This is a continuation of the story of Arkady Renko, the investigator from "Gorky Park." Smith is a fine writer and Renko is a great character. This book is particularly timely because most of it takes place in "The Zone," the area affected by the nuclear blowup at Chernobyl 20 years ago. This is definitely a 5-star book!
I just really love Cruz Smith's Arkady Renko spy thrillers. I like his other books too, but there's just something about these... I was really sad that after I read this book, there'd be no more that I hadn't read... and then I went online, and there's a new one out due next month! Yay! "Stalin's Ghost" is now on my wishlist...
In "Wolves Eat Dogs," the fifth in the series, investigator Renko is at the scene of the death of a prominent Russian businessman, who appears to have leaped out his window to his death - an obvious suicide. However, Renko has a hunch there's something more to this death - a feeling that's not looked kindly upon by either his superiors or the dead man's associates, who feel that any hint of a potential crime would tarnish Russian business' already-not-too-shining reputation.
Nevertheless, Renko stays doggedly on the case, and soon his persistence takes him to the wastelands of Chernobyl....
The crime (of course there's a crime!) is almost presciently relevant in today's political scene, and Cruz Smith really effectively not only does his research but uses it - I fully believed in the place and characters. I recently read a National Geographic article about the current state of the lands around Chernobyl, so I know that much of what Cruz Smith writes is accurate - but after reading his book, I feel that not only do I know, I understand.
Plus, the book was exciting and fun!
Wolves Eat Dogs is actually an old proverb that relates to how employers treat their inferiors. After a murder-by-radioactive cesium of a Nouveau riche Russian, which the employers (Moscow police) want to cover up quietly, the hero is sent to Chernobyl to investigate or vacation or develop radiation poisoning... Of course, he investigates. You can learn a lot about Chernobyl, 20 years after. Surprise! people are living there (sub rosa). They garden and eat the produce, which is, of course, radioactive. Eventually our hero is able to solve all the questions of the initial case and find a wife and child to take back to Moscow with him. Amazingly, the people in Chernobyl are NOT radioactive! Online, at http://www.kiddofspeed.com/ you can see the places mentioned in the book, e.g., the buildings, the ferris wheel, as they are now, seen through the eyes of a girl motorscooter (?) rider.
Arkady Renko in Chernobyl- kind of makes sense, doesn't it? With his usual headfirst approach Arkady travels to the radioactive wasteland of Chernobyl to catch his killer and unravel the surrounding conspiracy and where Gorky Park and Polar Star may have had their bits of confusion in the details this installment seems cleaner- or maybe I'm just getting used to Smith's style :o)
A favorite author of my husband, he enjoyed this novel about Chernobyl, featuring the detective from his popular novel "Gorky Park." Instead of reading about the poor of Moscow, this find the reader enmeshed in the life of a billionaire.
This is the only book by this author i have read. This is a decent police procedural, but the real draw is that some of the book takes place in Pripyat. A crime novel set in The Zone, how cool is that! Thumbs up
This is one of my favorite books. I just reread it. It just gives you such a feel for being in a broken place. I also discovered that my teenage children had never heard of Chernobyl.. When I explained and we looked at pictures, they couldn't believe that something that drastic had ever happened. Of course, the book is fiction, but it really makes you think...
Fans of Arkady Renko (who debuted in Cruz Smith's "Gorky Park") will enjoy this episode in the popular series. Having irked his boss by investigating a "suicide", he's sent to Chernobyl (Ukraine) to investigate the death of a Russian (who is, in the post-Soviet era, a non-Ukrainian foreigner). There's plenty of "New Russia" crime and criminals, murder by radioactivity, romance, and a strangely silent child.
The only reason I chose to read this book is because it is set in the Chernobyl area. In that respect, it certainly met my expectations. The details given about this desolate region were stunning. However, I have this expectation that mysteries will have a shocking twist at some point, and that never really happened. The relationships between the characters seemed "choppy" (for lack of a better word), in that the people would be neutral one moment, and the next there'd be this tremendous love/hate sentiment without a lot of development to bridge the gap. I'd read it again though, if for no other reason than to go back over those awesome descriptions of the radioactive wasteland.
Investigator Arkady Renko is told by his superiors to not investigate an obvious suicide: Pasha Ivanov, one of Russia's new billionaires, has jumped out of his 10th floor apartment. Obviously, he must have been mentally disturbed, because his closet floor was covered in salt, he jumped with a salt shaker in his hand, and his stomach was full of salt and bread.
Because Renko asks a few questions too many, he is dispatched to Chernobyl, where, in the exclusion zone, one of Ivanov's friends, fellow rich guy Timofeyev was found with his throat slit. Then another body, a local, turns up shot by a professional.
I really liked this book - it keeps you guessing until the end - and the description of the exclusion zone is extremely interesting.