Polar Star Paperback – 26 Apr 1996
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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."
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Another page turner from a very consistent autherPublished 4 months ago by francis david mccandless
Another one of the great stories following Gorky park. Found this story a little back and forth at first couldn't really get into the story, but eventually it does come around and... Read morePublished 4 months ago by AMDOG
I thought this was about Pola Negri but I was fair Disappointed... so Ah wiz. So therePublished 5 months ago by Jacob Plunkdaby
This story grabs you from start to finish.The author is able to recreate the claustrophobic atmosphere of a group of Russian and American trawlers and weave another fabulous... Read morePublished 9 months ago by sarah ralph
Flawed and at times confusing, but the cold and the fear are palpable - I loved it...Published 11 months ago by MC
It's much more of a thriller than Renko's first trip to Gorky Park but it does not suffer by comparison. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Clark Morton
A tour de force of imagination, observation, description, atmosphere and of sheer narrative vigour.Published 17 months ago by John Anderson