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Tatiana [Hardcover]

Martin Cruz Smith
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
RRP: £14.99
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Book Description

12 Nov 2013
In his groundbreaking Gorky Park, Martin Cruz Smith created one of the iconic investigators of contemporary fiction, Arkady Renko. In Tatiana, Smith delivers his most ambitious and politically daring novel since. When the brilliant and fearless young reporter Tatiana Petrovna falls to her death from a sixth-floor window in Moscow in the same week that notorious mob billionaire Grisha Grigorenko is shot in the back of the head, Renko finds himself on the trail of a mystery as complex and dangerous as modern Russia itself. The body of an elite government translator shows up on the sand dunes of Kalingrad: killed for nothing but a cryptic notebook filled with symbols. A frantic hunt begins to locate and decipher this notebook. In a fast-changing and lethal race to uncover what this translator knew, and how he planned to reveal it to the world, Renko makes a startling discovery that propels him deeper into Tatiana's past - and, at the same time, paradoxically, into Russia's future.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (12 Nov 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849838100
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849838108
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.6 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 140,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Muscovite Arkady Renko has long been the most persuasive of contemporary detectives...Tatiana, the eighth book in the series, is one of the most economical and polished...Cruz Smith can give us a landscape and a milieu with a crisp matter-of-factedness that poets would envy...He can make tension rise through the page like a shark's fin... The whole thing is at once grim and funny and beautifully done'Independent

'Smith made his reputation with the stunning 1981 blockbuster Gorky Park, set in Moscow with a hero, Inspector Arkady Renko, who was so gruff and drunk that he was impossible to forget. This eighth Renko novel stylishly tells the story of a female Russian investigative journalist who goes missing, and is clearly inspired by the killing of Anna Politkovskaya in 2006. Told in Smith's polished prose, it demonstrates that Smith is still capable of superb stories' Daily Mail

'Smith expertly carries on his tradition of weaving geopolitical conspiracy into gripping fiction. A decoder ring could have helped readers crack that notebook's code on their own, but struggling slowly from benighted dread into glimmering dawn of resolution is a fair reward. Figuring things out too quickly would only spoil the game' Liesl Schillinger, The Scotsman

'The fast-paced, pared-back prose is very different from the dense realism of Gorky Park. But there's no diminution in quality or excitement. Dour, sardonic Renko is always a joy to be around, and the race-against-time climax, as Renko's chess-genius ward Zhenya struggles to crack the translator's code, is expertly handled' --Guardian

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Badlands of the Baltic 14 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Novels by Martin Cruz Smith feature Arkady Renko, Moscow cop, as the main protagonist. They can be found on the shelves labelled detective fiction, but could equally be classified as thrillers. Russia lies a long way from the cottages and bars of British detectives and life is much wilder. Characters are more widely drawn - chess-playing street kids, Chechen warlords, and Gangsters with a capital G. Journalists such as Tatiana dodge bullets as much as track stories. Russian detectives like Renko do not agonize over police methods and correct procedures.
The novel begins with the funeral of a mobster and the death of an interpreter - and cycling enthusiast. He has a notebook written in private code. A lot of people want to get their hands on it. The tale picks up and rattles along like a bumpy ride on a dirt track. The action takes place in Kaliningrad, the Baltic port, also a border town and a centre of crime. The book is not very long, and there is just the one plot really. It is a good read with a few neat twists and some clever moves on code breaking. Russia being what it is there is unlikely to be a shortage of material for Renko.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tine to bury Renko? 1 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover
I like MCZ's books and buy then all immediately after publication, but I'm sorry to say that they are getting less and less compelling. This is a short book by today's and by MCZ's standards and it shows. Character development is poor and the plot, to say the least, underwhelming. I think Martin has a problem with Renko. Gorky Park, Polar Star and Red Square were set in the shadowy world of Soviet Russia. Nobody would suggest that modern Russia is without its drama but I'm afraid its social and political landscape is no longer as thrillingly "different" as it used to be.

Renko is the "Columbo" of crime fiction. He is shambling, unlikely, anti-heroic and a born survivor. It's all wearing a bit thin now, however and I get the impression MCZ was just looking to boost his pension pot. I think Martin is better than this. It's time, surely, to bury Renko and start writing something fresh. I, for one, would love seem him return to the Native American background of Nightwing and Stallion Gate. As matters stand, Tom Robb Smith is writing better Russia-based novels just now.

Sorry Martin. Time to re-invent yourself. You are still billed as "The Author of Gorky Park". Surely it's time for you and Arkady to get a divorce?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TATIANA 13 Mar 2014
By Clare O'Beara TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
This powerful latest novel in the Arkady Renko series sets the globetrotting Russian policeman back in Moscow. TATIANA is a journalist who reckessly exposes the plentiful corruption which is endemic in the new state. Currently she opposes property developers and everyone expects that it's only a matter of time until she is killed. When the inevitable happens and she apparently falls from a window, the death is officially marked down as suicide.

Renko visits a street protest march by the journalist's friends and the bully-boy police tactics used against the intellectuals are also inflicted on him. Recently recovered from a shooting injury, he's feeling older and knows he's fragile. Maybe the new Russia, with gangsters and billionaires profiting from politics while the ordinary person shivers, is too callous for him to keep on making trouble.

Contrasting characters include Renko's adopted son Zhenya, a chess wizard who wants to join the army against Renko's better judgement; Maxim, a literary man hoping for recognition as a poet; Joseph Bonnafos, a Swiss translator and cyclist; Alexi, a wealthy gangster; Ludmilla, Tatiana's reclusive sister; and a modern celebrity, Abdul, a rap artist. A good cast is indeed half the story. The translator is murdered and his indecipherable notebook stolen in a town called Kaliningrad on the Baltic coast, once German, famed for amber mines. The rest of the book hunts for Bonnafos's pricey custom bicycle, his notebook and his coded secrets. Tatiana had met this man shortly before both of their deaths - by investigating one death, Renko is looking into both... and exposing himself to vicious enemies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but a little contrived and thin 24 Aug 2014
By Rob Kitchin TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Tatiana is the eighth book in the Arkady Renko series, the first of which, Gorky Park, was published in 1980. A lot of water has passed under the bridge in the intervening thirty years, including the demise of the Soviet Union and the rise of Russian oligarchs. Tatiana focuses on the latter and what seems like the tenuous connection between the deaths of a billionaire and a fearless investigative journalist. The themes of the dangers of being a journalist in Russia and the corruption existing between state agencies and large businesses was topical and interesting. However, the set up felt overly contrived and elaborate, hinging on a coded notebook, an odd collective and a state conspiracy, with some of the connections and back story a little sketchy. Moreover, it made little sense that Arkady is allowed to continue to poke his nose around given the stakes. That said, the story is nicely written, with a sense of melancholy pervading the prose, and Renko remains an appealing, taciturn, pragmatic and quietly determined investigator. Overall, an interesting story that felt somewhat contrived and also a little thin.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars "You're looking for the wrong boat"
For some reason I had never read any of Cruz Smith's books until I chanced on this latest one, but now I'm going to read them all. Read more
Published 14 days ago by GlynLuke
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Good
Published 15 days ago by Penelope Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars I still can't get enough of his books esp the ...
I still can't get enough of his books esp the A Renko ones - the writing is a pleasure and the plots exciting.
Published 22 days ago by Julia McNeal
5.0 out of 5 stars My number one
Another cracker of a yarn from my favourite thriller writer now that Alan Furst is lazily writing the same story with different characters.
Published 25 days ago by henrymiller the second
4.0 out of 5 stars Shorter tales
I have read all of Cruz Smith's Arkady books since Gorky Park and they are still brilliant, tautly written thrillers just that they are getting thinner with each new edition. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Emmabemma
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent story - Cruz Smith maintains his quality!!!
Published 1 month ago by Ev
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good read
Published 1 month ago by mrs s a kester
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing entry in what has been a great series
It’s sad to have to say this but this book feels like the latest in a series which is past its peak – the promising plot-line of what links the deaths of a Swiss interpreter, a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Roman Clodia
5.0 out of 5 stars Impossible to put down
A confirmed and unashamed Martin Cruz Smith fan, I have every one of his books in my collection. This, the latest in the Arkady Renko series is, sadly, not the best. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Geoffrey Roberts
4.0 out of 5 stars another great Renko novel.
Not the best Renko novel, but as ever a compelling read that is hard to put down to the last page.
Published 1 month ago by A Coutts-Smith
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