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Havana Bay: A Novel Paperback – May 20 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (May 20 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345502981
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345502988
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.5 x 2.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #154,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By H. Row on July 24 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The most recent (fourth) in the Inspector Arkady Renko series in Martin Cruz Smith's top notch series of "Russian" mysteries. We can only hope Smith will come up with more Renko mysteries. Since he is one of the most interesting protagonists in fiction today. Unfortunately Smith only writes a book on average of every FIVE years).
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, interesting characters and plot development. Havana Bay lives up to Smith's past work. What he does best is gives the reader an insiders' view of a society totally different than what the audience is used to. Whether it be Cuba in this novel, Japan in December 4th: A Novel, or the Soviet Union in Gorky Park, with his characters on the verge of an exciting adventure for the reader to be a part of.
Another fun read from Smith. I enjoy Smith's books!
John Row
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Format: Paperback
The novel is set in Havana, ostensibly's Castro's Havana...but the author skilfully weaves various layers of cultural and historical influences into the background of the book. Waves of mafia which came and went...supposedly; Russians who came and went: again, supposedly; exiles, who have never really left Cuba; Cubans who never left the island, who desperately want to go into exile; and then the straightforward Cuban nationals and patriots...

In fact, to the perennial question of who Fidel Castro really is, this book, if considered carefully, can be read as depicting him as some other, more overtly analytical, writers have also done: as a straightforward nationalist.
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By Craobh Rua on May 9 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Martin Cruz Smith is a former journalist and magazine editor. "Havana Bay" is his fourth novel - after "Gorky Park", "Polar Star" and "Red Square" - to feature Arkady Renko and was first published in 1999.

Renko, the hero, works as an Investigator with Moscow's militia - more or less the standard police force - and has something of a chequered career. Never a truly 'practising' member of the Party, Renko hasn't always been thought highly of by those in authority. He has always wanted to catch the people responsible for the crimes he's investigating, regardless of the 'political' consequences - as a result of this, he was once dismissed from the Party for a lack of 'political reliability' and sentenced to a life in Siberia. He has been rehabilitated for several years now, though he always remained something of a disappointment to his father - a very famous ex-General. His father has been dead for some time, though Arkady has recently lost his wife, Irina.

While Renko has been abroad before, "Havana Bay" sees him operating entirely outside the Russian sphere of influence. Having received a mysterious unsigned fax, he's in Havana - apparently to identify a body the Cuban authorities believe to be an old friend of his : ex-KGB Colonel, Sergei Pribluda. Pribluda had been in the Cuban capital for eleven months working as an attache to the Russian Embassy. He had been missing for around a week, until - it would appear - the discovery of a body found floating in Havana Bay. While certain characteristics match up - dental records, for example - Renko isn't entirely convinced : the body has decompsoed to such a point that it's lacking a face and fingerprints.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The fourth in Smith's intelligent series about Moscow detective Arkady Renko is set in Cuba. Renko's ennui brings him to Havana to look into the death of an old friend. As usual, he gets knocked around a bit, unravels complicated conspiracies, bumps into interesting women, and utters some precious self-deprecating one liners. Readers will also learn more about the fate of his truest love, Irina. A great addition to the Renko series.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Martin Cruz Smith writes his fourth installment of Arkaday Renko, the character introduced in his first novel, Gorky Park. While it is not necessary to have read any of Cruz Smith's former books, those who have will be familiar with Renko. While perhaps not as gripping and fresh as Gorky Park, Havana Bay is a captivating read, both in that the murder/plot unfolds with each new scene/chapter and also for the peeling back of further layers for the reader about information about Cuba, Havana and the history of each. Cruz Smith's descriptions of events and landmarks in Havana are enticingly vivid and his descriptions of Cuban people instill images of what these individuals would actually be like in your head. I had always been interested in Cuba, but even if you hadn't been in the past, you will be now. Havana Bay is a quick, exciting read with enough of an unfolding plot and rich, lush descriptive scenery that readers should finish it wanting more.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
... that challenges your willpower to put the book down at the end of the day.
A solid read written in such a manner that you can feel on your skin the soft breezes coming from the open Bay and the sweaty air of the close quarters in Havana, in your soul the characters' pains from the circumstances in which they find themselves, and in your mind the belief that you too are under the ever-present, watchful eye of the Bearded One as you follow each character through the Cuban venues so vividly illustrated by the author's words.
This story starves you to read or re-read the author's other works that allow you to follow the steps of Arkady Renko.
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