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Polar Star: A Novel [Paperback]

Martin Cruz Smith
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 18.95
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Book Description

June 12 2007 William Monk
He made too many enemies. He lost his party membership. Once Moscow’s top criminal investigator, Arkady Renko now toils in obscurity on a Russian factory ship working with American trawlers in the middle of the Bering Sea. But when an adventurous female crew member is picked up dead with the day’s catch, Renko is ordered by his captain to investigate an accident that has all the marks of murder. Up against the celebrated Soviet bureaucracy once more, Renko must again become the obsessed, dedicated cop he was in Gorky Park and solve a chilling mystery fraught with international complications.

–The New York Times Book Review

“Impossible to put down . . . a book of heart-stopping suspense and intricate plotting, but also a meticulously researched, ambitious literary work of great distinction.”
–The Detroit News

“Martin Cruz Smith writes the most inventive thrillers of anyone in the first rank of thriller writers.”
–The Washington Post Book World

“Gripping . . . absorbing.”
–The Philadelphia Inquirer

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Polar Star: A Novel + Red Square: A Novel + Wolves Eat Dogs
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Sprung from a state psychiatric hospital, Arkady Renko takes refuge in Siberia, ultimately working on a Soviet factory ship in the Bering Sea. When one of his shipmates is murdered, he's pressed into service. "Those eagerly awaiting the return of Renko, the saturnine, chain-smoking police investigator from Moscow who appeared in the bestseller Gorky Park , will be glad to know their hero is back in fine form," said PW. Author tour.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --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 the Arkady Renko thrillers Gorky Park, Polar Star, Red Square, Havana Bay and Wolves Eat Dogs, as well as a number of other novels. He lives in 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
4.0 out of 5 stars Vigilance Abroad Jan. 23 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Martin Cruz Smith is a former journalist and magazine editor. "Polar Star" was first published in 1998 and is the second of his books - after "Gorky Park" - to feature Arkady Renko.

Renko was once the Chief Homicide Investigator for Moscow's militia - more or less the 'standard' police force, which saw Renko dealing with the 'everyday'. (The KGB dealt with the really interesting cases). However, following the investigation outlined in "Gorky Park", Renko's life and career has taken a major nosedive. He's been dismissed from the Prosecutor's Office, dismissed from the Party for a lack of `political reliability' and sentenced to a life in Siberia - but only after being kept for psychiatric `observation'. He's found it difficult to make a new life for himself, as his past has always caught up with him. Usually, that costs him whatever job he happened to be doing. He now works as a Seaman (Second Class) on the Polar Star, a factory ship working in American waters between Siberia and Alaska. The operation is a joint Soviet - American venture : the smaller ships, American trawlers, catch the fish, while the Polar Star processes the catch. The Soviets take the fish, while the Americans take the money.

Four months out of Vladivostock, the nets return a little more than the usual catch : the body of Zina Patiashvili. Zina, a pretty blonde who worked in the cafeteria, was well-known onboard. Slava Bukovsky, the ship's third mate, is put in charge of the investigation into Zina's death. However, despite his lack of political reliability, Renko is appointed Bukowsky's assistant by the ship's captain, Viktor Marchuk. The captain makes it absolutely clear he wants no suggestion of a cover-up or a lack of a proper investigation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Sequel March 8 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The second in Martin Cruz Smith's wonderful Russian-themed detective series, Polar Star lives up to the promise of the first book, Gorky Park. Polar Star is a Russian fishing ship off the coast of Alaska, working in conjunction with a team of US trawlers. Moscow detective Arkady Renko is being rehabilited after the events in Gorky Park and finds himself on board when a murder takes place. The setting, on a freezing fishing ship in the icy Bering Sea, lends a heavy pressurized feeling to every page. Smith has done the research, his writing is self-assured but not self-conscious. He doesn't show off, but casts plot and dialogue and characters and scenery with the true ring of authenticity. Renko's self-deprecating honesty and Columbo-like detective style brings a smile. Smith is a good writer and this is a good book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Please Keep Writing April 9 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I thought this was a very solid follow up to Gorky Park. The characters lot in life and situation make since to me. The same strong character building comes through to thus book and that dark, a bit desperate feel is there also. I look the feel of the book, in describing the fishing ship - I can smell it, the description is that good. I also liked the story, I was wondering how he was going to give us a fulfilling murder mystery to solve and he did it. If you liked his last book in this series then you will really like this one.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Detective Story Aug. 1 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a good story. Murder on the high seas... With a Russian twist. I read this book a while back and can still remember most of the details. I remember how vivid the scenes were. I could easily picture in my mind what it must have looked like and been like. The icy water, the towering waves.... The rocking ship, the smell in the confined places. Smith did a wonderful job of creating the scenes....
The story was good too... A little slow in the beginning, but once the characters were created, it moved along quickly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I Could Smell the Fish! June 28 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Martin Cruz Smith again proves himself to be a master story teller. For Americans, the settings and charachters that flourish in Smith's novels are exotic, unforgettable, and incredibly intriguing. Renko is again the ultimate anti-hero, exiled to a Russian fishing ship where he wades knee-deep into a murder mystery despite the potential consequences. Fantastic!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and entertaining, start to finish June 9 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Smith finds all the right notes in 'Polar Star.' The Arkady Renko character is really unique in popular fiction--a mix of resignation, reluctance, intelligence, and doggedness is tough to describe. The subject matter hooked me--disgraced Soviet citizen in exile to Siberia and a fish-processing ship, coupled with late-Cold-War espionage and murder in the Bering Sea. The plot development never felt forced or artificial to me. The characters, even the Americans, feel Russian, because of the distinct atmosphere of the book. I particularly enjoyed the characterizations in the book--lots of people, all distinctive, with their own histories and agendas. It's not often that "#1 bestsellers" deliver all the goods, but this one did for me. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Polar Star May 19 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I picked up a copy of Polar Star when I was 12 and now, 2 years later, I still think it's one of the best book I've ever read. As I had not read Gorky Park, I found the concept completely unique. The main character's past, up to the events on the Polar Star, were helpfully refreshed by the superb literary skills of the author. I was able to quickly understand the story (and misfortunes) of Arkady Renko. In short, a body is pulled out of the sea by a Soviet fishing ship called the Polar Star. Captain Marchuk calls upon Renko to investigate into the case. He soon finds his superiors bullying him inot wrapping up the case, and sees something sinister is afoot. The story kept me enthralled right until the final confrontation in the frozen waters of the Bering Straits. Martin Cruz Smith is a genius of thriller writing. I also recommend Red Square (which I thought was the final Arkady book until I saw the Havana Bay reviews on this very site.)
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