From the author of Gorky Park comes another chilling, riveting bestseller
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.Read more ›