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Gorky Park: A Novel [Paperback]

Martin Cruz Smith
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 13 2007 William Monk
“Brilliant . . . enough enigmas within enigmas within enigmas to reel the mind.”
–The New Yorker

A triple murder in a Moscow amusement center: three corpses found frozen in the snow, faces and fingers missing. Chief homicide investigator Arkady Renko is brilliant, sensitive, honest, and cynical about everything except his profession. 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. Meanwhile, Renko is falling in love with a beautiful, headstrong dissident for whom he may risk everything.

“Once one gets going, one doesn’t want to stop. . . . The action is gritty, the plot complicated, [and] the overriding quality is intelligence.”
–The Washington Post

“Reminds you just how satisfying a smoothly turned thriller can be.” –The New York Times Book Review

“An unbelievable achievement . . . vivid, witty . . . completely fascinating.”
Boston Herald American

“Gripping, romantic, and dazzlingly original.”

Frequently Bought Together

Gorky Park: A Novel + Polar Star: A Novel + Red Square: A Novel
Price For All Three: CDN$ 40.35

  • Polar Star: A Novel CDN$ 13.68
  • Red Square: A Novel CDN$ 14.40

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Product Details

Product Description

From the Publisher

10 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Martin Cruz Smith is the bestselling author of thirteen novels, including the Arkady Renko thrillers: Gorky Park, Polar Star, Red Square, Havana Bay, Wolves Eat Dogs, Stalin's Ghost and Three Stations. A recipient of the CWA Gold Dagger award for fiction in the UK, he is also two-time winner of the Hammett Prize in the United States. He lives in northern California with his wife and three children. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars start of a terrific series April 18 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It was unfortunate I saw the Hollywood version of "Gorky Park" before reading the novel. The film does not do justice to the main character or the storyline. It cannot compare to the book! After reading "Polar Star" and Red Square", the second and third installments of the series, I picked up the original and loved it. More recently, "Havana Bay" was published, and later this year a long-awaited fifth novel, "Wolves Eat Dogs", will be released. Arkady Renko, the protagonist of the series, is an honest, dedicated, hard-working Ukrainian cop. When he was Chief Homicide Inspector for the Moscow Prosecutor's Office, he took charge of a grisly murder case involving the international fur trade. Very quickly, he fell afoul of the KGB. That's how his troubles began, which pursue him throughout all four novels. I recommend this series highly. The settings are supurbly drawn -- from snowbound Moscow to an Arctic Sea fish processing ship, from a steam-filled banya to the steamy port of Havana. Wherever he goes, Arkady brings his cynical love-hate relationship with the Soviet system which often impedes his work. Like Columbo, he outsmarts the sly evil-doers while seemingly fumbling his way along the investigation. And he has more lives than the proverbial cat as his sleuthing lands him in the most lethal stews! Author Martin Cruz Smith has created one of the most likable protagonists in police fiction. Cleverly writing the character as just "Arkady" -- intimately using his first name -- helps endear him to the reader. We care for Arkady because of his moral strengths, his humility and compassion, and despite his weaknesses. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Spy who came in and went back to cold: Oct. 14 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Arkydy Renko, an honest hard working, conscientious, public investigator, fights his way through a maze of evil and hostile characters, the cunning, ruthless American entrepreneur, Osborne, his own corrupt boss, Yamskoi and major Preblida, the KGB man. He is after the ruthless killer of three young people, found in frozen Gorky Park, shot at point- blank- range, their faces and fingertips obliterated.. He is helped along the way by the brother of one of the slain men, a young American idealist. Curwell, a New York detective, fluent in Russian, joins hands reluctantly with Arkydy to revenge his brother's murder.
Arkydy, by brilliant reasoning and with help from his love, Arina Ossinova, entangles the Sable fur trade, the labyrinth of KGB, and bureaucracy of FBI, tracks down the killer all the way to New York City. Here detective Curwell teams up with him to go after Osborne. But Osborne knows the score and book ends with an unforgettable scene where Arkydy fulfilling his task, limps back to Moscow. He tells Arina, his accomplice and love,who sells her very soul to come to America, to go disappear in America, where she belongs.
The book sheds light on dark, Byzantine, bad old days of Soviet Union where every body spied on every body and KGB ruled supreme. I guess people
like Arkydy, the optimistic, very human chief investigator, turned the Soviet régime around and created another revolution seventy years after the brutal first, paving the way for democracy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful July 9 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When GORKY PARK was published in 1981, the Soviet Union was still going on strong. Now with the passage of time the USSR is nothing but a distant memory and the former republics are fighting hard to keep their independence. Reading Martin Cruz Smith's novel now gives a unique perspective to life in this foreign land.
We are introduced to Russian Homicide Detective Arkady Renko who is investigating a triple homicide in Gorky Park. All of the victims were shot and they were intentionally disfigured in order to prevent identification. The only clue left on the scene were a pair of ice skates worn by one of the victims that belonged to actress Irina Asanova. Renko must deal with petty bureaucrats, crooked politicians, the KGB as well as his own personal problems with his own wife.
Irina knows more than she is telling the detective. Renko is smitten with her and he is not confident about his feelings. The other major player in this novel is an American furrier named John Osbourne. This businessman has strong connections with Soviet officials and it is believed that he is also a KGB informant. Several Russian officials are protecting him but Renko is not to be dissuaded. He will do what he needs to do in order to get to the bottom of this mystery.
Cruz's work is very powerful and strong in character development. Each one of the three major characters has a story to tell and the author does a great job in developing each one. It is a story of heartbreak and broken dreams and definitely one of the best novels ever written about Russia.
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5.0 out of 5 stars the best book i have ever read April 13 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've read this book more times than I can count. It possesses an intriguing and complicated plot, extraordinarily well-developed and interesting characters, gives an amazing portrayal of Soviet Moscow, and is exciting and suspenseful. I highly recommend it. Main character Arkady Renko is both brilliant and cynical. He was interesting to read about, and was one of the reasons I liked the book so much. The book has many good elements-love, friendship, death, corruption, greed, suspense, and the violence that comes with the position of Chief Investigator of Moscow, which Renko holds. The KGB is heavily involved, it seems, and Arkady wonders if they are laying a trap for him. (His earlier attempt at arresting Major Pribluda of the KGB for the assassinations of the "Kliazma River" bodies and his thinly disguised comtempt for the Party and its machinations give them a motive for this action.) The plot has many twists and turns, and by the end of the book, the KGB, Moscow Militia, FBI, and an NYPD officer are all involved, in a complicated and satisfying plot stretching all the way around the world to the U.S. Two other books I have read and enjoyed are "The Monkey House" and "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold". I also enjoyed other books by John Le Carre (Gorky Park was every bit as good as "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" and as good as le Carre's astounding "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold", though Tinker Tailor was more difficult to understand and required more concentration on my part). In addition, I liked every book I have read by this author, Martin Cruz Smith--Polar Star, Red Square, Havana Bay (all which are in the Gorky Park series) Stallion Gate, and Rose. If you liked any of those books, I'm sure you will like Gorky Park.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Renko at the beginning
I read Gorky Park when it came out over 30 years ago. I re-read it recently when I bought another copy here at Amazon. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Streetcat
5.0 out of 5 stars Martin Cruz Smith
Who isn't in love with Arkady Renko? Enjoy Mr. Smith very much, sorry to hear about the Parkinson's but I know he will overcome. Prompt service, thank you
Published 8 months ago by Paula
4.0 out of 5 stars Out of Conflict Comes Synthesis
Martin Cruz Smith is a former journalist and magazine editor. "Gorky Park" is his first novel to feature Arkady Renko, was first published in 1981 and is largely set in the Moscow... Read more
Published on June 27 2007 by Craobh Rua
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent start to a series
Picked up this book at a used book store based on remembering that a movie was made from it.

Loved it and the main character Arkady. Read more
Published on June 1 2007 by Luc Richard
4.0 out of 5 stars Out of Conflict Comes Synthesis
Martin Cruz Smith is a former journalist and magazine editor. "Gorky Park" is his first novel to feature Arkady Renko, was first published in 1981 and is largely set in the Moscow... Read more
Published on Jan. 25 2007 by Craobh Rua
5.0 out of 5 stars Detailed and Exciting Thriller
"Gorky Park" came out in 1981, so some of the Cold War references to the KGB and the bad old days are dated, but it remains a top-notch thriller. Read more
Published on Jan. 24 2004 by Richard R
5.0 out of 5 stars martin Cruz Smith's at his BEST
Many writers today find a successful formula and stick to it... over and over. The only thing the same from Martin Cruz Smith's works are their high level of excitement,... Read more
Published on July 24 2003 by H. Row
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly GOOD!!
Gorky Park is a wonderful and perfectly-executed attempt to portray a Russian protagonist in a Russian environment challenged by an American killer. Read more
Published on June 10 2003 by Ian Kharitonov
5.0 out of 5 stars A genre classic!
Near the end of Chapter 11, Renko experiences a sharp pang of discomfort as the girl he has entangled in his investigation of three murders puts a cigarette out against the bark of... Read more
Published on March 14 2003 by templecola
5.0 out of 5 stars Genre classic!
Near the end of Chapter 11, Renko experiences a sharp pang of discomfort as the girl he has entangled in his investigation of three murders puts a cigarette out against the bark of... Read more
Published on Dec 31 2002 by "templecola"
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