The Boy Who Stole from the Dead
Review: When young hockey star Bobby Kungenook is accused of murdering businessman Jonathan Valentine in an alley, he doesn't deny it. Indeed, he immediately confesses to the crime and then doesn't say another word. His guardian, Nadia Tesla, is convinced he couldn't have committed the act, but without help from Bobby she's on her own to determine his innocence, in The Boy Who Stole from the Dead, the second book in this series by Orest Stelmach.
Nadia immediately hires her friend Johnny Tanner to not only defend Bobby, but to do his best to extract whatever information he's holding back. She then begins to look into the victim's recent past, believing there must have been something that brought him and Bobby together that night in the alley. Her investigation leads her to London and then on to Ukraine, from which she brought Bobby to the US — the storyline of the previous book in this series. Separately, a reporter from a sports network is trying to determine just who, exactly, is Bobby Kungenook. He seems to have burst upon the scene from nowhere … and the closer she gets to learning his true identity, the more she unknowingly puts the young man at risk.
There is a strong sense while reading The Boy Who Stole from the Dead that this is merely an episode of a much larger story arc. And while it probably isn't necessary to have read the previous book, doing so would almost certainly help set the stage here. The primary storyline — did Bobby kill Valentine, and if so, why? — does stand alone in that it starts and ends within the pages of this book, but it is clearly not the most important narrative element. That would be the mystery surrounding a locket possessed by Bobby that he keeps on him at all times … though not in prison, where it is stored with his other personal effects, giving rise to a subplot of a man trying to obtain it, even if it requires clearing Bobby of the murder charge by less than legal means. And while this subplot seems complementary to Nadia's quest for the truth, the other major subplot does not, namely the reporter's search for Bobby's true identity, which is interesting and has its moments but adds little value in the end. Even so, it's a rather thrilling ride with a pacing that is brisk throughout despite all that is going on — and there really is a lot going on — so it is only slightly disappointing to discover that one will need to read the next in the series (and maybe the next after that, if this is more than a trilogy) to discover the true meaning of Bobby's locket.
Acknowledgment: Thomas & Mercer provided an eARC of The Boy Who Stole from the Dead for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Boy Who Stole from the Dead: New York; London, England; Ukraine
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The Boy Who Stole from the Dead by Orest Stelmach — A Nadia Tesla Mystery
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: March 2014
List Price: $14.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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