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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sneak Peek Shows Year's Best Books

This week I have the great pleasure of giving The Moscow Times' readers a sneak preview of Knizhnoye Obozreniye's (Book Review Magazine) still unpublished bestseller list for the first half of 1997. And it is very revealing.

The most notable change is that, for the first time since these lists have been compiled, there is not a single foreign writer represented. The list is all Russian.

Secondly, serious literature has intruded a little on the usual diet of crime, thriller and fantasy fiction.

Third, never before have the top 14 positions in the list been occupied by the books of only six authors.

And finally, for the first time a female writer has featured very prominently on the list.

This record-breaking writer is Alexandra Marinina, whose name was scarcely known to readers two years ago.

A professor at the Moscow Police School, Lieutenant-Colonel Marinina has, with the help of her publisher, Eksmo, published more than ten crime novels during the last two years.

Seven of her realistic and well-paced crime novels reached the top of the bestseller list this year. They are Stylist (Stilist), Men's Games ("Muzhskiye Igry"), Illusion of Sin (Illuziya Greha), Nothing is Free (Za Vsyo Nado Platit), Strange Mask (Chuzhaya maska), The Bright Face of Death (Svetly Lik Smerti) and Black List (Chyorny Spisok).

Daniil Koretsky, a full-time writer of political thrillers, is the second most popular author of the year.

Currently two of Koretsky's new novels on the bestseller list: Basic Operation: Life in the Kremlin (Osnovnaya Operatsiya) and Working Pseudonym (Operativny Psevdonim).

The list is also dominated by old-timers such as Viktor Dotsenko, whose multi-volume adventures of Besheny, a Russian Rambo-type figure, continue to thrill the public.

Another old-timer that hasn't lost his flair is Eduard Topol, the New York-based author of Kremlin novels. Topol's Kitaisky Passage (Kitaisky Proyezd) is number four on the list.