This is the story of Arkady Renko, a detective with the militia in Moscow who is tasked with solving a triple homicide in Gorky Park. When his investigation reveals that the murders may be of more significance than first thought, he has the added pressure of needing to stay on the right side of the party (in the 80's Moscow was the epicentre of the communist party), whilst finding out who is a friend, and who is a foe.
I read this book on recommendation of a friend, and after seeing the high praise heaped on it by reviewers I had high hopes. Sadly though, I was disappointed. I haven't read widely in this genre, but I found I wasn't hooked as I would have expected. It ambled along ok, just wasn't a page turner for me. There also seemed to be a few holes in the plotline, and the final part was actually the worst bit and it would have been better if it had been left out altogether.
There were elements I liked about it though, and that was that it felt very Russian. Cruz Smith combined lots of different aspects of the Soviet landscape of the time (intelligence services, state interference, paranoia, informants, and corruption) with characters who each had their own take on the way their country operated: those who were actively part of the system and worked to preserve it; those who wanted as little to do with the party as possible (but didn't rebel against it either); and those who would do anything just to get out. However, it would have been so much better if more ordinary people were represented, everyday people going about every day lives. The characters were all very clichéd 9which worked for the plot but made it very superficial), and it only portrayed the usual stereotype of Russia.
I have given three stars because I think the plot could have had more suspense in it. It really tapered towards the end, and I didn't like the way it ended either. I don't think i'd recomend this.
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