The Half Life of Valery K

by Natasha Pulley is a gripping Cold War-era thriller. In 1963, former nuclear scientist Valery Kolkhanov is pulled out of a Siberian gulag to work on a mysterious project. Under the supervision of his old mentor from university, Valery is brought to a mysterious place called City 40, an isolated outpost in the woods that has been exposed to such intense nuclear radiation that the trees surrounding the city appear to be rusted. Valery is tasked with studying the effects of radiation on the environment but begins to suspect he’s not being told about the true extent of the damage--or the danger it poses. Meanwhile, he’s being shadowed by a KGB agent, Konstantin Shenkov, whom Valery finds himself surprisingly drawn. As the two navigate their dangerous attraction, more secrets unfold about City 40.