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Havana Bay

Havana Bay [Kindle Edition]

Martin Cruz Smith
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Russian detective Arkady Renko made his debut in Martin Cruz Smith's powerful 1981 novel Gorky Park. An enigmatic and complex character, he made further appearances in Polar Star and Red Square. In Havana Bay Renko has gone to Cuba to identify the body of an old colleague. It seems a simple enough task, but the putrefying corpse is unrecognisable as a human being and the authorities' insistence that he agree with their conclusions serves only to make Renko more stubborn. Soon it becomes apparent that his unexpected arrival is ruffling some powerful feathers. Finding himself in a strange limbo Renko slowly forms a bond with Detective Ofelia Osorio whose revolutionary zeal is tempered by her pragmatic intelligence. Unofficially investigating the case with Ofelia leads Renko to be gradually enmeshed in a world where conflicting cultures and the fallout from past events threaten to destroy what proves to be a deceptive calm. Martin Cruz Smith evokes beautifully the faded, colonial grandeur of Havana and its revolutionary legacy; its sense of a society whose engagement with history has left it outside of time. The pleasures of Havana Bay are of the slow-burning variety, but are all the more satisfying as a result. --Jonathan Crawford

Product Description

Former Inspector for the Moscow Militsiya, Arkady Renko, is summoned to Cuba to identify a liquefying corpse, dragged from the oily waters of Havana Bay. Renko finds himself in a decaying country, the final recess of Communism - a place where Russia is despised, exotic rituals take precedence and unexpected danger meets bewildering contradictions. After a harrowing experience that has left Renko on the verge of suicide, this new mystery leads him on a trail of deceit that reaches international proportions, and gives him a reason to relish his own life again.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 710 KB
  • Print Length: 468 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0330449249
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (15 Aug 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BOSP16K
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #13,116 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Steamy Intrigue in Sweltering Havana 10 Jun 2001
By A Customer
This is the first of the Arkady Renko novels I have read, and buying it was influenced by the fact that I had spent time exploring Havana and its environs a short time before.
Summoned by an unsigned fax from what turns out to be an old hand at Havana's diminished Russian Embassy, detective Renko travels from mid-winter Moscow to subtropical January in Havana, to investigate the disappearance and death of a KGB operative and one-time associate. Both he and his drowned friend Pribluda are of a mindset unable to come to terms with life in public service in post-communist Russia.
With an almost bumbling manner and persistence reminiscent of a Slavonic Peter Faulk playing Columbo in the 1970's television series (in a black cashmire coat with a story of its own in place of a trench-coat), Renko finds himself an unwelcome and unpopular reminder to the Cuban police investigating the gruesome corpse washed up in Havana Bay, of Russia's once domineering influence over their affairs. And a threat to some shadowy individuals with their own agenda for change in this outwardly ramshackle island nation.
Martin Cruz Smith has captured many of the undercurrents that pervade society in modern Havana. They range from a crumbling political, economic and social system (to say nothing of crumbling buildings and crowded tenements), to the moonlighting, hustling, and sex-for-sale, that puts bread on Cuban tables in the way that the state's mediocre salaries do not. He captures too, the cameraderie of Cuban war vererans of Angola and Ethopia. The pervasiveness of African mysticism and music in Cuban life. And the combination of stoicism and sheer exhuberance that shine though in what Castro euphemistically calls the "special times", of no Russsian aid and an ongoing US embargo.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes Suicide isn't Painless 28 Dec 2007
Moscow detective Arkady Renko, out of work and miserable for the last half-dozen years, is called to the Russian Embassy in Havana to look into the mysterious disappearance of his old comrade Sergei Pribluda. Renko is fighting suicidal impulses, trying to survive despite a crushing personal tragedy, and the trip to Cuba is an opportunity to leave the gloomy and cold Moscow winter behind and get away from the constant reminders of better times. Unknown to his bosses he plans to commit suicide once he gets to Cuba.

But immediately after he arrives the Cuban police want him to identify a floater pulled from Havana Bay as his missing friend. Pribluda, a former KGB agent, who is currently the Russian Security Service's resident spy in Havana, has been missing for almost two weeks. The Cuban authorities want him to make the identification, acknowledge that the death was from natural causes, and return to Moscow on the next flight.

Renko says he's not sure it Pribluda, since the body is badly decomposed and the circumstances surrounding the death may not be as obvious as they seem. Renko wants the Cuban police to investigate, however they apparently won't. Renko regains his will to live and is determined to find out what happened to Pribluda, so he begins his own snooping. What he finds is more than he expected and certainly more than the Cubans wanted him to find. It seems the case has the potential to become an embarrassment for Castro's government and the Cuban's want the matter closed quickly and quietly.

As he's done in Renko's past adventures, Smith shows his readers a culture and country foreign to most in the United States. He depicts a Cuba learning to make its own way in the world, an island with rich customs where 1950s vintage American cars cruise seaside boulevards and many people practice the mystic Santeria religion. I couldn't put this book down and I can't recommend it enough.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Steamy chiller? 30 Aug 2006
What's this, a Renko book with no snow? I approached this book with trepidation as Renko abroad just didn't seem right, but as they say you can take the boy out of Moscow, but...

Arkady Renko is back in his fourth outing and instead of solving murders in Moscow he's in Havana to tie up the loose ends relating to the officially acccidental death of his old friend, and erstwhile KGB major, Pribluda. Renko remains the sardonic enigma we have grown to know and love, but his trip to Cuba is more than just another murder story, here we see Renko struggling to come to terms with who he is and his place in the world. The world has changed, but has he? Can he cope with the modern post-Communist Russia or will he find a surrogate home in Marxist Cuba? Will he come to terms with losing his beloved Irina forever? Will he fall for the fierce but fragile Ofelia?

Martin Cruz Smith serves up another dish of sinister menace with lashings of blood and seedy locations, but I have to say this book seems to take an absolute age to get going. I only stuck with it as I has enjoyed the other Renko books so much and I was glad that I did. However, readers new to Renko might be put off with the slow start and give up before the real fireworks start. As such, I recommend that you read the Renko books in order and that way you'll know more about Renko's legacy, his thorny friendship with Pribluda and why he misses Irina so.

The sultry feel of this book will make you hot under the collar and make you reach for some cool rum, but don't be fooled as the freezing chills of Gorky Park can still be felt.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Cuban Experience.
A little disjointed at times but well worth a read. This dramatic style does hold the reader's attention and makes for an exciting novel.
Published 1 month ago by René
3.0 out of 5 stars OK bu....
OK but it is not as good as the earlier books from Martin Cruz Smith, good sense of the decay in Cuba and decent story.
Published 2 months ago by safc
5.0 out of 5 stars Outside his comfort zone
I have enjoyed MCS work but by taking the setting outside of Russia this book had an extra dimension. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Elizabeth Schofield
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Success from Martin Cruz Smith
A really enjoyable read which kept me enthralled. There were a few bits where you thought, "I saw that coming" but apart from that a very good read and you could really... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Dereck
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to a seriously good crime fiction.
Not disappointed by this thriller. Arkady Renko Senior Investigator continues to work his enigmatic best, in the worst of circumstances. Will be a fan forever.
Published 9 months ago by barbara griffiths
4.0 out of 5 stars Good and interesting novel set realistically in Cuba
Kaminsky's Inspector Rostnikov novels are a pure delight. Martin Cruz Smith a good runner up and of course he is still alive. Sadly Mr Kaminsky died two years ago.
Published 16 months ago by FENMAN
2.0 out of 5 stars Havana Bay
This novel is long on anti Castro rhetoric and short on facts about Cuba. Mr Smith an American obviously has not been to Cuba.
Published on 13 Mar 2011 by Diogenes
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!
It has taken me a long time since reading 'Gorky Park' to get around to the rest of the Arkady Renko canon, but the delay has been worthwhile. Read more
Published on 26 Feb 2011 by Alan James Lyne
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read to understand post Soviet, pre-UAS'd, Cuba
Want to know what Castro's Cuba was like right after the Soviet state disappeared and the "American dream" not the mention the Hugo Chavez funded interregnum had yet to descend on... Read more
Published on 4 Sep 2010 by J
4.0 out of 5 stars Havana Bay
An Arkady Renko novel and as always with these lots of plot twists and turns and a very depressed Renko at the heart of it all. Read more
Published on 14 April 2010 by Ms. Julia Larsson
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