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The Twelfth Department (Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev, #3)
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The Twelfth Department (Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev #3)

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  431 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
Captain Alexei Korolev has nothing to complain about. He has his own room in an apartment, a job in the police force that puts food on the table, and his good health. In Moscow in 1937, that's a lot more than most people have to be grateful for. But for the first time in a long time, Korolev is about to be truly happy: his son Yuri is coming to visit for an entire week.

Hardcover, 342 pages
Published July 9th 2013 by Minotaur Books (first published May 1st 2013)
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The Twelfth Department is the third in Ryan's detective series based in 1930's Moscow. I haven't read the first two and The Twelfth Department is a true, successful standalone - and one not to be missed if you appreciate historical mysteries/detective/suspense novels. The "whodunit" element is complex, well-handled and the explanation both factually-based and stomach-turning. What made this a 5-star read for me, though, was a combination of the authenticity of the main character, Korolev - ...more
May 24, 2013 Raven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are few pleasures in life akin to immersing yourself in a great read, and after the brilliant series opener The Holy Thief, followed by the equally compelling The Bloody Meadow (seek them out if you haven’t already), I settled down for another trip to the claustrophobic and suspicious world of Stalinist Russia. So how did The Twelfth Department measure up to its predecessors?

Building on the strength of this already established series, Ryan not only gives the reader the requisite amount of
While I enjoyed - a bit unexpectedly - the first two installments, with this one the author hits it out the park, as the novel is a pitch perfect recreation of life in Moscow 1937

The bursting communal apartments, the all present Cheka/NKVD and its many informers, the very guarded talk, the privileges of the few but their terror too - as one housemaid to the nomenklatura puts it, I had 2 arrested, one moved and one killed himself, referring to her former masters, adding that it is safer just to c
Apr 09, 2013 Marleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received my copy from Mantle and rated it 5+ stars.

Captain Korolev of the Moscow Militia is supposed to have a week off when his son Yuri comes to visit him. Unfortunately arrangements like that are never certain in Moscow in the 1930’s and the day after his son’s arrival Korolev finds himself ordered to investigate the murder of an eminent scientist. Because the murdered man had close connections to those in power this is going to be a sensitive investigation, but it doesn’t become clear how
Sep 23, 2013 Jodi rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 02, 2015 Nigel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Alexei Korolev, a policeman in Moscow, 1937, is once again drawn into a case where the murderer is less terrifying than the political snares the investigation has to navigate to find them. A scientific director is found shot, but his work was for the security services, meaning that it was both secret and of questionable ethics. It may not even have been particularly scientific, according to his replacement, who ends up stabbed a few days later. Korolev is on the case and then, because a quick ...more
Jan 24, 2014 Robert rated it really liked it
Another murder mystery for our Militia Captain in the bad old days of Stalinist Russia. Paranoia is running rampant, neighbors and family members denouncing one another getting them sent off to some camp in the middle of nowhere. And that horrible knock on the door in the middle of the night. Midst all this Korolev will soon find himself between two different departments of State Security, one of them the Twelfth Department, attempting to locate a killer. Great stuff for those fans of Russian ...more
Jul 27, 2013 Steven rated it it was amazing
I generally don't do a good job getting free books. I have won 2 books at library thing but never received them. I never win giveaways. Just imagine my surprise when this book showed up. I had not heard of the author and it was the third in the series. The great news is what a discovery. Captain Korolev lives in 1937 Russia in the middle of the Stalin era. When two murders take place in two days he must worry more about the involved police organizations more than anything else. Can he solve the ...more
Mal Warwick
Sep 26, 2016 Mal Warwick rated it really liked it
Several English-language authors have written widely about crime in the old Soviet Union. Martin Cruz Smith’s terrific Arkady Renko series is the best known of the lot, but John Le Carre, Joseph Kanon, and others have notably entered the genre. One of the best is a relative newcomer, William Ryan, whose series of three novels featuring Captain Alexei Korolev of the Moscow Militia (police) makes for infectious reading.

An engrossing story

Alexei is called away from his first vacation in years with
Πάνος Τουρλής
Mar 11, 2015 Πάνος Τουρλής rated it really liked it
1937. Η μεγάλη εκκαθάριση του Στάλιν που αγωνίζεται να καθιερωθεί στο χώρο της προεδρίας της χώρας. Ο κομμουνισμός και η Επανάσταση έχουν επιφέρει τα αποτελέσματά τους: πείνα, εξαθλίωση, ανέχεια, φτώχεια. Μέσα σε αυτό το ζοφερό περιβάλλον ζει και ερευνά ο αστυνόμος της Διεύθυνσης Ποινικών Ερευνών και Λοχαγός της Πολιτοφυλακής της Μόσχας ("Μιλίτσια") Αλεξέι Ντιμιτρίεβιτς Κόρολεφ.

Μιλίτσια ή Πολιτοφυλακή των Εργατών και των Αγροτών ήταν η Αστυνομία της πρώην Σοβιετικής Ένωσης. Τις ποινικές υποθέσε
Dec 31, 2013 Miles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev is back!

When I first started reading William Ryan’s series a couple of years ago I hadn’t expected to like it as much as I did. I’ve never really had an interest in Russian history or any fictional story that’s based in 1930’s / 1940’s Russia come to think of it but there’s something about this author’s writing and characterisation that simply draws you in to the period, suffocating the reader, keeping them prisoner for as long as the book lasts.

Once again Ry
Αυτό το βιβλίο είναι μια ωραία ευκαιρία για να αναλογιστεί κανείς μερικές από τις μεγαλύτερες σύγχρονες πλάνες, ψέμματα που μας προβάλλονται και μας πασάρονται αφειδώς, αφηρημένες έννοιες χωρίς καμία υπόσταση και καμία δυνατότητα υλοποίησης, πάνω στις οποίες όμως έχουν χτιστεί τα θεμέλια του σύγχρονου κόσμου και η συνοχή των κοινωνιών, έννοιες όπως "δημοκρατία", "κομμουνισμός", "σοσιαλισμός", "ειρήνη", "ελευθερία", "ισότητα", κ.τ.λ.
Εδώ, λοιπόν, για άλλη μια φορά ο συγγραφέας (τρίτο του βιβλίο γα
Dec 28, 2013 Stephen rated it really liked it
It is 1937 in Soviet Russia, Stalin is in power and Alexei Korolev is a detective in the Moscow police department. Although divorced from his wife,Zhenia, he is looking forward to a visit from his son, Yuri. He has six days off and he intends to get to know his 12 year old son better. But everything planned is about to be turned upside down.
The murder of an important professor is going to require Alexei's undivided attention. He also realizes that he must tread carefully because Professor Azar
Jan 10, 2014 loretta rated it it was amazing
This latest book In The life of Captain Korolev is the most gripping so far. I have thoroughly enjoyed these books about a detective in Stalinist Russia. The author has combined a good mystery with the history of a country whose communist government is often less than forthright about its flaws..... For good reason.

The twelfth department more than the previous novels instills the reader with the menacing threat of living in a totalitarian country. Neighbors disappear, no one asks questions. Eve
Oct 19, 2013 Steph rated it it was amazing
The Twelfth Department is the third in William Ryan’s Captain Korolev series set in 1930s Russia. His previous novels in the series, The Holy Thief and The Bloody Meadow have between them been shortlisted for a range of fabulous awards including the Theakstones Crime Novel of the Year, the CWA New Blood Dagger, the Irish Fiction Award and the Ireland AM Irish Crime Novel of the Year.

The Twelfth Department is a stunning read. On every page of this novel you feel the undercurrent of tension and ho
Rob Kitchin
Mar 23, 2013 Rob Kitchin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Twelfth Department is the third instalment in Korolev series and sees the detective back in his native Moscow after his excursion to the Ukraine in his last outing. Ryan does an admirable job of recreating the tension and paranoia of pre-war Russia, and the ways in which ordinary people try to survive and get by in the system. Korolev is canny, street-wise and willing to take a risk, but he isn’t corrupt nor anti-establishment, instead trying to be a good citizen and comrade in a regime that ...more
Jul 07, 2013 Michael rated it liked it
Another very good novel by William Ryan.

The Twelfth Department is a gripping read, a natural page turner set in a world that is almost alien to our 21st century democratic, freedom of speech, western society. The underlying premise appears to be fear and the inhumanity driven by that fear, as well as the helplessness felt by a nation of people being consumed by a beastly system controlled be psychopaths and greed. Self responsibility however, is tellingly absent; blame is placed on the apparatus
Lee Margaret
Feb 11, 2014 Lee Margaret rated it really liked it
I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did.

The setting of this story is set in Moscow area. It's basically a thriller with a bit of mystery. The main character revolves around a detective who has been assigned a case to work on.

Overall this book is excellent in my opinion. One nice thing I liked about this book is that it is clean overall as far as sexual behavior goes. The other thing I like is that pace of the story moves quickly and keeps you involved and wanting to keep reading. So
Jun 06, 2016 Mike rated it really liked it
Shelves: english-fiction
I may have been a little harsh on William Ryan in my review of Korolev #2, having criticised the book on the grounds that the protagonist is not as interesting as others in similar series. And while it's true that Korolev is perhaps a little too like Arkady Renko, and that he's no Demidov or Pekkala, there's more to this series than the main character.

What Ryan does better than the books featuring the detectives listed above is to weave the darkness and fear of Soviet life into his narratives. H
Matthew Ogborn
May 22, 2013 Matthew Ogborn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My appreciation of this novel was hampered somewhat by reading it during a crazy work period where I could only manage about 10 pages at a time before falling asleep knackered. It did not jump out at me as much as Bill's first two books, however it still represents an intriguing entry in the Korolev series. I enjoyed the father and son exploration, together with Slivka's continuing emergence, more than the plot itself this time around. It got bogged down a couple of times in the first half, but ...more
Mar 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love finding new novelists, although the two page listing of Russian names and their identity at the novel's beginning almost discouraged me. Glad I kept reading and it turned out the list wasn't really needed as the author is such a competent story teller. A glimpse inside Stalinist Russia in the 30's when paranoia was justified in light of the mass persecution for non-Party thinking. The lead character is caught up in this terrifying net as he tries to solve two murders of scientists ...more
Jul 21, 2013 DrMom rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book from Goodreads. Set in 1930's Russia, The Twelfth Department delves into life under Stalin's reign. Korolev, a captain in the states militia, is assigned a murder investigation which unravels into state secrets, putting him between two senior NKVD officials, each of whom have separate agendas. Korolev's son Yuri, is taken by one of the colonels and he must decide how to play the game in order to get his son back safely and to save his own life. He is aided by colorful ...more
Jan 30, 2015 Cerisaye rated it really liked it
This series just gets better, and I hope it continues. Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev is an interesting and engaging character and Ryan does a good job fleshing out his supporting cast so even relatively minor roles are memorable (which helps with all those Russian names). The stories are complex enough to fully engage the reader's attention and keep you guessing. Best of all, however, is the way Ryan makes you feel the tense and fearful atmosphere of Stalinist Russia in the mid 1930s.
Mar 03, 2015 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What makes this series great; Korolev the main character and his personal life. You just have to like him, and his struggle to find out the truth in a very complex political world. And then there is this fascinating time in history where quite often the truth is not welcome and will be covered up. So lots going on to keep the reader's interest up.
Nov 27, 2013 Pamela rated it really liked it
Since reading "Gorky Park" by Martin Cruz Smith, I've tried to keep up with all mysteries Russian. This is a good one - tight plot, lively characters, fascinating historical setting (early 1930's Russia - did Muscovites really have cause to be so fearful and paranoid?). If you like this, try Sam Eastland's "Pekkala" series, starting with "Eye of the Red Tsar" and also set in Stalinist Russia.
Jun 04, 2014 Emily rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, even if the whodunnits are not really my thing usually. Korolev is quite a character and I really liked following him in Moscow! William Ryan manages to make Stalin's USSR very real to us. Fascinating, a real page-turner.
I'll say more about it in French on my webzite.
Aug 16, 2013 Sally rated it really liked it
Captain Alexei Korolev and is awaiting his 12 year old son Yuri for a week alone.
He is called in by his boss to follow up on a murder of a very important person in Moscow.
So begins a long and scary investigation during a period of total upheaval doing Stalin's time.
HIs vacation is on hold and so may his career. Don't want to give any clues away, so enjoy
a good summer's read.
Aug 15, 2013 Marie rated it it was amazing
Captain Korolev, militiaman in the post revolution USSR, walks the ultra-fine line between the Party line and his conscience. This time, it's frighteningly personal when Korolev's son becomes involved in a research facility where the methods are questionable at best. Note to author, write, man, write!
Jan 27, 2015 Godowd rated it it was amazing
I loved this book he just gets the settings right and the whole suffocating atmosphere of the time brilliantly. The character Korolev is forever balancing the states and his own welfare.

The books are so well written cannot wait for another.
Ronnie Justice
Dec 05, 2013 Ronnie Justice rated it really liked it
Another solid effort by William Ryan. With each book I have enjoyed a good mystery and learned to appreciate just what it means to live in a free nation. The backdrop is Stalinist Russia with its constant state of fear adds another dimension to the story that Holmes or Poirot just don't have.
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William Ryan is an Irish writer living in London. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and the University of St Andrews and worked as a lawyer before taking up writing full-time. His first novel, THE HOLY THIEF, was shortlisted for the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year, The Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award, The CWA John Creasy New Blood Dagger and a Barry Award. His second novel, THE BLOODY ...more
More about William Ryan...

Other Books in the Series

Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev (3 books)
  • The Holy Thief (Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev, #1)
  • The Darkening Field (Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev, #2)

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