Goodreads ~ Ottawa bureaucrat–turned-diplomat Charlie Hillier is back. Having barely survived his first posting in Havana, Charlie is eager to put what he learned there to good use. And it isn’t long before he's thrust into a fresh case - a technical writer from Toronto in a Moscow jail on dubious drug charges. Charlie has barely put a dent in the brick wall that is the Russian legal system when the jailed man turns up dead, the official explanation: suicide. And just when evidence to the contrary is discovered, the body is “accidentally” cremated by the authorities.
Undeterred by bureaucratic stonewalling and determined to help the victim’s sister get to the bottom of her brother’s death, Charlie follows the sparse clues available. But what he uncovers brings them both far too close to powers more dangerous than they could have imagined. Suddenly, getting at the truth is less important than getting out of Russia in one piece.
Charlie is middle-aged, divorced and working with Foreign Affairs, reporting to headquarters in Ottawa. He recently transferred from a posting in Havana to Moscow. He meets Steve, a fellow Canadian who is a technical writer working in Moscow. Steve has been in jail after being picked up at a party ... he was apparently the only foreigner there without a passport.
As Charlie works to help him, Steve is found dead in his cell of an apparent suicide. Charlie breaks the news to Sophie, Steve's sister, who travels from Toronto to Moscow take her brother's body home. The body, though, ends up being accidentally cremated after Sophie identifies it. Sophie is a doctor and sees some signs to make her suspect that Steve's death wasn't a suicide after all. She looks to Charlie for help to find out what really happened.
This is the second and latest in the A Foreign Affairs Mystery series (I read the first one last year) and the second book I've read by this author. It is written in third person perspective, from Charlie's point of view. For the most part, I liked the story and characters, I found it confusing at times, though, and had a hard time keeping the Russian characters straight (who they were, what they did and how it pertained to the story). As a head's up, there is swearing and adult activity.
I look forward to reading more in this series.