Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
on 17 February 2014
As I have grown older, so has Arkady Renko which only adds spice to an already simmering stew. If he's older and slower physically, his brain, nudged daily by the possibility the lodged piece of metal within will kill him off is still working overtime.
He hasn't changed overmuch. His love life remains at odds with his job, his sort-of-adopted son is wayward yet there when needed and Victor, his usually drunken sidekick still magaes to stay alert when needed.
This is a well constructed story, beginning twofold with the disappearance of a multilingual interpreter near Kaliningrad and the burial of a high-powered crime boss whose son believes he has every right to carry on where his father's death left the business in mid-air.
The fact these two events are linked and the fact that Renko isn't really involved until a missing body somewhat connected to the crime boss's criminal activities, show how a brilliant author can bring it all together.
We know Arkady is a stubborn old bear, like a dog with a bone if I may mix my metaphors so the missing body intrigues him. Unlike many police crime thrillers, Renko's boss is usually on his side, if only to get rid of him, so he his given free reign to delve further into this mystery.
The emptiness of Kaliningrad is portrayed with a wealth of atmosphere. Renko's acceptance under sufference, of the new Russian regime is constantly niggling him. Not much has changed in Russia- only the names. It remains corrupt, dominated by a dictator and run by self-serving politbureau types who have never emerged from their old roots. This remains so in the book and it's welcome relief that Arkady Renko can bring some sense of reality to this world - at a cost. I sense retirement or worse looming and when it happens we shall have lost one of the most consistently entertaining detectives currently in print.