Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Trans-Siberian Express by Warren Adler | Book Review

I received Trans-Siberian Express from NetGalley and I think I only clicked on it because it had a train on the cover.  I love trains.  Turns out I love this book, too!

Trans-Siberian Express is totally not my usual type of book.  It's adult instead of YA and it's got spies in Russia.  Russian politics and place names and people names can get really confusing, you know?  But Warren Adler gave us a character list right in the front of the book for reference!  And it's not that long of a list.  If it was familiar, American names the author probably wouldn't have even needed to do that.

So, the plot of the book follows Dr. Alex Cousins as he travels by train from Moscow through Siberia to the coast of the Sea of Japan.  He is one of the leading cancer experts in America, and has just come from treating a top politician in Russia.  As soon as he boards the train, though, he notices the possibility of KGB agents watching him.  On the way to the dining car the first evening, he notices that there's an entire car of KGB agents attached to the end of the passenger train.  As the journey progresses, the intrigue only grows stronger, as does Dr. Cousins' attraction to one of his fellow passengers, the sultry Anna Petrovna.

Trans-Siberian Express isn't a Jason Bourne novel.  It's not all action and go-go-go.  It's more of a slow build-up, but the climax is INTENSE when we reach it!  I was able to pace myself and enjoy the ride... until about 2/3 of the way through.  Then I had to drop everything (including sleep) and keep reading until I reached the end!

Warren Adler does great things with a very limited setting.  Instead, he more than fully develops multiple characters.  I could really feel like I was there on the train with them.  I saw them fully fleshed in my mind; could hear them conversing.  I could smell the Russian borscht and hear the muffling of the snowfall.  This book made me want to travel to Moscow to take a ride on the Trans-Siberian Express!  (Do they even still do that?)

I read a lot of YA, so the few behind-bedroom-doors scenes startled me just a little.  Otherwise, I'm considering buying a copy to give to my dad!  That's a good endorsement, there.

*I received Trans-Siberian Express for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.  I received no monetary compensation for this review.

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