Where the Fulcrum Lies
by Matt Lakes
Lanier Press

"You can be a killer, a mass murderer, without committing the actual deed. With a selected few others, you do it under the collective protection of the ideology, handcuffed to the crook of its all-encompassing umbrella."

Daniil Kuryakin is a brilliant nuclear physicist working on an atomic bomb for the Russian government. But when a routine inspection at the power plant leaves his wife Irina dead, Daniil begins to have doubts about his place in the world. The official report states that Irina fell to her death, but Daniil suspects something is amiss. Then there's the question of Zoya, the alluring wife of an official assigned to Irina's case. Where the Fulcrum Lies follows Daniil as he tries to uncover the truth but keep a safe distance from those who can hurt him. How can one man learn to live and trust while living in a time and place where neither is advisable?

Matt Lakes' debut novel showcases his talent for spinning a gripping historical tale. The novel transports readers to Soviet-era Russia, where Daniil makes a melancholy and realistic protagonist. Daniil struggles with the pain of loss, the danger of attraction, and an environment of distrust and lies. The novel dives into conspiracies and cover-ups, but also shows a more tender side through the idea of forbidden love. Regardless of the situation at hand, a cloud of darkness and dread hovers over every page. Irina's death causes Daniil to question what he does for a living, and attempt to shape his own destiny instead of following along with what the government has laid out for him. Reminiscent of Crime and Punishment and 1984, this is an excellent historical novel filled with intrigue and allure.

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