The Boy from Reactor 4 by Orest Stelmach (2013, Thomas & Mercer, United States)
A young Ukrainian-American woman with a few skeletons in her closet and a ton of street smarts is lured into a thrilling game of cat-and-mouse over two continents, as she races to uncover a valuable family secret and protect the cousin she never knew, a massively talented teenaged hockey player named Adam. From New York City to Kyiv, to the radioactive Dead Zone in Chernobyl – and finally to the icy Gvozdez Islands in the Bering Strait, Nadia Tesla frantically tries to stay one step ahead of vicious Ukrainian mobsters more than willing to kill for the treasure she seeks. I was seriously impressed with the originality and pacing of this gritty mystery, and Stelmach’s descriptions of the various settings – in particular the Dead Zone – are absolutely staggering. I’m eagerly anticipating digging into the rest of the trilogy.