Shame, Shame, I Know Your Name is the second thriller in the Marina Konyeshna series by Heather Harlen. Its fast paced dialogue and action kept me turning the pages. Human trafficking remains the driving force behind the plot. Her a fresh inner dialogue, utilizing her innate wit and intelligence, provides readers with suspense, danger, and drama from Moscow's soup kitchens to its night clubs. Marina's irrepressible personality makes her a highly likable protagonist.
This novel starts and ends in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, where danger lurks in the shadows as Marina prepares to leave her small town life. Her tumultuous relationships with her mother and sister are portrayed with honesty; her friends and family are totally against her Russian travel plans. She blunders ahead without thinking things through, perhaps a symptom of her attention deficit disorder, though she conscientiously takes her medication every day.
Marina's latest adventures exceed all expectations. She is recruited by Cassidy, the television travel documentary host who was introduced in the first Marina trilogy, to join her in Moscow to make another huge dent in the flow of human trafficking. She leaves behind the Pennsylvania mines that nearly doomed her in the first Marina thriller for the harrowing streets and nightclubs of Moscow. Marina impersonates a mega Russian rock star who just happened to be her exact double, an act which has its own set of dangers—as does trafficking heroin on a train back to Moscow after being drugged and kidnapped at a nightclub.
The heroine's quick thinking and feisty spirit make her memorable as she maneuvers the threads growing medical marijuana back in Pennsylvania of human trafficking, to harvesting human body parts. The plot thickens as Marina is recruited to work with Russia's richest woman.
Harlen served in the Peace Corps in Russia in from 1997-1999. The author's knowledge of Russia and her familiarity with Moscow could not be obtained in a library or Google search. I traveled in Russia as a tourist, and Harlen's accurate descriptions and details of Russia in this novel are on the money. Her use of Russian words and expressions throughout the novel impart an aura of authenticity.
This novel is particularly pertinent with all the action in and around Moscow. She creates a variety of Russian characters which will hopefully help us all realize there is much more to Russia than a few distorted caricatures that we see through the media on a daily basis.
Shame, Shame, I Know Your Name is a fun quick read, though not a light or forgettable one. This novel leaves the reader with much to ponder long after reading. Personally I am anxious to read Book Three in the Marina Konyeshna Thriller Trilogy!
Heather Harlen is a writer and a teacher. Her two years in Russia as a Peace Corps volunteer inspired much of the Marina Konyeshna series. She holds an MA in Creative Writing and is a National Writing Project Fellow. She lives in Allentown, PA with her husband. You can find out more on her website.
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