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Polar Star Paperback – 26 Apr 1996

4.8 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Paperback, 26 Apr 1996
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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Pan Books; New edition edition (26 April 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330346563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330346566
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.8 x 11.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,167,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

Arkady Renko, the hero of Gorky Park, returns for a second thrilling mystery --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Fishing in the Bering Sea, a trawler's catch includes the body of a blonde girl. Her name is Zina, and she is a member of the crew of the Soviet factory ship Polar Star. Arkady Renko, formerly Senior Investigator in the Moscow Prosecutor's Office, but now a second-class seaman, is appointed by Polar Star's captain to investigate the girl's death. Renko's dogged search for the truth will put his own life in danger.

"Cruz Smith is a real writer with a keen eye, a hearing ear, and an original cast of mind."
THE TIMES

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

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book marks the return of Arkady Renko, Cruz Smith's hero of the original novel Gorky Park. No longer a Moscow investigator, Renko has been in hiding in the depths of Russia for the last two years or so and has finally found himself at the bottom of the worst place in the world that you might possibly be.
Where the first novel seemed to meander a bit after a fantastic first half, this novel seems to work better almost as a self-contained unit, although undeniably part of a sequence. The book combines some excellent literary references (in my view, and everyone should check out Anna Akhmatova's poem THE GUEST) and some nice black humour ("There is no unemployment in Russia.")
An excellent "Murder Mystery" novel which has been nicely researched and written.
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Format: Paperback
What can I say that other more talented reviewers have not? All I can say is that this book is, perhaps, one of Martin Cruz Smith's finest works. Personally I read it before I got hold of a copy of Gorky Park but the plot is presented in such a way that the reader does not feel any loss. I found the descriptions of the ship, the fishing methods and seascape complimented the plot fantasically. But what I really enjoyed was the depth of research that the author has put into the text, not only on matters of seamanship but also what it must have been like to be Russian under the Soviet system. A fantasic read, like all his books, Polar Star is certainly one of his most visually stunning.
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Format: Paperback
Gorky Park was righly acclaimed as a great novel, but its sequel, Polar Star, which sees the ongoing trials and tribulations of Arkady Renko is even greater. While the first book had a theme of escape and breaking free while running away from the dark forces lurking around every corner, Polar Star has an almost unbearable claustrophobia about it where Renko must not only resurrect his detective skills but he must fight to stay alive aboard the eponymous vessel.

I found this book more approachable than Gorky Park and as there has never been a film made of it I never ceased to be taken by surprise as the body stack up and Renko is drawn ever deeper into the dark secrets of the ship. As such, I found it a more rewarding read.

This book has got to be a must-read for anyone who has read Gorky Park, but it would be just as easily accessible by someone starting their first Renko novel. You might miss some of Renko's background story, but you'll soon grow to like him. His sardonic take on the Soviet dream makes him seem very human and provides a welcome light relief from the grisly murders.

Compared to some more recent novels the murders and subsequent pathology might seem rather tame (but hey, we're all pathologists these days) but that's part of the charm and it makes you realise that the real strength of this book is the depth of the characters. A first rate chiller thriller.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The second book in the Arkady Renko series, which I enjoyed as much as the first. On a boat in the Arctic Renko has done everything he can to evade attention from his superior's. This all changes when a murder happens on board. Eager for their American counterparts to learn nothing of the incident the Russian Capitan summons Renko and orders him to solve the case before the American's realise what happened. It is interesting to watch as Renko fights against become a detective again only for it to slowly take over until once again he cannot help but pursue the murderer.
I love a good murder mystery and Martin Cruz Smith has written some of favourite pieces with his Arkady Renko series.
If you read any of his novels make sure you read this one.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of my favourite Arcady Renko stories. I re-read this every so often. As all the books in the series I cannot fault the writing of Cruz Smith who has brought the character of the disgraced investigator Renko to life along with many of the other characters. The claustrophobic life on board the fish factory is used to full advantage. Renko has nowhere to run when he investigates the death of female worker and becomes a murder target himself. Engrossing page turner, I cannot recommend highly enough.
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Format: Paperback
The Arkady Renko books are the mainstay of Martin Cruz Smith. Although I eagerly await each book, the quality can be somewhat erratic. The last one I read -'Stalin's ghost', was the poorest,and the reviews for his latest 'Three Stations' suggests that the deterioration continues. The books have become a little formulaic - A heroic protaganist full of despair and integrity,a corrupt and dystopian social setting, a collection of venal and murderous interlopers.
However that should not detract from the fact that 'Polar Star', the second in the series, is one of the greatest popular thrillers ever written.
It is not necessary to read any others in the collection, this novel can stand on it's own.
Without giving away too much of the plot,- Following his fall from grace Renko now works on the production line of a huge arctic factory ship. Ostensiby on the run, his government pursuers cannot be bothered to follow him into such a hostile environment and he has lost himself in crowds of despondent transients who make up the workforce. He has boarded a huge fish-processing factory ship - the 'Polar star' on a six month work journey in the hostile polar seas. An immense rust-bucket stinking of fish, perpetually freezing, he spends 14 hour shifts standing up in entrails , exhausted, gutting fish. His companions are deemed the lowest of the low, servile criminals, misfits, black-marketeers. But even here is tenderness, companionship and the capacity for love amongst suffering that has become almost stereotypically identified with the Russian psyche. His superiors are cynical,cruel and corrupt neo-Stalinists.
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