Sunday, July 21, 2019

BLACK SUN by Owen Matthews

July 23, 2019
Thriller, Suspense
Reviewed by Gina  (
Obtained by Publisher
3 Hearts

The year is 1961 and it is the height of the cold war.  The USSR and United States are vying for supremacy and building bigger and better bombs is a popular mode of achieving that goal.  America had “Little Boy” and the USSR is in the midst of building RDS-220 – an even bigger nuclear bomb in a secret city, Arzamas-16.  When one of the scientists building the bomb dies, State investigator Major Alexander Vasin, is sent to investigate.  When he arrives it seems the death is not, as the initial report claims, a suicide.  Is it an accident?  Or is it murder?  The deeper Vasin digs into the mysterious death, the more questions he has.  And this is communist Russia where spies spy on each other.  Where the state controls every aspect of life…and death.  And what of RDS-220?  Will it create devastation or prevent further war?

I was definitely enticed by the blurb I read for Owen Matthews’ Black Sun.  It sounded like it was going to be a white knuckle page turner of a thriller.  While there were some intense moment, especially at the end, for the most part the story rolled along without much drama.  There was a considerable amount of technical information and to Matthews’ credit he had the characters explain a lot of what it meant.  I found the information on uranium and its various make up fascinating.  The tone of the story, Matthews’ story telling voice, lends itself strongly to the overall idea of what I thought Russia, the USSR, was like growing up—cold, dark, dreary—and that was the people. 

Every so often there was a bit of humor thrown in – which made the story richer because you never saw it coming. 

I never warmed up to Vasin  I’m not sure if it was because he was a victim of his circumstances or he just wasn’t a character I’d ever relate to.  Black Sun is an interesting read, one that I think most male readers would enjoy.  The twist at the end was a letdown.  Here Vasin has come so far and now this…and you’ll have to read it to see just what “this” is.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement

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