About the Book
Solovetsky occupies the island site of a former monastery in the White Sea. Here, hundreds of miles from civilization and with a skeleton crew of secret-policemen in charge, some prisoners are consigned to all kinds of forced labor while others sit at comfortable desks in administrative or cultural positions.
With the brutal winter fast approaching, Tolya Bogomolov, a young mathematician serving a three-year sentence, hopes an acquaintance he’s been cultivating will lead to a less brutal work assignment. Knowing Gennady Antonov holds a privileged position restoring the monks’ seized collection of icons ought to improve Tolya’s odds of reassignment. But when Antonov’s body is discovered floating frozen in the bay, their connection turns dangerous. At first the authorities question Tolya, but then he’s mystified when they assign him to assist the elderly detective investigating the case – but better to find the real killer than have the murder pinned on him. To avoid becoming the murderer’s next victim, Tolya must defy Solovetsky’s unforgiving regime and make ruthless use of his fellow prisoners. Putting his story to paper thirty years later at last means reckoning the true cost of his survival.
Praise for James L. May
May’s writing seamlessly integrates his detailed research into this experimental prison camp with the intrigues of criminals intent on looting religious treasures. He has made this debut novel a masterful historical detektiv tale.
― Library Journal
By turns clever and revealing. . .a fine debut. A brainy novel that presents a different spin on the prison-camp novel.
― Kirkus Reviews
James L. May’s, The Body Outside the Kremlin, is an astonishing debut novel, equal parts compelling mystery, penetrating social history, and exhilarating examination of the human heart. May expertly conjures Soviet prison life in the frozen gulag of the 1920’s with a perfect eye, prose as keen as a throat-slasher’s blade and a tone as delightful as Martin Cruz Smith putting Arkady Renko through his paces. What a wonderful, full-bodied treat of a book readers have to look forward to.
― Les Standiford, author of Palm Beach, Mar-a-Lago, and the Rise of America’s Xanadu
The Body Outside the Kremlin is a riveting historical whodunit that mines the depths of political conflict and religious intrigue. Author Jamie May delivers an unforgettable history lesson and a meta-mystery of the highest order.
― Joe Clifford, author of Skunk Train and the Jay Porter thriller series
About the Author
James L. May holds an MFA from Florida International University, along with a BA in English from Cornell. He grew up in New Jersey, lived in New Orleans, and now lives in New York City. His short fiction has appeared in Tigertail, and he reviews fiction for The Florida Book Review, Gulfstream Literary Magazine, and New Orleans Review.
Author’s website: www.jameslmay.com