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VINE VOICEon 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.
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on 16 August 2014
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 Russian oligarch and a Moscow journalist feels thin and flat in comparison to the earlier books in the series.

Arkady Renko has become almost a caricature of the shambolic, maverick, anti-hero detective – and yet women still, of course, fall for him wherever he goes...

The earlier books were so rich and nuanced, taking their inspiration from Soviet Russia – now the sense of corruption and greed is so common to the more literary end of the crime spectrum that this book feels well-worn, almost worn out.

I’ve loved the earlier books so this is a sad disappointment – 3-stars.
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on 23 March 2015
When a journalist falls to her death, Arkady Renko does not believe the official verdict of suicide. His brief is simply to find her body, missing from the morgue, but inevitably, he begins to investigate her murder. Renko is one of the best fictional detectives, doggedly trying to be professional in the face of corruption and incompetence, even when it puts his life at risk.

I find that many modern crime novels are far too long and padded out with extraneous detail, usually about the detectives' private lives. This, by contrast, is sharp and very much to the point, and if there are no real surprises at the end, it hardly matters when the writing is so good.
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on 7 November 2017
I read when I’m tired and the jumping about often makes me wonder if I’ve drifted off and sleep-kindled a few pages forwards but very interesting and well written.
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on 12 November 2017
Product arrived well packaged and as described. Very happy.
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on 11 April 2014
Arkady continues to quietly go against the pressures from above adopting a more passive, but equally effective, response than that employed by Michael Connely's "Harry" Bosch.

Recommended to Bosch fans as a source of rest and recuperation from Connely's more aggressive approach but should read (or have read) Gorky Park first.
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on 18 June 2017
Bought for Kindle but not read yet.
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on 19 October 2017
I enjoy the Arkady Renko books!
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on 12 February 2015
It has been a real treat to read another Martin Cruz Smith novel about the intrepid Investigator Arkady Renko. I always think the one I have just finished has been the best. This is.
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on 15 November 2017
a Cruz Smith not read til now
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