The title of Tom Bryson's excellent crime novel, Sarcophagus, only hints at the dire events to come. One thinks of a sarcophagus as a receptacle for a human corpse. In this case, it refers to the cement enclosure built around the Chernobyl Nuclear Power plant after the meltdown there in 1986. Secrets, lies and betrayals followed. So it is in this gripping thriller.
In 1985 Greg Stevens was a bomb disposal expert for the UK Royal Engineers. Wounded by an IRA sniper, he almost died. Now he's a recently widowed businessman. Because he was born forty years ago in a village near Kiev, the UK government sends him there to evaluate a possible collaboration with Ukrainian businessmen. Greg's father accompanies him, hoping to repair a longstanding rift with his brother, who lives there with his widowed daughter Natasha. Bryson makes clear the devastating after-affects of the Chernobyl meltdown. His description of the wasteland near the nuclear power plant is chilling. Political corruption, betrayal and a diabolical plot by Ukrainian thugs lead to a tense standoff as Greg fights to save Natasha, the woman he's come to love. Highly recommended! -- Susan Fleet, author of DIVA, a New Orleans crime thriller