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Gorky Park: A Novel (Arkady Renko Series Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Martin Cruz Smith
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (162 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $11.88
You Save: $4.12 (26%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

"Brilliant...One of the best books of the season."
ASSOCIATED PRESS
A triple murder in a Moscow amusement center: three corpses found frozen in the snow, faces and fingers missing. Chief homicide investigator Arkady Renko is brilliant, sensitive, honest, and cynical about everything except his profession. To identify the victims and uncover the truth, he must battle the KGB, FBI, and New York police as he performs the impossible--and tries to stay alive doing it.


From the Paperback edition.


Editorial Reviews

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From the Inside Flap

"Brilliant...One of the best books of the season."
ASSOCIATED PRESS
A triple murder in a Moscow amusement center: three corpses found frozen in the snow, faces and fingers missing. Chief homicide investigator Arkady Renko is brilliant, sensitive, honest, and cynical about everything except his profession. To identify the victims and uncover the truth, he must battle the KGB, FBI, and New York police as he performs the impossible--and tries to stay alive doing it.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1803 KB
  • Print Length: 386 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0812977246
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (November 23, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0061C1NQ6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,155 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
(162)
4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
112 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the best of its genre March 8, 2001
By sid1gen
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I often return to "Gorky Park." I almost didn't go there at all. The film was not very good, although I liked Joanna Pakula. One day I read "Polar Star" (literally in one day, since I could not put it down) and I was hooked: I had to read "Gorky Park." Almost ten years later, I think I've read it ten times. I can always spare a day or two for one of my favorite books.

Welcome to the world of Investigator Arkady Renko, whose superiors use him, whose wife doesn't love him, whose country is like an insane asylum where the patients have the run of the place and sane people like Renko do the best they can. This is a great mystery novel, but the level of Smith's writing puts him far above the level of what we expect from "genre" novels. His characters became real people for whose fate I really cared. His plot is complicated but not overwhelmingly so. He does not trick the reader. And his detective, the militia investigator Arkady Renko, is one of the most memorable detectives in fiction: smart without being pedantic, intelligent, patriotic (yes, our Arkady truly loves his country), loyal to his friends and the woman he falls in love with. This is not the picture of a perfect man, but that of a basically good man. Renko is believable in his feelings and attitudes, and that is due to Smith's talent. Also thanks to the author we get an almost Dickensian description of Moscow and the inner workings of criminal investigations in the old Soviet Union. I felt I was in Moscow, and I finished reading the book truly caring for the characters in it, particularly Renko. Smith's novel is powerful, well-written, engaging, insightful, and a lesson in how talented writing can be applied to genre fiction for the benefit of everyone involved. "Gorky Park" and the other Renko novels are so far above genre, they make the rest look really bad, and they provide hope for genre novels in general: talent should not be divorced from entertainment. Excellent read.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cynical, disturbing police procedural inside U.S.S.R. December 8, 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Martin Cruz Smith's "Gorky Park" is a literary thriller, and is more notable for Smith's unique style and his gift for capturing the bizarre Soviet world than it is its conventional plot and resolution.

"Gorky Park" is ostensibly a police procedural, where maverick investigator Arkady Renko is the "one good cop" in a corrupt justice system investigating the murders of three young people in Moscow. Of course, this being a thriller, Renko's investigation takes him high up the food chain, where he gets a chance to expose high corruption, nefarious deeds by officials, and the hypocrisy of the world he lives in. And, of course, he falls in love with a gorgeous woman along the way.

Two things set "Gorky Park" apart from conventional thrillers you see in every airport bookstore. The first has to be Smith's command of daily life in the Soviet Union. Published in 1981 before the collapse of the Soviet Union, "Gorky Park" sweeps along with the rhythm of daily life under communism, and it's a disjointing, jarring rhythm indeed. Smith combines an eye for detail with what must have been eye-numbing research to transport the reader to another world that is completely alien to Americans. The novel starts out in Moscow and ends in New York, and it's interesting that Smith is so able to capture the jarring differences between the two cities.

Smith's style also elevates "Gorky Park." Too many thrillers use language in purely functional terms, and dialogue is invariably direct and serves the purpose of clearly advancing plot or building character. In "Gorky Park," Smith is much more subtle than your average author.
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46 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars start of a terrific series April 18, 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It was unfortunate I saw the Hollywood version of "Gorky Park" before reading the novel. The film does not do justice to the main character or the storyline. It cannot compare to the book! After reading "Polar Star" and Red Square", the second and third installments of the series, I picked up the original and loved it. More recently, "Havana Bay" was published, and later this year a long-awaited fifth novel, "Wolves Eat Dogs", will be released. Arkady Renko, the protagonist of the series, is an honest, dedicated, hard-working Ukrainian cop. When he was Chief Homicide Inspector for the Moscow Prosecutor's Office, he took charge of a grisly murder case involving the international fur trade. Very quickly, he fell afoul of the KGB. That's how his troubles began, which pursue him throughout all four novels. I recommend this series highly. The settings are supurbly drawn -- from snowbound Moscow to an Arctic Sea fish processing ship, from a steam-filled banya to the steamy port of Havana. Wherever he goes, Arkady brings his cynical love-hate relationship with the Soviet system which often impedes his work. Like Columbo, he outsmarts the sly evil-doers while seemingly fumbling his way along the investigation. And he has more lives than the proverbial cat as his sleuthing lands him in the most lethal stews! Author Martin Cruz Smith has created one of the most likable protagonists in police fiction. Cleverly writing the character as just "Arkady" -- intimately using his first name -- helps endear him to the reader. We care for Arkady because of his moral strengths, his humility and compassion, and despite his weaknesses. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great insight to Russia mores.
Published 6 days ago by Paul A. Stokes
2.0 out of 5 stars So so
The main character was a caricature of the police detective of novels: a divorced (or so-to-be-divorced) alcoholic cop who dislikes and tends to ignore authority. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Ralph
5.0 out of 5 stars would recommend
Excellent book, it was a great experience for me. As I have been in Gorky park,so it was good memories.
Published 21 days ago by Jeana C. Rossi
5.0 out of 5 stars Renko vs the world
Renko is my favorite Russian detective and his partner provides great comic relief. Don't go by the movie version, which horribly miscast the great William Hurt in a role meant... Read more
Published 1 month ago by J. Kittay
5.0 out of 5 stars MCS at his best
The best (and first) of the Arkady Renko books. Sets the stage for all the others and provides insights (with literary license) into the late stage Soviet era in Russia..
Published 1 month ago by Cliff Colman
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes :)
I admit I saw the film first, but think the book is better - skips the sentimental movie ending. Renko is sure to be an enduring character in the genre of Russian police... Read more
Published 2 months ago by elfillinois
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good storytelling that feels like it could be happening right now in Russia
Published 2 months ago by sheldon ramer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A great adventure/mystery/police novel.
Published 2 months ago by ETXAGGIE
5.0 out of 5 stars Why did I wait thirty years to read this?
I guess I wasn't very old when it came out, but somebody should have thrust Gorky Park into my hands right after I finished Green Eggs and Ham. Read more
Published 2 months ago by VG
3.0 out of 5 stars It's ok.
I read the paperback and saw the movie many years ago and recently decided to buy the hardcover and read it again. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Outdoorsman
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More About the Author

Martin Cruz-Smith's novels include Stalin's Ghost, Gorky Park, Rose, December 6, Polar Star and Stallion Gate. A two-time winner of the Hammett Prize from the International Association of Crime Writers and a recipient of Britain's Golden Dagger Award, he lives in California.

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