Literature / Inspector Pekkala

Written by Sam Eastland. Inspector Pekkala used to be one of the most powerful people in Imperial Russia. Known as the Emerald Eye, he could investigate into and uncover any threat to the state, and he answered only to the czar.

Then the Russian Revolution happened. Pekkala was captured and thrown into a gulag, where he stayed for ten years, living in solitary. He finally got out when Stalin called for him to reinstate the title of the Emerald Eye. Now Pekkala is the Soviet Union’s top investigator, and committed to stopping threats to the communist state…

The six books so far are:

Eye of the Red Czar

The Red Coffin (UK title)/Shadow Pass (US title)

Siberian Red (UK title)/Archive 17 (US title)

The Red Moth

The Beast in the Red Forest

Red Icon

A new book, Berlin Red, is due to be published in 2016.

Inspector Pekkala contains examples of:

  • Adorkable: he may be a NKVD officer and a bit awkward around Pekkala at the beginning, but Kirov is a very nice guy who genuinely cares for the inspector, loves cooking and likes his aromatic herbs so much he has turned his office into a giant greenhouse.
  • Badass Normal: Pekkala.
  • Bomb Throwing Anarchist: Chief Inspector Vassileyev, Pekkala's boss during his time in the Okhrana, lost his right leg to one of these.
  • Bullying a Dragon: both Pekkala and Stalin's secretary are fond of doing this... to Stalin himself, no less.
  • Celibate Hero: both Pekkala and Kirov are single and more or less married to their job. Kirov seems to get a girl from time to time, but Pekkala really lives like a monk.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: as the story deals with the NKVD and the Okhrana, the trope is hardly avoidable. Cigarette burns are a favourite of both services.
  • The Coroner: Pekkala’s dad. Working with him is how Pekkala learned to identify causes of death in his investigations.
  • Enemy Mine: Pekkala makes very clear he can't stand Rasputin, but it does not prevent him from helping the "mad monk" from time to time, while Rasputin likes giving the inspector some tips on how to deal with the imperial family.
    • also between Pekkala and Stalin: when the Emerald Eye was arrested, it was Stalin who kept him captive and tortured him.
  • Historical-Domain Character: plenty, from Nicholas II to Stalin, also staring the imperial children, Rasputin and many others.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Pekkala makes sure to teach all his tricks to Kirov and not to involve him with his most illegal deeds, while the major would literally do anything for his boss (including travelling to Siberia in mid-winter and taking a crash-course in parachute jump); add the fact that Kirov spends a lot of time cooking for Pekkala and regularly berates him for wearing old-fashionned and shabby clothes, and their relationship looks really sweet.
  • Ho Yay: Admit it. Pekkala and his assistant Kirov sometimes quarrel together like an old married couple, despite both being completely straight men.
  • Human Popsicle: something that often happened to the gulag prisonners, according to Pekkala's memories.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: before the October Revolution, Pekkala was living with a young teacher named Illya, and was captured by the Communists before he could propose. When Stalins finally frees him, the inspector considers leaving Russia for France, where Illya is now living, but learning she is happily married with a child, he decides to remain in Moscow and let her believe he is dead.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Stalin is an adept of manipulation as a management method. Surprisingly, Nicholas II also used this against many of his officers and servants, Pekkala included.
  • Mercy Kill: Pekkala does this to a prisoner, because the alternative was for him to go to a gulag where he would be experimented on like a live lab rat.
  • The Remnant: The Comitati in Book 3 sure seem to think this.
  • Royally Screwed Up: as seen in Pekkala's memories, the czarina Alexandra was so anxious and depressed that she took cocaine, which only worsened her symptoms, the four imperial princesses were at best indifferent to their situation, at worse in full nervous breakdown, and the crown prince suffered from hemophilia.
  • Shout-Out: Pekkala is often believed to have supernatural powers, due to being from Finland. Now, where did we met a character named Pekkala with magical powers ?
  • Unwitting Pawn: when the imperial government fell, the czar deliberately sacrificed Pekkala, telling the Communists where to find and arrest him, so they would focus on breaking the inspector rather than torturing the czar and his family. Nicholas II was hoping to remain safe and escape with the secret reserves of gold he had sent to Siberia.