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Volk's Game MP3 CD – MP3 Audio, 26 June 2007
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About the Author
Stephen Hoye has won more than a dozen "AudioFile" Earphones Awards and two prestigious APA Audie Awards, including one for "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert T. Kiyosaki. He has recorded many other notable titles, such as "Every Second Counts" by Lance Armstrong and "The Google Story" by David A. Vise and Mark Malseed.
- Publisher : Tantor Audio; MP3 - CD ed. edition (26 June 2007)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1400154510
- ISBN-13 : 978-1400154517
- Dimensions : 13.46 x 1.52 x 18.8 cm
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OK, so I'll admit that it took me a while to get into the rhythm of "Volk's Game". I mean, here's a guy - Volk - who gets like one phone call a day - but he's too busy to waste a syllable, answering his calls with only a clipped "Go?" I'm thinking, is this another one of those mindless plastic-hero jobs from the legion of hack pop thriller knockoffs that you can too easily get trapped into reading by phony reviews and shameless promotion? But I stick with it, and soon I'm consumed by the sheer badness of Volk, a Russian veteran of the war in Chechnya - a tale with violence that would be merely gratuitous were it not for the backdrop of Hell that Volk and his comrades faced battling the incorrigible rebels of that God forsaken region.
Well, it's several years since Chechnya, and Volk is now a not-so-common criminal, dealing in drugs, flesh, whatever will deliver to him hard Western currency. But when two underworld lords both approach him with the mission to steal a prize that you clearly can't purchase with your MasterCard - an undiscovered Da Vinci holed up in the subterranean basements of St. Petersburg's Heritage Museum - Volk finds himself trapped in a classic Russian chess match of betrayal, deceit, and brutality unmatched by anything I've encountered in modern crime fiction. Volk's journey piles up more body parts than a George Romero film, and more brains than an MIT Homecoming - but in Ghelfi's warped world, the brains are not neatly packaged, but variously mixed with bone and blood and splashed across concrete or asphalt or other bodies. Volk is the assassin everybody wants on their dance card - a killer who at once will jam a Kalashnikov down a woman's throat, but stop to drop a 100 ruble note on the passed-out husk of a war veteran or abandoned child. He is a lost and formidable character with depth and depravity that seems to have been depleted of the capacity for joy - except for a complicated and, were it any other novel, poignant love for the beautiful but damaged Valya. But before the last page turns, we learn that there is more to Volk that what we see in his impenetrable and continually battered exterior.
This is "The Da Vinci Code" told with broken vodka bottles and tasers to the groin - grand and bellicose and melodramatic - yet despite all, irresistible in a lewd, voyeuristic way. If you haven't gathered by now, this is fiction is not for everyone - definitely not chick lit, definitely not for the feint of heart, sure to offend more sensitive, politically correct readers. It is certainly not Tolstoy or Dostoevsky - except for the uniquely melancholy ebb and flow of Russia that Ghelfi mimics and captures. So I'm hooked, and waiting delivery of the encore, "Volk's Shadow". And a tip of the hat to CPL for pointing me to Brent Ghelfi and this outrageous new feast of mayhem, crime, and mystery.
I really tried to like this book. It had all the makings of a great ride. But take the humanity out of characters, even the 'anti-hero' and others and you have a lot of action, but no heart. Subsequent sequels will go on without me.