I belong to an English-language writer’s club here in Madrid, and because there aren’t a lot of us, I sometimes critique books outside my usual preferences. That’s how I got to read the novel Who Is Mr. Plutin? by Rebecca Strong as a beta reader. I’m glad I did.
The setup sounds like it might be a Mary Sue, but it’s not: A young New York Russian-American woman named Vika wakes up one morning in St. Petersburg, Russia, and she’s someone different, someone she knows nothing about. The new Vika is blonde, beautiful, and slim, and she has a luxury apartment with a closet full of designer clothes, not to mention a wonderful, handsome, filthy rich husband. And a dog.
Who is she? Or rather, what? Nothing in her life has prepared her for this, and soon she realizes that staying alive depends on figuring it out, and she can trust no one. As she bumbles along, stumbling in her new high heels, every discovery reveals that things are worse and more dangerous than she thought – and for more people than just herself. In fact, her new life seems to involve Mr. Plutin, the president of Russia, and some sort of espionage mission or conspiracy involving advanced science, but with who and against who?
If that were not bad enough, she’s pregnant with no idea who the father is, since she can’t remember anything, and morning sickness hardly seems useful.
It’s a fast, fun, and funny story full of plot twists, smartly told. Rebecca Strong spent enough time in Russia to know the country from the inside, and has spent enough time developing a sardonic sense of humor and writing skills to tell a good story.
As I said, this book would have flown under my radar if I didn’t know her personally. It would have been my loss.
Who is Mr. Plutin? is being released today.
— Sue Burke