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Gorky Park [Paperback]

Martin Cruz Smith
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
Price: 6.80 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 May 1996
A thriller featuring Chief Investigator Arkady Renko who is investigating the discovery of three corpses in a Moscow park. But why have the trio been mutilated, and why have they been buried in Gorky Park? From the author of HAVANA BAY and RED SQUARE.

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Gorky Park + Polar Star + Red Square
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  • Polar Star 7.99
  • Red Square 5.59

Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Pan Books; New edition edition (1 May 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 033026673X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330266734
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 10.6 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 772,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

When Arkady Renko, Senior Investigator in the Moscow Prosecutor's Office, arrives in Gorky Park to examine the three mutilated corpses found frozen in the snow, he discovers that he is not the first investigator on the scene. Major Pribluda of the KGB has been there before him – trampling all over the site and destroying the evidence…

"I can't remember when I have been as excited by a new crime novel as I was by Martin Cruz Smith's powerful, compassionate and original novel"

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Martin Cruz Smith is the bestselling author of thirteen novels, including the Arkady Renko thrillers: Gorky Park, Polar Star, Red Square, Havana Bay, Wolves Eat Dogs, Stalin's Ghost and Three Stations. A recipient of the CWA Gold Dagger award for fiction in the UK, he is also two-time winner of the Hammett Prize in the United States. He lives in northern California with his wife and three children. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling cold war thriller 30 Aug 2006
I first read this superb book at the tender age of 19 shortly after visiting the (then) USSR and strolling round Gorky park in the snow. I'd seen the film of course and half expected the film to follow it closely but I was wrong. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the film but the book was something else. More twists, more plot, more gruesome and, perhaps most importantly, more Russian.

Times change and the USSR came to an end. Cold War thrillers disappeared from the book shelves and were replaced by an endless cavalcade of serial killer stories and so on. But Gorky Park still gnawed away at me and I read it again. What a great decision!

The book is still as fresh as it was when it first took the literary world by storm with the discovery of the three bodies in the snow still shocking, Comrade Major Pribluda still more than a bit like Dracula, the elusive Irina Asanova still as alluring and the sardonic and world-weary Arkady Renko still the best post-war literary detective.

Whether reading this novel for the first time or reading it again after a long break this book is still a belting yarn. It has thrilling set pieces, careful plot development and has an indefinable Russian melancholy about it. Perhaps that is Martin Cruz Smith's finest achievement, this book feels more authentically Soviet with real Russian people living through real Soviet times, rather than the 2D stereotypes we got used to in so many other novels of the same period.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smith's Masterpiece 22 Oct 1998
By A Customer
I first read this book in 1984 and have been re-reading it at intervals ever since. This has to be one of the best novels of its kind in the last twenty years, certainly on a par with the recent works by Robert Harris (Fatherland etc).
The story revolves around the discovery of three faceless, nameless bodies in Gorky Park by a Moscow Militia detective and the trail of corruption he untangles as a result.
I won't reveal too much more about the plot, except to say it doesn't involve any of the usual Western/Russian staples about nuclear missiles, spies etc - read it yourself!
The book was so successful in evoking the atmosphere of the Breshnez regime that the author was allegedly banned for a number of years afterwards - in fact, it took Smith seven years to write the sequel (Polar Star).
It was also made into a more than adequate film with William Hurt.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Out of Conflict Comes Synthesis 14 Aug 2006
By Craobh Rua VINE VOICE
Martin Cruz Smith is a former journalist and magazine editor. "Gorky Park" is his first novel to feature Arkady Renko, was first published in 1981 and is largely set in the Moscow before the collapse of the USSR. Renko, the hero, works as the Chief Homicide Investigator for Moscow's militia - unlike the KGB, who deal with matters if 'State interest', the militia are more or less the standard police force. Renko, therefore, deals with the 'everyday' murders. Displaying one unfortunate trait for a homicide investigator, however, he has a distinct aversion to corpses - though he has a 100% success rate in clearing cases. Unhappily married and somewhat cynical, he's not quite as active a Party member as his wife would like him to be - something that has also had a negative effect on his career. He also appears to be something of a disappointment to his father, a very famous retired General. Renko's boss, Prosecutor Iamskoy, seems to have a certain amount of affection for him though - the Prosecutor actually won an appeal for a worker wrongly convicted of murder thanks to Renko's work.

The book opens in Gorky Park, first park of the Revolution and favoured above all others. Three corpses have been found buried in the snow and, as a result, have been very well preserved. This means that, initially, the time of death can only be estimated as sometime that winter. All three victims - three men and a woman - were all shot through the heart, with the two men also having been shot through the head. The killer, clearly an expert marksman, also has access to a weapon Muscovites cannot typically lay their hands on. No papers could be found on the bodies, which have also been mutilated - the fingerprints and flesh on the faces has been removed, making a quick identification unlikely.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Free the sables! 7 April 2009
By Officer Dibble VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Seen the film many times so gave the book a bash (Great value used copy on Amazon tempted me). Highly intelligent, well-written, plausible and thought-provoking.

Most of what is a lengthy novel simply flew by. The view of the Soviet Union ranges from the big picture 'Russians feel inferior to everyone except Arabs and other Russians' to the mundane eg) the brand new washing machine that breaks down - 'that's alright....we can still show it to people'!

Apparently there is a mini-series of novels involving Arkady and I would gladly read more on this character. I liked the contrast between his naivety on the bigger political front both nationally and job-wise and the intelligence he shows as an outstanding detective.

At its' core it is a crime thriller and as such is not going to change your life but it is a good vehicle to get a little peep behind the Curtain. Also liked the counterpoint between the futures of the sables and Arkady.

Really enjoyed this. It's not a Five Star masterpiece (very little is) but this is a recommended read even if you've seen the film.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit long winded
Gorky Park was the next book up in my World Book Night reading challenge - yes! I've now finished book 19 out of 20. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Bookboodle
5.0 out of 5 stars Old thriller still as good
It is a while since I first read this, but it stands the test of time. When in the US, I heard Martin Cruz Smith being interviewed on radio and so I decided to read his... Read more
Published 3 months ago by MacdEdin
5.0 out of 5 stars So, who did what and why?
This book is often used to teach crime / thriller writers the techniques for good reason. It is a real thriller with lots of twists and turns. Read more
Published 5 months ago by lynnbradshaw
5.0 out of 5 stars The Master at work...
Martin Cruz Smith is the doyen of crime thriller writers and his Arkady Renko series depicts a master at work. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Frankel
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic
I have been meaning to read this for years. It didn't disappoint and is highly recommended, a real page turner.
Published 6 months ago by Thebrassinator
2.0 out of 5 stars 20% too long
Inside Gorky Park there is a pretty good thriller trying to get out; to be specific, in my edition that thriller runs from page 5 to page 400, and ends with the killings in the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by MallingFox
3.0 out of 5 stars a disappointment
A re-read after 30 years. At the time it was published, i loved it. Now I thought it was an unstructured mess. The story is so weak, full of inconsistencies. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Donald Hughes
4.0 out of 5 stars More than a crime story
The book gets of to a gripping start when three frozen bodies are discovered underneath the snow. The rest is a fairly routine crime novel, albeit with a wonderfully flawed and... Read more
Published 7 months ago by GeordieReader
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic of the genre
Beautifully observed or imagined details. Compelling characters. More twists and turns than a barrel full of ferrets - or should I say sables.
Published 7 months ago by Matthew M
5.0 out of 5 stars Renko Rules
Arkady Renko is an iconic and fabulous literary creation. Any novel featuring Arkady is just great. I can read Gorky Park time and time again.
Published 9 months ago by Susan Cole
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