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`How does a man know when he becomes obsessive? Who can tell him except a friend?',
This review is from: Tatiana (Hardcover)
As the novel opens, two events have taken place. Grisha Grigorenko, a prominent billionaire is murdered (execution-style) in Moscow. His death is likely to spark a war as his son Alexi (and others) vie for control. Tatiana Petrovna, an investigative journalist whose confrontational style has made her some enemies, apparently fell from the sixth-floor of her Moscow apartment complex. Tatiana Petrovna's death is ruled a suicide, meaning that an investigation is not required. Arkady Renko senses that there is more to Petrovna's death, and starts his own investigation, with the help of Sergeant Victor Orlov. Renko's investigation leads him to Kaliningrad, and a connection to the unsolved murder of Grigorenko.
Is the key to both murders in the notebook left behind by a translator murdered on the beach outside Kaliningrad? A number of people seem interested in this notebook, even though at first no-one is sure exactly how to make sense of it. But eventually, with the help of others, the hieroglyphics are decrypted and Renko discovers the truth. Along the way, we meet some interesting people - some good and some bad - and discover that while a kinder more civilized Russia may be coming, it's not here yet.
It's been over thirty years since the first novel in the Arkady Renko series - `Gorky Park' appeared. This is the eighth novel in the series, and continues to reflect contemporary political and social upheaval in Russia. The Russia portrayed by Martin Cruz Smith is a violent and volatile place. Soviet communism may have collapsed, but Moscow has new power brokers in the form of criminal billionaires. If not exactly thriving, Renko continues to survive. Arkady Renko remains one of the most interesting characters in crime fiction - almost perfectly suited in circumstance, place and time.
Some aspects of this story did not work as well for me as others, but overall I was pleased to reading the next instalment in the life and times of Arkady Renko. If you are new to Arkady Renko, start with `Gorky Park'. The story in this novel stands alone, but to really know and appreciate Arkady Renko, to understand his baggage and history requires reading the other novels.