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Stalin's Ghost: An Arkady Renko Novel Paperback – June 3, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
FOR RENKO LOVERS : You will find all Smith's trademarked nihilistic, ironic and laconic gems of dialogue that have been keeping you awake at 3 am and unproductive at the office the next day. You will find the excellent supporting Russians, Chechens, chess grand masters, devoted detectives, all orbiting Renko. They are all unique, they all speak wise and they never ever seem ersatz. You will also read some poigniant chapters about Arkady as a child. And you will discover that Arkady can even waltz.
However an Arkady novel every year is different from an Arkady novel every 5 years. Don't expect the complicated plots of Gorky Park, Polar Star, Red Square and Havana that secure second, third and nth readings. This Arkady looks more like a mini series. Think of an analogy. If Godfather I and II were adopted into a TV series (with the director and all of the original casting) it would still be great but it wouldn't be... the same.
I don't want to ask the writer to wait for 5 years until he delivers the book that even Pribluda would canonize. I am very happy with one Renko every year, adding to his belly scars from Gorky Park and his butchered back from Red Square a strangulation and a shot in the head. Long live Arkady. 3 ½ stars.
FOR RENKO BEGINNERS : Start chronologically. First read Gorky Park. Then re-read it.Read more ›
stretch him out longer." King Lear, Act IV, Scene 3.
I have read and very much enjoyed Martin Cruz Smith's previous Arkady Renko novels. Renko's erratic career path as a police inspector has seen him survive, barely, the apparatchiks of the Soviet regime in "Gorky Park". He survived the USSR's imminent demise in "Polar Star" and the emergence of bloody cowboy capitalism, Russian-style in "Red Square". In "Wolves Eat Dogs" Renko operated in a Russia dominated by an elite group of billionaire oligarchs who fed like vultures, even upon the radioactive ruins in the Ukraine and Belarus created by the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster. Now, in Smith's new novel "Stalin's Ghost", Renko lives in a Russia in which the dislocations caused by the last twenty-five years have left many Russians feeling nostalgic for the security and certainty they felt under Stalin. Stalin's ghost may or may not be vexed by being placed upon the rack of this tough, brave new world that is Russia but his presence is most certainly still felt.
An article in "Foreign Affairs" magazine in January 2006 contained a poll by a Russian polling organization indicating that as late as 20003, 20% of Russians would vote for Stalin if he were to return to life and run for President. The sentiment forms the thematic undercurrent for Renko's latest investigations. Renko is ordered to investigate the alleged appearance of the ghost of Stalin at a Moscow underground (subway) station. This appearance, real, imagined, or fraudulent seems connected to the Senate campaign of one Nikolai Isakov. Isakov is a former member of the Russian army's elite "Black Berets" and a `hero' of the last Russian campaign against Chechnya.Read more ›
That was after young Zhenya unnecessarily let old Platonov win the blitz chess match.
In the somewhat surreal ambiente of modern day Moscow our good old friend Arkady Renko goes out searching for enemies again. He is so good at it.
Martin Cruz Smith rises to great form with this 6th volume in the Renko saga. I liked them all, maybe the previous one about Chernobyl a bit less, maybe the one in Cuba a bit less, but this ghost story is as good as Gorky Park. With Renko you don't always really know what case he is working at and what he wants to prove and what he intends to do. You find out in the process and somehow MCS gets away with keeping you in the dark.
Most other crime authors I would not let do this, somehow this one knows how.
You better have a rough idea about soviet history and about post-soviet Russian history, otherwise this plot will be lost on you. The plot is about Chechnya and Russian politics in modern times, resp. the violent consequences of the same. And not to forget Arkady's tormented private life. An honorable man with high ethical standards, but not always a very wise man and not always his own friend.
High suspense level. High language level.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A bit formulaic, predictable from the others. I do get a bit weary of Arkady's romantic problems. That said, the dialogue is excellent, the characters relatively believable and... Read morePublished 1 month ago by JgrKy
Great storyteller. He writes in such a way that you really feel the flavor of Russia and Moscow, it's people and it's institutions. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jim Kramer
Absolutely fast read enjoyable Mistry with many twists and turns to keep the reader interestedPublished 5 months ago by John J. Provost
Martin Cruz Smith's Arkady Renko novels are terrific exciting reads. Recommended read for sure!!Published 9 months ago by Paul A. Stokes
Pretty good. I was slow to be drawn into this Renko novel, but it was a solid read.Published 10 months ago by Clark Fleming