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After the demise of the Soviet Union, the newly-established Russian government privatized its industry by issuing vouchers to all of its citizens, allowing them the chance to be shareholders in the country’s burgeoning businesses. The slips are distributed among the population and auctions are arranged where they can be exchanged for actual shares. For the country’s rural populations living in abject poverty, the vouchers appear to be little more than pieces of paper, totally separated from the far-off concept of potential future fortunes.

But for Texas businessman John Mills and his Czech companion, Petr Kovac, the seemingly-valueless chits suggest a lucrative potential, worth much more than what the current owners are willing to sell them for. They travel to the furthest, coldest reaches of the country to acquire vouchers for the country’s national oil company, Gazneft, roving from town to town with suitcases full of cash. But they quickly learn that the plan has complications, and when the Russian mafia and the oligarchs in charge of Gazneft catch wind of their successes, the stakes become suddenly more deadly.

Josh Haven

TheBigThrill caught up to author Josh Haven to find out more about his second crime thriller, THE SIBERIA JOB:

Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?

Yes—it was when John Kleinheinz’s former partner was killed in a suspicious helicopter crash and he decided he wanted to tell his story to a writer just in case he had a suspicious accident himself.

A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?

I knew that being told a story with as much real-life drama as the events that inspired The Siberia Job is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I knew I had to put everything I could into TSJ or I’d regret it later.

Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?

Yes haha, Weezer’s Blue Album—it had just come out when the events of the book were taking place, and some of the characters listen to it in situ.

What can you share about what you’re working on next?

My next book’s the third in the Napoleonic Wars spy thriller series that I write under my other pen name, JH Gelernter – it’s coming out August 1st; it’s called The Montevideo Brief; it deals with the secret treaty signed between France and Spain to protect the last of the great Treasure Armadas, and how Britain hijacked those ships and a mind-boggling quantity of gold and silver. Pirates of the Brazilian coast and a detachment of American Marines feature heavily.


Josh Haven is a novelist who has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, and Jerusalem Post. THE SIBERIA JOB (Penzler Publishers) will be his fourth book and his second crime thriller. He also writes historical fiction as JH Gelernter published by Norton. Before writing novels, he worked in physics, on the dark matter problem, the lunar orbital velocity problem, and the formation of Saturn’s moon Hyperion. He began his career as a production intern at Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.


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