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Gorky Park (Volume 1): Martin Cruz Smith (The Arkady Renko Novels)

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They hope to say Renko committed suicide, or was killed by an enemy of the state, or he himself confessed to the murders or he confessed to working as a corrupt double agent. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice.

Cleverly and intelligently told, The Girl from Venice is a truly riveting tale of love, mystery and rampant danger. To identify the victims and uncover the truth, he must battle the KGB, FBI, and the New York City police as he pursues a rich, ruthless, and well-connected American fur dealer.

In describing wiretapping by the KGB of foreign hotels: "The French all complained about the food, and the Americans and English all complained about the waiters. This is probably my most favorite "detective" novel read to date, because it is so much more than a mystery--it is really a masterfully written, poignant, cynical, realistic, and all-too-palpable portrayal of life behind the Iron Curtain. For most of the story we are following an investigation into three murders in Gorky Park in Moscow mainly via dialogues between a huge number of seemingly untrustworthy individuals, be they Moscow policemen, KGB agents / administrators, New York policemen, FBI agents or small fry Russian criminals and informers. You see, managers and politicos both had learned from the much-ballyhooed corruption of the seventies.

Gorky Park was a major best-seller, vaulting Smith to fame after a decade as a moderately successful professional author. It did get better and I appreciate that my point of view is different to many others but the end of the book was very welcome. Meanwhile, while checking the crime scene again at night Arkady disturbs a man with an American accent who attacks him.To identify the victims and uncover the truth, he must battle the KGB, FBI, and New York police as he performs the impossible--and tries to stay alive doing it. In spite of his weakened state, Arkady laughs when he realizes from his interrogators' questions that Iamskoy was himself a high-ranking KGB officer, planted as a spy in the militsiya, and his superiors were badly embarrassed to find that he betrayed them to help Osborne. I'm usually OK with this, I love a good forensic crime as much as the next person, but even I found myself wincing a bit at times. For example—and this makes for a noteworthy variation on the typical policier—Renko at first tries not to solve his case, but instead to find some piece of evidence—of foreign involvement or some form of conspiracy—that will allow him to dump the whole vexing affair in the lap of the KGB. As mentioned above, the fact of the murder victims lacking faces and fingertips might seem to make positive identification of the victims impossible.

This is an old thriller from the dark days of the Iron Curtain and the great Soviet Union, our hero is a Russian but certainly not a faithful member of the party. It begins with a triple murder in a Moscow amusement park: three corpses found frozen in the snow, faces and fingers missing. Arkady, observing American clerks using telephones in NY: "The clerks would pick up a phone, say no more than a word or two and set it down.Before I come around to picking that one up though, there are many books to read and many reviews to share. There was so much reliance on the political and inter-country relationships at the crux of the story that I think it would leave anyone who wasn’t living in 1981 Russia feeling a little lost. When Chief Inspector Arkady Renko discovers three mutilated in Gorky Park, he wants to do everything he can to prove that the case is more suitable for KGB than the militia.

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