The character Arkady Renko should show aspiring writers the right way to do it. Modern novels generally fall down in their characterization, and the most important aspect of any novel (as any college professor will tell you) are the people in it - period. Plotting is of course important, but is secondary to the heroes and villains that we the reader take sides with. For fans of Martin Cruz Smith and the enigmatic Arkady Renko, I suggest you try MCS's brother John Templeton Smith and his novels "White Lie" and "Saigon Express" which introduce John Winter aka Sibelius. Continuing the family tradition of excellence it seems.