Broken Hearts-Bloody Trails
In 1954 he was the most promising spy Russia had ever smuggled into the United States. By 1984 he was one of the richest capitalists in the world.
The Commissar's Report begins deep in the doldrums of the 1950s. Stalin's in the Kremlin shooting intellectuals, Ike's on the golf course shooting above par, the KGB and the CIA are shooting each other, the Cold War is getting hot, and Dimitri is in love with Enemy Number One. He's simply bonkers about all the things that make America great: the Brooklyn Dodgers, Cadillac convetibles, Bloomingdale's, Life, Time, Fortune, and pink flamingos. His first problem is that, as a Russian spy, he's supposed to be hatching plots to conquer the good old U.S.A. Worse still, he's becoming, through no fault of his own, one of the wealthiest capitalists in the world.
Dimitri's dilemma is rooted in the dark, deadly days of post-war Stalinist Russia when his father, a member of the secret police, smuggled home contraband copies of Life magazine. While Dad was at the office liquidating his rivals, Dimitri and his brother were furtivel6y reading Life at home in the Worker's paradise.
"From every photograph, Enemy Number One drew us into its secrets and mysteries and its power. We soared in its planes and raced in its Buicks Suddenly wew were in Florida, where the nightclub echoed to Latin musica and gangsters with blondes sat in velvet chairs It was the women of Enemy Number One that sent us into ecstasy. The brassiere ads totally wiped us out, as they say. We sat there gaping at these nearly naked creatures with their two white shiny cones beckoning us to illicit thrills. There was nothing like them in our city. All the women were like our mother. Shaped like wood stoves."
Thus is our young hero of the Russian Revelution secretly smitten by the sirens of capitalism. In due course Dimitri is marked by the Kremlin as a young man with an exceedingly devious mind. Accordingly they assign him to the New York Consulate of the U.S.S.R. For Dimitri, at last united with his love, it is a dream assignment.
But, as dreams go, America quickly takes on the colors of a nightmare from which there is no awakening. In short order, Dimitri finds himself intrigued against his own chief of station, whose highest ambition is to ship the young spy back to Moscow preferably in a steamer trunk. At home in the consulate, he finds his future threatened by Katya, his voluptuous wife, whose highest ambition is to have an unlimited and most unsocialistic charge account at Bergdorf's. On the streets, he is stalked by Lavrenti, a boyhood friend turned CIA-agent and nemesis, whose thirst for revenge compels him to kill Dimitri in a thousand little ways and one big final payment. And down on Wall Street, Dimitri is plagued by his own wild talent for making money in the stock market, a lot of money, enough money to make him one of the hundred richest men in America something that his employers in Red Square would find difficult to overlook if they knew.
And, as Dimitri knows too well, the old men of the Kremlin have a deadly habit of knowing everything sooner or later.
A unique and highly entertaining table of dark humor and rich understanding, The Commissar's Report is that rare novel that is simultaneously thrilling, moving, and hilarious. What Joseph Heller did to World War II with Catch-22, Martyn Burke does to the Cold War with The Commissar's Report.