The Big Issue – Nick Taussig, Five Crime Novels Everyone Should Read Before They Die

“A dazzling study of mental anguish and moral dilemma” Author Nick Taussig picks his essential crime fiction reads… The Big Issue, 7 August 2013   1. Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky Following the nihilistic student Raskolnikov, this is a dazzling study of mental anguish and moral dilemma. 2. The Godfather, Mario Puzo We’ve all seen […]

Independent – Five-minute memoir: Nick Taussig recalls a particularly trying trip across Russia

‘Mother Russia’ had long intrigued the author, but a journey across the country almost changed his mind… The Independent, 3 August 2013 A lifelong student of Russian literature – no one wrestles with the shadow self quite like a Russian novelist – it was perhaps inevitable that I would write a novel profoundly Russian in […]

Marcel Berlins reviews The Distinguished Assassin in The Times

“The Distinguished Assassin is Professor Aleksei Klebnikov, banished to a Gulag labour camp in 1949 on trumped-up charges. Set free in 1952, he becomes a hitman for a gangster, assigned to murder six brutal, highly placed Communist officials. Klebnikov’s ultimate aim is to kill the man responsible for his captivity and who, he believes, seduced his […]

The marks of a thief-in-law

Brought to popular western culture in the contemporary film Eastern Promises directed by David Cronenberg, and now on display at the Saatchi Gallery in the post-Soviet portraits of Sergei Vasiliev, the tattoo code language of criminals in the USSR had its roots far earlier, in Stalin’s Russia, amongst the thieves-in-law (vory v zakonye) – the […]

Putin’s Dark Imperium

I’ve had a passion for Russian literature since I was a teenager. Its grand themes of murder and redemption were always going to hold more appeal to a troubled adolescent than the airs and graces of yet another Austen novel – I pray the British people tire of her soon! – and after reading too […]

The Distinguished Assassin, First Extract

1st April ‘49 First, they frisk him down, then they start to go through his apartment, this shoddy home of Aleksei Nikolayevich Klebnikov, with its cracked plaster, which criss-crosses the walls; its peeling wallpaper, which droops from the ceiling; its old pipes, which cough and splutter; its wood furniture, which barely holds together; its paintings, […]