Finding Katarina M.
Natalie March is a successful surgeon enjoying a busy life in Washington DC. As her demanding career has left little time for friends or romance, her deepest relationship is with her mother, Vera March, a Russian immigrant and MS patient confined to a rehab. Vera is haunted by the fact that her Ukrainian parents were sent to the gulag, Stalin’s notorious network of labor camps, when she was just a baby. All her life she has presumed that they perished there along with millions of other Russian citizens. Natalie would do anything to heal her mother’s psychic pain: it’s the one wound that she, a doctor, cannot mend.
When a young Russian dancer named Saldana Tarasova comes to Natalie’s office claiming to be her cousin, and offering details that only a family member would know, Natalie must face a surprising truth: her grandmother, Katarina Melnikova, is still very much alive. Natalie is thrilled to think that her Russian family is reaching out and that Vera may be able to reunite with her mother after so many years. In fact, Saldana has a darker motive for making contact. Suggesting that her family is in grave danger from Putin’s government, she pleads for Natalie’s help to defect. Unwilling to break the law, Natalie puts her off. Then the unthinkable happens, and Natalie is drawn into a web of dangerous family secrets that will ultimately pit her against both the Russian FSB and certain members of the CIA.
How far will Natalie go to find Katarina M. and satisfy her mother’s deepest wish? How much will she risk to protect her Russian family—and her own country—from a deadly international threat? Masterfully plotted and beautifully written, FINDING KATARINA M. takes the reader on an extraordinary journey across Siberia—to reindeer herding camps, Russian prisons, Sakha villages, and parties with endless vodka toasts—while it explores what it means to be loyal to one’s family, one’s country, and ultimately to oneself.
Praise for FINDING KATARINA M.
A heart-stopping saga.
Gripping…fascinating historical details…Natalie’s tense and illuminating journey will enthrall readers.
Insistent in its twisting narrative, the novel takes a turn into something darker, stranger, and much more terrifying as it unfolds. Natalie remains a compelling companion for the startling journey Elo has generated.
—Seattle Review of Books
Finding Katarina M. is an amazing accomplishment for a writer who’s already shown that she has serious chops. Elo takes the reader on a trip to present-day Russia that’s breathtaking in its scope and ambition. That she pulls everything off with an undeniable air of authenticity makes the entire novel a real tour de force. The story is tightly woven, the characters are complex and believable, and the setting is nothing short of a miracle in print. I highly recommend it.
—Elizabeth George, #1 New York Times bestselling author of THE PUNISHMENT SHE DESERVES
Finding Katarina M. is a gem–a thriller that explores deeper questions of family ties and the long reach of history. Elo takes us on a spellbinding journey through modern Siberia, a land most Americans will never see, in a story that grips from beginning to end.
—Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of JUDGMENT
Gripping, powerful and chillingly realistic, this gorgeously written thriller spins the relentless and passionate saga of a high-stakes search for family–a search that lures the determined Natalie March to the frightening ends of the earth. With its perfectly realized setting, emotional depth and bitter political realities, this proves Elisabeth Elo is a major talent.
—Hank Phillippi Ryan, Nationally bestselling author of TRUST ME
Elisabeth Elo’s fine new novel begins compellingly as a thriller but moves seamlessly into an intriguing journey of survival and self-discovery. I love a story whose twists are truly unpredictable, and Elo delivers in spades.
—William Kent Kreuger, New York Times bestselling author of DESOLATION MOUNTAIN
I picked up Finding Katarina M. just before bed, with the intention of peeking at the first few pages and calling it a night. That was a mistake. The mystery of Natalie March’s family sucked me right in. Elo writes her characters with a perceptiveness and depth that takes this well-plotted mystery to another level. Prepare to be addicted from the get-go — this one is riveting from page one.
—Jennifer Hillier, author of JAR OF HEARTS
Readers can relax and enjoy a fast-moving romp through the shadows of Siberia, learning about an area of the world that is strange, enticing, and also forbidding. Finding Katarina M. lives up to the one of its epigraphs, a quotation from Czar Peter the Great: “Russia is the land where things that don’t happen, happen.”
—New York Journal of Books
This isn’t just a book–it’s an adventure.
—Betty Taylor, Reading Is My Passion