top of page



A corporate thriller with a painfully topical focus on the Internet personal information insecurity turns into an urban noir mystery into a sweeping crime road story and, eventually, into a blood-curdling psycho thriller — in this mind-exploding literary puzzle from a rocketing star in Russia’s genre scene.

Serge is an ordinary guy you meet in a corporate office — a computer geek in his late twenties, who resets an email password or gets you a new keyboard. No one would ever guess that Serge survived through a terrible experience in his past that let him scarred for life. Haunted by the ghost of his lost love, Serge carries a perfectly routine but lonely life. He works in an IT department of a London-based company, dresses smartly, cycles to work, eats takeaways, and plays video games. Sometimes, he stays online for the night in a chat with his only friend — in fact, a randomly matched gamer in an online shooter. They don’t know each other’s real names, they never talk about personal things and yet, when Tron disappears from the chat, Serge sets off on a journey to find his missing friend.

Shortly before disappearance Tron hinted that he came into possession of some extremely sensitive data that, if the word gets around, presents a potential threat to his life. Serge’s initial investigation reveals that his friend seems to have fled London for a tiny village in the Northern France. Serge takes an afternoon off work and flies over — only to find his only friend with a bashed-in scull. Local police call the crime a burglary gone wrong, but Serge senses foul play.

The few pieces of evidence in his possession point that Tron — who turns out to have been a high-profile computer engineer — was connected to top managers of major IT corporations. By the time Serge is certain that people behind his friend’s murder plan to get rid of him as an un- wanted witness – someone has broken into his London flat. Guided by Tron’s note of an appointment with a lady named Lisa at a time of world’s largest IT and mobile convention and a polaroid picture where Tron stands along with two girls, Serge takes off for Barcelona to meet the mysterious Lisa who might be the only clue to his investigation.

Lisa shares a story of her late boss, a beautiful and successful woman named Rita, chief marketing officer of a scandalous dating app — and the other girl from the photograph. Her accidental death after a huge convention afterparty in the previous year left the industry in shock. Now both Rita and Serge see the connection between the death of the young woman and the murder of his friend. Lisa remembers that shortly before death her boss blackmailed owners of the controversial dating app with her access to the clients’ personal information from the app database. She schemed to use the threat as a tool for a corporate promotion. With the help of a newly found confidant and ally, Serge starts digging to be soon confronted with a strong resistance, which could mean only one thing — they must be on the right track.

As the chase after shadowy secrets of the modern IT industry fastens and the mist in noir tiny streets of Barcelona thickens, Serge loses control over demons from his past. Under pressure and emotional tension, the two women — the one he once lost and the one whom he’s about to lose if they don’t solve the murderous conspiracy — blend into one. But this time everything will be different, Serge knows he will fight against the whole world but will not let the woman of his dreams abandon him again.

The second novel by Nazarova allows naming the author’s trademark narrative manners — the defeated expectancy and completely unpredictable plot twists. What starts as a slow burning corporate thriller gradually transforms into an urban city noir to a sweeping road story and, eventually, the rollercoaster of a psycho thriller. Valentina Nazarova masters at keeping readers aghast at each new turn of the novel’s page. 

Book details


Novel 2018

380 pp

Rights sold

  • Czech Omega

Literary awards

  • Nominated for the National Bestseller Prize 2018

bottom of page