Despite not having any first hand knowledge of Russia, I felt it evoked powerfully the "Wild East" of post-Glasnost Russia - and this is one of the book's great strengths. The other being that the story is a compelling, well written page turner.
The book is written as if Nicholas, the English expat lawyer protagonist, is writing a confession to his fiancé who is unaware of this particular story - this device was a bit clunky and was one of the few weaknesses of the book.
Nicholas does not start the book as a particularly moral individual (he describes his job as "smearing lipstick on a pig"), however his gradual corruption is extremely credible. I enjoyed the way the book hints at a dark crime which, as it turns out, whilst still dreadful, also appears to be - by modern Russian standards - fairly mundane. There are a number of vivid moments: the extreme Moscow winters; the aggression and rudeness of the average citizen; the horrible nightclubs; the two con tricks - one involving an apartment, the other millions of dollars; and the visit to the dacha. 8/10