart from her fierce intellect, unflagging determination and razor-sharp intuition. And something even the most battle-scarred operative lacks: she cares, sometimes too much. Which is why she is nursing a broken heart and telling herself she will never fall in love again.
Called to Moscow by an old friend to assess the security risk to the head of the Russian Central Bank, she arrives to find the find the bank regulator’s teenage daughter has been kidnapped. Valery Kozcov has been a fearless crusader against widespread corruption in Russia and organised crime’s infiltration of the government – and now his enemies are retaliating with deadly force. What they are demanding of him is unthinkable – but they have his beloved Anya. And they will stop at nothing to silence him.
Stevie uncovers unspeakable evil as she penetrates the very heart of the Russian mafia and finds herself caught up in the terrifying world of people trafficking and sex slavery. From the murky alleys of Moscow to forests blanketed in mid-winter snow to Switzerland’s exclusive alpine resorts, Stevie tries to stay one step ahead of danger as she edges ever closer to Anya and the terrible fate awaiting her.
Review: The Troika Dolls is an absorbing crime novel with a strong female lead and plenty of action. Stevie Duveen is a strategic analyst for Hazard Ltd, an international agency that is contracted for dangerous missions. Stevie does not fit the typical profile for this role given she is a small, petite woman with striking pearls hanging from her neck, ballet shoes as footwear and a sensitive disposition.
In the Troika Dolls, Stevie juggles to new projects, firstly to protect a celebrity baby from a potential kidnapping and an actual kidnapping of a teenage girl from a high profile family in Moscow.
Stevie is an interesting character with many dimensions; she is serious but likeable and sensitive but extremely strong-willed. She’s specially trained to handle risky situations yet can’t seem to move on from a former boyfriend. I love the secondary characters in the Troika Dolls. David Rice, her employer and long-time family friend who plays a fatherly figure in Stevie’s life. She is eager to please him and engage his affections although I am still not sure if her desire is romantic in nature or not. Henning, her quirky male friend who works in Moscow as a librarian but has a past that is much less mundane works with her on the kidnapping case and their chemistry is evident from early in the piece.
There are so many elements to this story that I could harp on about but the main points I want to get across is the intriguing character developments, the author’s cultural and political knowledge which adds a great dimension to an international escapade and the suspense that keeps the story interesting. I really enjoyed the first of the Stevie Duveen crime series and I have already started reading the second, The Siren’s Sting. Highly recommended read!
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