The Boy from Reactor 4
by Orest Stelmach
3 stars - intense
ALR Green - some animals mentioned, briefly sad, nothing to worry about
Nadia Tesla has a cool name. Hey, that's a hook for me.
Anyway, she decides to make some inquiries into her father's past. Dad immigrated from Eastern Europe and, well, maybe his life prior to coming to the US wasn't all that wholesome. Pretty soon she's in trouble with the local branch of the Ukrainian mafia and on a mission to Chernobyl to rescue her teenage cousin, along with a secret that could possibly change the course of the world. Wow!
The book focuses primarily on Nadia's desperate flight through Ukraine and Russia both in search of her cousin and then to get him away. Her Ukrainian enemies hook up temporarily with the local gang and pursue her relentlessly.
It's fast and it isn't pretty. Everybody who Nadia comes in contact with is at risk as the mob follows her trail and presses people for information. While I understand a map would have given too much away, it still would have been useful. I quickly lost track of where she was (and was too lazy to consult the Internet).
Don't be fooled by the short chapters and do pay attention. There aren't that many characters, but I still got a little confused regarding who was who and what their motivations were. No worries. Things happen fast and I got the gist.
I'm just giving three stars because even though this book really drew me in, there wasn't much to it at the end of the day. Yes, some things to think about regarding the state of Eastern Europe, but not much investment in the characters for this reader. Still, I've popped the sequel into my queue because I see potential with this author and am keen to learn more about Nadia's adventures.