The Sin Collector (Masha Karavai Detective Series)

by Daria Desombre

Other authorsShelley Fairweather-Vega (Translator)
Paperback, 2017




AmazonCrossing (2017), 332 pages


In this thrilling debut novel from Russia, a brilliant law student investigates a series of recent killings and uncovers the dark terrors of medieval Moscow. Ever since the unsolved murder of her father, law student Masha Karavay has nursed an obsession with homicide cases. When she nabs an internship with Moscow’s Central Directorate Headquarters, seasoned detective Andrey Yakovlev gives her a file of bizarre, seemingly unrelated slayings that should keep her busy and out of his way. But when Masha discerns a connection between the crimes and the symbolic world of medieval Moscow, she has Andrey’s full attention. The victims weren’t just abandoned…they were displayed—from Red Square to Kutafya Tower to the Bersenevskaya waterfront. What Masha and Andrey are dealing with is no ordinary serial killer, but rather a psycho with an unfathomable purpose, guided by sacred texts to punish his victims in the most unspeakable—and public—ways. As each clue leads deeper into a maze of fanaticism and medieval ritual, all that stands between the terrors of ancient Moscow and a series of murders defiling a modern city is Masha and the killer himself. Soon, their personal obsessions will collide.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Dokfintong
Dear Ms Desombre:

Please consider using a different translator for your next book.

I enjoyed the story in "The Sin Collector", but Ms Fairweather-Vega's translation has stripped all the Russianness out of it. Most of the patronymics have been removed, so it jars when one pops up. Blini at breakfast are now just pancakes, and beautiful Russian onion domes have become cupolas, which architecturally they are not. Maria Fyodorovna Karavaya becomes plain Masha Karavay. Bizarrely, Detective Captain Andrey Yakolov has a "crocodile" smile, even though "krokodile" is a horrible horrible Russian drug.

Part of the reason for reading international fiction is to get a feel for a place and a culture. The Moscow presented here could be anywhere and Masha Karavay could be any law student.

I received a review copy of "The Sin Collector: Masha Karavai [sic] Detective Series" by Daria Desombre, translated by Shelley Fairweather-Vega (AmazonCrossing) through There has been some mistake made in the title on Amazon with the "Karavay" in the text becoming and "Karavai" in the online title.
… (more)
LibraryThing member LilyRoseShadowlyn
Good premise but there's no hook in the story, and it moves too slowly to keep the reader going. I went in wanting to like this book - the description promises a thriller, one I wouldn't want to put down. Unfortunately, it completely failed to deliver.


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