Nadelson, Reggie

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Nadelson, Reggie


Born in New York, NY.


Writer, journalist, and documentary filmmaker.



Red Mercury Blues, Faber, 1995, published as Red Hot Blues, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1998.

Hot Poppies, Faber (London, England), 1997, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1999.

Bloody London, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 1999.

Sex Dolls, Faber (London, England), 2002.

Disturbed Earth, William Heinemann (London, England), 2004, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 2005.

Red Hook, William Heinemann (London, England), 2005, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 2006.

Fresh Kills, William Heinemann (London, England), 2006.

Skin Trade, Arrow (London, England), 2006.


Who Is Angela Davis? The Biography of a Revolutionary, P.H. Wyden (New York, NY), 1972.

Comrade Rockstar: The Search for Dean Reed, Chatto & Windus (London, England), 1991, revised edition, 2004, published as Comrade Rockstar: The Life and Mystery of Dean Reed, the All-American Boy Who Brought Rock 'n' Roll to the Soviet Union, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 2006.

Somebody Else, Faber (London, England), 2003.


Reggie Nadelson has gained recognition for her mystery series featuring protagonist Artie Cohen, a Russian-American police officer in New York City. The first book in the series, Red Mercury Blues, was published in America as Red Hot Blues. The book introduces Artie Cohen who, having emigrated from Russia to the United States some twenty-five years earlier, vows never to return. But General Gennadi Ustinov, a former member of the KGB and Artie's godfather, contacts Artie and asks to meet with him. Ustinov, however, is killed on a television show before they can meet. Artie's investigation into Ustinov's death and his pursuit of the killer leads him to the Russian Mafia in New York and Moscow. Artie learns about a plot involving the smuggling of atomic weapons and a dangerous substance called red mercury. In a Booklist review, Bill Ott suggested that this volume can be perceived "as a suspense-filled thriller; as an atmosphere-drenched look at Russian noir; and as an introduction to a captivating new hard-boiled hero." London Observer critic John Snow called the book "a ripping yarn" and "a compulsive read."

Hot Poppies, Nadelson's second book in the series, finds Artie retired from the New York Police Department. He is called out of retirement when a friend, Ricky Tae, finds a dead pregnant Chinese girl in his shop and asks Artie to investigate the murder. Ricky was badly wounded in saving Artie's life during Artie's earlier Russian Mafia investigation. Ricky also asks the former police officer to find the drug dealer who has been sup- plying his daughter with a irradiated heroin known as Hot Poppy. In addition, Artie helps his lover, Lily Hanes, who is facing trouble in trying to adopt a girl from mainland China. Artie's investigation into these matters leads him into the underworld of New York's Chinatown with its illegal sweatshops and forced prostitution. Artie then travels to Hong Kong and eventually into China, where he uncovers the practice of selling and buying babies and young girls and where unattractive girls and weak babies are dispensable while pretty girls are forced into prostitution and healthy babies are fattened for adoption in the West. Artie eventually tracks down and confronts the ringleader, Mr. Big. As noted by a reviewer for Publishers Weekly: "Nadelson makes [New York's Chinatown] her own by creating fresh characters with unexpected insights that make their travails both entertaining and real."

In Bloody London, the Russian mob is taking control of the London real estate market. Ott felt that with this installment, the series seems to be abandoning Russian noir in favor of "a kind of surrealistic, almost-cartoonish melding of hard-boiled style and James Bondish content." Artie is now a private investigator working for his federal prosecutor mentor Sonny Lippert. Lily, now the mother of an adopted Chinese baby girl, worries that his current case will cause her past to come to the surface. Tolya Sverdloff, Artie's Russian friend from Moscow and Brighton Beach, who is now involved in high finance, has had a safe room constructed within his apartment. A Publishers Weekly contributor commented that "the novel really takes off … when Artie follows Lily to a London ready to burst from catastrophic rains and the accumulated poisons of decades of official greed and neglect."

Disturbed Earth is set in post-9/11 2002. Artie is back in New York and worried about the safety of his twelve-year-old godson, Billy Farone, when it is suspected that a serial killer is stalking New York children. Billy is missing, and a pile of bloody clothing, including a shirt given to Billy by his friend, May Luca, is found under a Brooklyn boardwalk. A young girl is found dead, and Artie calls on the Brighton Beach community of Russian emigres and mobsters to help solve the case. A Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote that Nadelson "pulls few punches, and the final revelation is a genuine shocker—a rare accomplishment in crime fiction these days."

Sadness pervades Red Hook, with Artie now married to Maxine Crabbe, who lost her firefighter husband during the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Artie does not love her as he did Lily, and voices no opposition when Maxine leaves for the Jersey shore with her twin daughters, Maria and Millie. Artie will join them, but first he makes a trip to Red Hook, which is in the process of being gentrified, to meet with his old friend, retired journalist Sid McKay. Sid, who is gay and black, is upset with the state of the news media and the greed of the real estate players who are taking over, and is ultimately murdered. Other plot threads include the fear of a terrorist attack during the Republican convention and Lily' reappearance to explain why she left Artie. New York Observer reviewer Max Abelson wrote: "Nothing can match that vibrant real-estate map of New York, but what comes closest is the novel's central threesome—the cynical mogul, the doomed old man, the restless investigator. They've got more nervousness than nerve, which fills the novel with twitchy, wobbly energy." "Everything comes together on the waterfront in a finale so involving you won't sleep until you turn the last page," wrote Helena Kennedy for the Guardian Online. Marilyn Stasio, who described Nadelson as being "a regional writer to the core," noted in the New York Times Book Review that Nadelson views the old, abandoned neighborhoods "through those twinkling lights that make everything look beautiful at night."

Before Nadelson wrote her first mystery, she produced a book that examines the life and death of musician Dean Reed. Comrade Rockstar: The Search for Dean Reed follows Reed's rise to mediocre success in the United States in the early 1960s and his association with the Soviet Youth Organization, which helped him achieve true fame and notoriety. In researching his life, Nadelson interviewed those who knew him, including girlfriends and wives, his mother, and other celebrities of the time. Reed, a Colorado native, was an extra in Hollywood, a South American political activist, and a great success as a Soviet Union film and pop star during the 1970s and 1980s. Russian teens thronged to see him, and he was favored by Russian leaders because he promoted official political positions. In 1986 Reed's body was found in a lake near his home in East Germany. Nadelson discusses the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death, which may have been related to his desire to return to America. Nadelson, like many Russian women of the time, was enthralled by the handsome, charismatic singer and, after his death, she sought to discover the truth of his life and death. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, previously secret documents became available. Much information about Reed was revealed and Nadelson included these details in the revised edition of her book, published in the United States as Comrade Rockstar: The Life andMystery of Dean Reed, the All-American Boy Who Brought Rock 'n' Roll to the Soviet Union. New Statesman writer Dave Hill found that "Nadelson conveys this bizarre narrative with wit and pathos."



Booklist, February 15, 1998, Bill Ott, review of Red Hot Blues, p. 989; January 1, 1999, Bill Ott, review of Hot Poppies, p. 838; November 15, 1999, Bill Ott, review of Bloody London, p. 607; April 15, 2006, Joanne Wilkinson, review of Comrade Rockstar: The Life and Mystery of Dean Reed, the All-American Boy Who Brought Rock 'n' Roll to the Soviet Union, p. 17.

Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 1998, review of Red Hot Blues, p. 157; April 15, 2005, review of Disturbed Earth, p. 454; April 15, 2006, review of Comrade Rockstar, p. 395; August 1, 2006, review of Red Hook, p. 758.

Library Journal, April 15, 2005, Roland Person, review of Disturbed Earth, p. 80.

New Statesman, March 22, 1991, Dave Hill, review of Comrade Rockstar, pp. 44-45.

New York Observer, December 11, 2006, Max Abelson, review of Red Hook.

New York Times Book Review, July 9, 2006, Thomas Mallon, review of Comrade Rockstar, p. 11; November 26, 2006, Marilyn Stasio, review of Red Hook, p. 21.

Observer (London, England), December 10, 1995, John Snow, review of Red Mercury Blues, p. 15.

Publishers Weekly, January 18, 1999, review of Hot Poppies, p. 331; November 22, 1999, review of Bloody London, p. 45; May 2, 2005, Leonard Picker, "PW Talks with Reggie Nadelson: 9/11 Changed Everything" (interview), p. 180, review of Disturbed Earth, p. 181; April 10, 2006, review of Comrade Rockstar, p. 61; August 14, 2006, review of Red Hook, p. 183.


Guardian Online, (October 29, 2005), Helena Kennedy, review of Red Hook.