Snowdrops by A.D. Miller Atlantic (e-book) A.D. Miller is one of two debut novelists on this year's Man Booker shortlist. Perhaps more importantly, he is the second genre(ish) writer to make the grade in recent years, after Tom Rob Smith's Child 44. Like Smith's breakthrough, Snowdrops is a thriller set in Russia. Miller selects contemporary Moscow, a place he knows well as a reporter for The Economist. English lawyer Nicholas Platt meets Maria Kovalenko on Revolution Square. Narrated in sure strokes, we learn rapidly not to trust Maria: 'I can at least be sure of her name,' Platt says, before confessing she is 'Masha' to her friends. The short prologue prepares us for the worst: a corpse is found in the snow (giving grim accents to the seemingly beautiful title). Platt's instant attraction to Masha bodes badly. His narration doubles as a confession to his fiancee back in England. Egged on by Masha and her sister Katya, Platt gets involved in a plot to divest their 'aunt', Tatiana Vladimirovna, of her valuable flat. This intimate plot runs concurrently with a much bigger fraud at his job. Beautifully written and artfully structured, Snowdrops is a superior thriller and an incisive portrait of contemporary Russia.