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Wolves Eat Dogs (Arkady Renko Novels) Paperback – January 3, 2006
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Renko, introduced in Smith's 1981 bestseller, Gorky Park, is a cop well out of sync with rapidly changing Russian society, "a difficult investigator, a holdover from the Soviet era, a man on the skids" whose determination to do more than go through the motions of criminal inquiries inevitably exasperates his superiors. Thus, when this saturnine detective declines to accept the verdict that Ivanov did himself in--who peppered that salt around the capitalist's premises, Renko still wants to know, and what about rumors of a security breach at Ivanov's apartment building?--he is exiled to the Ukrainian Zone of Exclusion, the "radioactive wasteland" surrounding Chernobyl, site of a notorious 1986 nuclear disaster and the place where, only a week after Ivanov's demise, his company's senior vice-president is found with his throat slit. There, among cynical scientists, entrepreneurial scavengers, and predators both two- and four-legged--an exclusive coterie of the rejected--Renko chews over the crimes on his plate. Unfortunately, the dosimeter that warns him of radiation exposure at Chernobyl does not also protect him from a pair of malevolent brothers, or a "damaged" woman doctor offering him mutually assured disappointment.
Smith has a keen eye for the comical quirks of modern-day Russia--its chaotic roadways, voracious appetite for post-communist luxuries, and evolving ethics ("Russians used to kill for women or power, real reasons. Now they kill for money"). And this story's bleakly beautiful Ukrainian backdrop nicely complements the desperate hope of Renko's task. Still, the greatest strength of Wolves Eat Dogs (Smith's fifth series installment, after Havana Bay) is its characters, especially Arkady Renko, who despite his lugubrious nature continues to show a heart as expansive and unfathomable as the Siberia steppe. --J. Kingston Pierce --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The primary setting of Wolves Eats Dogs is the 30-kilometer evacuation (or exclusion) zone in the northern Ukraine, just south of Ukraine's border with Belarus, surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. On April 26th, 1986 the number 4 reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded after a planned test shutdown went seriously wrong. The subsequent release of radioactive material (cesium and strontium) is estimated to have reached levels exceeding 40 times the amount of radioactivity released by the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The short and long term effects of this explosion, particularly on the Republics of Belarus and Ukraine has been devastating. For example, the phrase "Chernobyl Necklace" refers to the ubiquitous ear-to-ear scar worn by Byelorussians and Ukrainians that have had thyroid cancer surgery. The thyroid cancer rate is estimated to be up to 2000 times greater in Belarus than in the general world population. Smith's eye for details makes note of these scars. The Chernobyl disaster has special resonance for me as I have spent five years involved with a Children of Chernobyl program that brings children from Belarus to the United States for six week health and respite visits.Read more ›
Way back in "Gorky Park", the first of Martin Cruz Smith's tales about the Moscow investigator, Arkady Renko was faced with crime and corruption hidden behind the mask of Soviet communism. In this latest novel, the Soviet Union is no more, but crime and corruption remain -- indeed, they are blossoming -- under the rabid capitalism of the New Russia. In "Wolves Eat Dogs" Renko investigates (well, he is offically ordered not to investigate) the death of Moscow's darling billionaire-of-the-moment, Pasha Ivanov, who threw himself, maybe, out of the window of his luxurious high-rise apartment, leaving behind anxious business partners, a young mistress, and a pile of salt in his closet.
Succeeding events lead Renko to "the Zone", the radioactive wasteland around Chernobyl in the Ukraine, a journey to a grim circle of hell straight out of Dante's Inferno, inhabited by the mad, the doomed, and the hopeless. Who else would eat food grown in radioactive earth and turn off dosimeters because their constant clicking is too distracting? Life there is very cheap, and death can be had at virtually no price at all. Yet, beneath all else, "Wolves Eat Dogs" is more than anything a story of redemption, never certain redemption but, ultimately, the undying possibility of redemption. Renko's descent to this nightmare of a real world makes for strongly compelling reading, arguably the best of the Renko books since "Gorky Park".
The number of people who died in the 1986 nuclear explosion at Chernobyl is not known, nor is it known how many will die in the decades to come. The Zone of Exclusion is supposed to be completely de-populated except for scientists who are rotated in and out. Arkady discovers that the Zone is in fact quite a busy place with a variety of scavengers, entrepreneurs, elderly farm folk and fearless radioactive wild animals calling the place home. Smith loves to put the ironic but big-hearted Renko in surreal environments and this one is certainly one of the weirdest. Solving murders is one thing, but solving them while keeping one eye on radioactive warning signs is really something else.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A continuation of the Arkady Renko series this is vintage, tightly written Martin Cruz Smith. I loved it!Published 16 days ago by Plowboy
I would have given five stars but I had to keep backing up to follow the thought I kept missing it. Still an outstanding read!Published 1 month ago by Don3
As the story opens it's 2004 and the Soviet Union has dissolved into separate states. Some savvy former physicists have taken advantage of the chaos to become multi-millionaires... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Barbara Saffer
The Renko novel I return to read again and again. It never fails to grip me. In my view the best novel Smith has written, densely layered with myth and epiphany, with love. Read morePublished 4 months ago by tomatoejane
Mysterious Book Report No. 70
Wolves Eat Dogs
John Dwaine McKenna
Books which will transport all of us through time and space; books that know no borders, no limits... Read more
Early days in the development of the Arkady Renko character. Full of behind-the-scenes looks at the workings of the Soviet system.Published 4 months ago by Joseph
Martin Cruz Smith is a writer's writer. His Arkady Renko series is the best crime fiction on the planet. Seriously. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Jeep
I love Arkady Renko novels, and Arkady's character. They are at once dark and darkly humorous. Smith provides a window into the Soviet and post-Soviet realities of Russia and... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Andrew Knight
Not his best, ended up being more of a struggle to get through it...Published 8 months ago by Denise K.