Ten years after cracking her last “banker’s grave” murder case, the CIA has recruited Louise Moscow into their financial crimes division.
Louise is ready to shed her cover as a Burgundy lavender farmer…and return to the spy game. All roads lead to Sienna on her top-secret mission: to expose the devastating fraud behind the collapse of the world’s oldest bank.
Her investigation becomes a race to discover a mysterious treasure, while fighting a new enemy…The Master of Russian Dark Arts.
Risking her life to shine a light on corruption, can Louise expose the rot that has taken hold of Sienna?
Targeted Age Group:: 18 and Over
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
After the release of Louise Moscow Book 2, Pinot Noir, several new unsolved mysteries I discovered in my research nagged at me. I immediately began looking into the Russian-style Mafiya behind Deutsche Bank's criminal activity that destroyed the world’s oldest bank.
The scandal included everything from corruption and murder in international banking, to medieval mysticism, all in the historically rich region of Tuscany, in particular Sienna, the home of Monte dei Paschi Bank, founded in the 1472.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Most of the characters in my third Louise Moscow novel have returned from the first two novels. My series heroine's personality is loosely based on my own life and experiences. Her investigative work, as well as that of her spy collaborators, is based on my experience in finance and historical events in international banking.
They were taking Louise to Saint Petersburg – previously known as Leningrad – to a secret prison especially authorized by Vladimir Putin to get information from detainees.
“Какие ваши любимые рестораны в Санкт-Петербурге?” the driver asked Raskalov, "what are your favorite restaurants in St. Petersburg?"
They finally gave it away, Louise thought, as Raskalov and the driver continued their casual conversation.
Louise recalled some insight from training. Food is always a common way to get Intel. She was on Russian soil now, no doubt transferred via private plane from the Florence airport. Her brain mentally ticked off the possible places they might be taking her, in her somewhat limited knowledge of the city. When she had done a deep dive into the Russian language at Langley, geography of the major cities was included.
Think, think! Saint Petersburg!
In a far-flung brain cell inside Louise’s foggy mind, knowledge forged some lightning. Kresty was the prison in St. Petersburg. Translation, Cross, for its distinct cross-shaped buildings. She became fascinated with it in the language labs because within the prison’s 1730s roots was an infrastructure that was once the town’s wine warehouse. Since she had moved to Burgundy her knowledge of wines had grown exponentially every year, so it jumped out at her. Expansion of the prison was completed in 1890, adding buildings creating a complex in the shape of a cross. After another century of Russian change, the prison was officially closed by Putin in 2006.
They are taking me to Kresty. It makes sense. It can still function as a prison, but clandestine forces could control who is brought there. Louise strained to hear the conversation in front, aware that Raskalov was occasionally glancing back at her to make sure she was still sedated. She needed to know if her premonition was correct. Finally, the confirmation she needed came.
“У них ещё рабочая кухня в «Крестах»?” the driver asked, "do they still have a working kitchen at Kresty?"
Kresty! sang Louise’s synapses.
“Что с тобой и с едой? Успокойся, ладно?” retorted Raskalov, half in jest.
"What is it with you and food? Be cool, okay?" Louise translated to herself. Again, food gave it away. It was a secret prison, a spy novel cliché of historic absurdity. Putin had been a KGB foreign intelligence officer for sixteen years. If there was anyone who would allow enhanced interrogation…Louise had to leave those thoughts. She must stay ‘fake sedated’ for as long as necessary. She went into a meditative state, aware but in a deep relaxation.
The van suddenly pulled to a stop. An electric gate, heavy in sound, rung in her ears. The van continued.
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