Alexandra Neve is a student at University College London whose world suddenly falls apart. When her best friend jumps from the university’s rooftop, she can’t stop herself from asking, ‘Why?’ The police rule her friend’s death a suicide and for them the case is closed — so whom can she turn to for help?
Sometimes the person you need the most is the one you least expect to find, and in this case it’s none other than Ashford Egan, a blind middle-aged history professor, who’s more willing than most to listen to what she has to say.
Neve and Egan are as different as they come. She’s restless, careless at times, and fearless when the need arises, while he’s almost the complete opposite: a deep thinker with an analytical mind, a highly rational and collected individual.
As they enter the violent world of the Russian mafia, they must overcome their differences and learn to work together. It’s their only chance if they want to survive.
I don’t find much more information on Anthony Anderson and eventually stop researching for lack of interesting leads. I spend Monday morning tailing him, instead. I leave the flat at the crack of dawn in my mother’s old blue Fiat Punto and drive all the way up to the Andersons’, my camera on the passenger seat.
I park a little farther up the road, turn off the engine and check the camera. Mr Anderson’s dark Mercedes passes me, at six thirty. I snap two pictures, before turning on the ignition and following him at a reasonable distance.
He goes straight to work and disappears in an underground car park that requires an ID card.
I open the car door and move to the boot. I reach down for one of my short winter duffle jackets and a black cap. I shrug both on and then grab a small parcel, before closing the boot and walking to the Credit Suisse building.
I force myself to walk in as casually as I can, and approach the reception with a look I hope is confident.
‘Morning,’ I say to the young man at the desk. ‘Urgent delivery for Anthony Anderson.’
The young lad narrows his eyes on the parcel and then looks me up and down. I square my jaw. Time to see whether my plan’s going to work.
I pinned a badge on my chest. I made it up on my laptop, with a fake logistic company name and logo, and my name and picture. The cap on my head bears the same logo. It’s actually one of my old white caps that I craftily hand-painted last night.
‘Sure,’ the man says with an easy smile. ‘Leave it here; I’ll see that it’s delivered with the morning mail.’
‘Sorry, but it’s hand delivery only.’ I shrug apologetically.
‘Fine.’ The man motions to one of the men minding the elevator. ‘He’ll escort you.’
That’s not what I had planned. I smile nonetheless and follow the bulky man through the lobby.
The elevator doors close after us and I stand immobile in a corner. Porca vacca, Lexa! Why didn’t you think it through? I’ve been too hasty again. How could I think that they would just let me wander the hallways on my own? My cover will be blown if Anderson catches sight of me, and there I am, being escorted straight to him. Way to go, Lexa!
My escort takes me to an office and we stop in front of a secretary.
‘Parcel for Mr Anderson,’ I tell her, fighting hard to prevent my voice from quivering.
He has to be here, just behind the large wooden doors that bear his name. She’s going to call him and he’ll come right out and see me and then it’ll be goodnight Vienna!
Cristelle Comby was born and raised in the French-speaking area of Switzerland, somewhere between Geneva and Lausanne, where she still resides.
Thanks to her insatiable thirst for American and British action films and television dramas, her English is fluent.
She attributes to her origins her ever-peaceful nature and her undying love for chocolate. She has a passion for art, which also includes an interest in drawing and acting.
Russian Dolls is her first new-adult novel, and she’s hard at work on the next titles in the series.