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Starred Review. In Smith's riveting seventh Arkady Renko novel (after 2010's Three Stations), Renko, now a Senior Investigator for Very Important Cases, looks into the apparent suicide of crusading investigative journalist Tatiana Petrovna, who fell from a window to her death in Moscow. Renko's bosses have no problem accepting the suicide theory, but Renko and his loyal partner and friend, Det. Sgt. Victor Orlov, continue to search for answers. Smith spins a complex plot involving the Russian mafia, a teenage genius struggling to crack the code of Petrovna's notebook, and an excursion to Kaliningrad, the isolated Russian enclave on the Baltic. While Petrovna may be a candidate for sainthood (she's evidently modeled on real-life reporter Anna Politkovskaya), the most intriguing character after Renko is contemporary Russia—freer than it was at the height of the cold war, but at least as corrupt and vastly more unequal—into which Smith offers many insights. Agent: Andrew Nurnberg, Andrew Nurnberg Associates (U.K.). (Nov.)
*Starred Review* The more Russia changes, the more it supports Arkady Renko’s unremittingly bleak worldview: “I’m a cynic. I believe in car wrecks, airline disasters, missing children, self-immolation, suffocation with pillows.” And, yet, he soldiers on, a cop perpetually on the outs with his superiors, trying to solve cases that no one wants solved. “I have no authority anywhere,” Arkady explains, “but I like to understand things.” But things, in the New Russia, are getting harder and harder to understand. Arkady knows corruption, of course, but the new corruption, from officialdom through the Mob—now as powerful as the party ever was—leaves even a lifetime cynic shaking his head in wonder and dismay. The apparent suicide of investigative reporter Tatiana Petrovna—Was she really murdered? Is she even dead?—sends Arkady on another of his ill-advised searches for answers, this time taking him to Kaliningrad, an isolated, Mob-dominated city with the highest crime rate in Russia. What Arkady finds there is a grayed-out surreal landscape, postapocalyptic but without an apocalypse, in which the answers he seeks are as elusive as they are lethal. That Smith has kept this series going for more than 30 years, finding through decades of change more and more reasons for Arkady to justify his cynicism, says much about the modern world—and much about Arkady’s bedrock humanity in the face of snowballing absurdity. If a man believes in self-immolation, Tatiana asks Arkady, what doesn’t he believe in? “I don’t believe in saints,” Arkady replies. “They get people killed.” --Bill OttSee all Editorial Reviews
It's a quick, but inconsequential read. It has packed in a few more cute jokes, but the dispirited Arkady we all know and loved from Gorky Park offers us nothing new. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Don T. Alligeary
Always enjoy Martin Cruz Smith novels...this one didn't let me down.Published 11 days ago by leslie southwell
Thank goodness Martin Cruz Smith gave us another story with Arkady Renko who I find an always-interesting character and a plot not easy to predict. Read morePublished 11 days ago by James Kenealy
All Martin Cruz Smith books are excellent. One of the few writers that is consistently excellent.Published 1 month ago by Greg M
I have started several of his other books such as Tatiana after rereading Gorky Park. Although he is a very talented writer, nothing compares to Gorky Park for me. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Louise
I really enjoy all the books in this series, This one included.Published 1 month ago by Dawn Doetkott