Snow: A Prequel Short Story (Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov #0.5), by Stuart M. Kaminsky

Seven stars

Needing a quick short story to tide me over, I chose Stuart M. Kaminsky’s prequel short story from the Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov series. Knowing nothing of these novels, I entered this piece without any preconceived notions. During a heavy Moscow snowfall, newly minted Officer Porfiry Petrovich Rostnikov and his superior are in search of a baby. Having visited a crime scene in a Moscow apartment, Rostnikov and Inspector Luminiov noticed a still-warm crib close to a recently murdered woman, leading them to believe that someone has a little one. With the snow close to blinding, Rostnikov and Luminiov locate a man atop another building, carrying what appears to be a bundle. Rostnikov uses his wit and gift of calm speech to bring the man’s defences down, if only to save the baby before something dire can take place. With Luminiov and a gathering crowd waiting, one can only hope that this new recruit has it in him to help the situation, not add to the body count of this winter night. An interesting story that, should I continue on with the series, will likely prove poignant in helping me build a larger understand of the character who will rise through the ranks of the Moscow Police Department. For now, a neutral recommendation, as the story was too short to really point me towards any particular group of readers.

I admit that I have not read any Kaminsky before this piece, which can sometimes be a good thing, keeping me from being influenced one way or the other. Interestingly enough, I could find no mention of this book on any sites (such as Goodreads), so I am at a loss to really understand if this was a lost story or one embedded into a larger collection of short pieces by many authors. All the same, Kaminsky does have a good grasp on how to lure the reader in and lays the groundwork for what looks to be an interesting series. Rostnikov may be a young officer, but he has a history, as yet not fully understood. His leg injury at the hands of a Nazi tank is likely one that has more play in another piece, but it does show his roughened exterior and ability to survive, making the most of what he has. The brevity of the story leaves little time for any other characters to shine during this snowfall, but the minute portions of character development on offer suits the story well. Meagre folks who remain nosy but not willing to help pepper the short piece and help shape part of the setting’s despair and lack of caring. The story itself is decent, though it almost seems as though Kaminsky needed somewhere for his long-standing protagonist to begin and chose this piece to flesh it all out. I am not sure if I’d rush out to binge this series, but I will surely keep it in mind when I am looking for something new and perhaps a little different from my usual reading fare.

Kudos, Mr. Kaminsky, for this interesting piece. It served the purpose I had (needing a short story) and has me slightly intrigued, but I am not dazzled just yet!

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