The Holy Thief by William Ryan. Library Call Number: PR6118.Y37H65 2010.In 1936 Moscow, Captain Alexei Korolev of the Moscow Militia must investigate the mutilation killing of a young American nun in a deconsecrated church. Because the woman is a foreigner, the case attracts the attention of the NKVD—Stalin’s dreaded secret police—and soon Korolev finds himself reluctantly patnered with an NKVD investigator named Colonel Gregorin. Stalin has begun the great purges and one denunciation from any source can lead a person to be disappeared to a gulag, never to return. It’s a bad time to be an honest cop in a city full of politics, intrigue and suspicion.
A well-reviewed first novel, with similarities to the best of Martin Cruz Smith's more contemporary Russian Inspector, Arkady Renko, or Philip Kerr's German Bernie Guenther.