The Matryoshka Murders | Book by Kay Williams and Eileen Wyman

Praise of The Matryoshka Murders

"From the deep frozen snows of a remote Russian cemetery at midnight to the dark, dangerous cul-de-sacs of Brooklyn's Little Odessa, this tour-de-force of a mystery takes the reader on an unforgettable tour through terror. It will open windows on worlds you never knew existed, and keep you turning pages to its spine-tingling, satisfying end."

-Barbara Brett, author of Between Two Eternities

Actress, independent filmmaker, and author Kay Williams arrived in Leningrad in 1991 for a documentary festival and the seeds for this riveting suspense were laid. On her return to New York City, Williams and her writing partner Eileen Wyman drafted the plot weaving into the narrative important political and gender issues. The movement of who, how, and why within the plot is complex and makes an engaging page turner. Ultimately these women created this gripping murder mystery, which is part page-turner and part historical exposé."

-Diane Elliott, U.S. Review of Books

"Loved this book! It's a page-turner filled with twists and turns that will keep you hooked! What a thrilling read!"

-Nadia Anguiano,

"An engaging thriller from first to last, with a serious look at the lengths some are willing to go to force others into compliance. A reminder that liberty is not a given, but must be fought for on a multitude of levels."


"I do most of my reading in bed, and The Matryoshka Murders is such a compelling page-turner that it kept me awake for most of the night. I can recall only two political thrillers that ever did that before—The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth and Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household. I can’t wait for the next mystery by Williams and Wyman."

Hy Brett, author of A Secret Report to the True American Faith Society

"A brutal, gritty, and honest explication of 1991 Russia, a period of intrinsic violence, economic collapse, and political chaos, when no lives were safe and crime was a way of life. In Leningrad to attend the Second International Documentary Festival, documentary filmmaker Kate Hennessey intends to capture the nitty-gritty of daily reality for Russian urban women. Instead, she stumbles inadvertently and instantly into the seamier and violent side . . ."

Archie Standwood,

"When in Russia, do as the Russians do. This means don’t take pictures of the military or try to help women having problems with the authorities. Kate, the heroine of this intriguing and atmospheric novel set in Leningrad in 1991, is an American filmmaker who calls attention to herself by inadvertently violating these strictures.

Kate nearly becomes a murder victim when she and an acquaintance climb into a taxi driven by a drunken gangster. Then someone goes through her belongings. The KGB seems to be trailing her wherever she goes in Leningrad. Although she imagines her life will return to normal back in America, Kate is startled to realize someone out there has followed her from Russia and still wants her dead.

In this fast-moving, very readable thriller the authors have effectively captured the Russian atmosphere which, despite perestroika and glasnost, is as murky and menacing as ever-- and in which the KGB continues to remain in total control."

-Albert Ashforth, The Rendition

"With a heart-pounding opening and ending, every page of this beautifully written and soulful thriller will keep you rooting for Kate and Gilly."

-Shahrzad Elghanayan, author, upcoming family memoir

"The Matryoshka Murders is a thrilling page turner and great read for anyone. Set in Gorbachev era Russia and NYC, the characters are alive, engaging, human and deep. Important political and gender issues are woven in, add value and enhance the plot. A tour de force! Truly terrific!"

-Mack Lipkin, Physician, Writer, Editor

"Gutsy Kate Hennessey is filming a documentary that targets the harsh choices faced by women in Russia. But killers soon target Kate, and each harrowing escape draws her deeper into the nested plots that threaten. Readers will cheer as she and her Russian friends struggle through the political chaos of Russia—and America—in 1991."

-PM Carlson, Murder in the Dog Days

"What a page-turner! The story is thrilling as it unfolds. . . The focus on problems for women and the portrayal of women of strength is important, as is the reminder that we must never take our rights for granted, that without vigilance they may be lost."

-Sara Burneson, Educator

"I wanted to read this book because I am fascinated by Russian culture. This didn't disappoint, I feel like I learnt a lot about Russia from Part 1 of the book. Alongside this was the fact that this book is a real page turner, so fast paced you keep waiting for it to run out of steam, but it doesn't. Wow. I loved the characters, they were really well thought out and realistic. There were lots of little plot twists and the pace was kept throughout. I was sad to reach the end of the book, I could have kept reading! I was impressed by the way this book dealt with being gay and the challenges it can bring, which ran through the entire storyline without overwhelming it. A real eye opener."

-Laura Smith, Netgalley

"The book, inspired by the author’s trip to Leningrad during 1991, kept me glued to my seat from start to finish. The setting is very true to this time period with the poverty of the citizens of Russia, and the repression and paranoia that was going on. I loved the different little subplots and all the different characters. I love a good murder story and this was a wonderfully well written one. I lived overseas in Germany and the Netherlands and traveled to many places around this time period so I understand this story, and feel it portrays the happenings wonderfully. It was beautifully written. I will be looking forward to more books from Kay Williams and Eileen Wyman. I would recommend this book to anyone."


"A very descriptive novel about the people, places, and events, and hidden within it is an underlying plot that's disclosed towards the end. The story started out slow, but built up momentum like a rolling locomotive, creating a chain of events that resulted in an unexpected climax."

-Dan Leblanc,

“I liked this ARC a lot. It is a page-turner and the plot has many twists. A thriller that I will not soon forget. I recommend this to any thriller fan.”

-Dan, Librarything