Balthazar is a fully realised figure, riddled with contradictions and with a foot in each of the two communities that form modern Hungary. The plot has all the twists and turns of a high-concept Hollywood thriller (it’s no wonder that LeBor is developing his series for TV). But what makes Kossuth Square really stand out is the way LeBor intelligently grafts his novel’s thriller elements on to Hungarian history and politics as well as current events, from the rise of populism to organised crime. Each facet has the ring of truth.
I am a fan of foreign correspondent and crime writer Adam LeBor, who sets his intriguing stories in interesting locations. He lives part-time in Hungary, so it is no surprise that he sets this serpentine tale of political corruption there, against the background of a policeman hero who may be horribly compromised.
Detective Balthazar Kovacs is summoned to a luxurious brothel owned by his brother. A VIP Arab customer has died in embarrassing circumstances, and it emerges that he’s a Qatari financier who is a guest of the Hungarian government... An elegant, atmospheric tale that twists and surprises at every turn