M.D. Johnson’s Midnight in Moscow
Midnight in Moscow opens with a scene with immediate familiarity for local readers: a news story featuring a car set ablaze at a BWI parking lot. Then a young Russian American woman is found murdered along the C&O Canal. From there it’s a short hop to Annapolis and the main character, Emily Cowan, a sassy sleuth of a certain age who globetrots from western Maryland to Germany, Russia and the Near East.
Midnight is Book Two of author M.D. Johnson’s ISIS Project, following 2006’s Circle Around the Sun, which featured many of the same characters. Both are self-published by Mill City Press.
Cowan, the energetic heroine, shares Johnson’s cheeky, dry humor.
This time, Cowan untangles a web of organized crime involving international slave trafficking, arms dealing and encrypted folksongs.
Author Johnson knows those three subjects better than most. An Annapolis-based investigational researcher and music critic with European and Mediterranean roots, she is a noted lecturer on Middle Eastern affairs and women in terrorism. In both books, she spins her knowledge into a suspenseful tale of international intrigue.
At 330 pages, Midnight is both a heavy and a light read. It’s heavy because of the topic and the richly detailed plot line that requires careful attention to details. It’s light in Cowan’s humorous manner of managing all the craziness around her. Chapters average about five pages long, perfect for bedtime and commuter reading.
Johnson has said that she wrote this book to help stop the trafficking of women into slavery, yet this is not just smart chick-lit. With cutting-edge analysis of the current political climate and numerous references to the pop culture of the 1970s, this action-packed mystery has appeal for men and women of all ages.