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Red Square: A Novel Paperback – Sep 25 2007

4.9 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (Sept. 25 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345497724
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345497727
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.2 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #243,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The Soviet upheavals have fueled the glowing talent of Smith (Gorky Park), America's preeminent writer of Russia-based thrillers. Investigator Arkady Renko returns from exile on the Polar Star fleet to find the new Moscow a dramatic battlefield of warlords and entrepreneurs; behind it, as still as a painted backdrop, eight million people standing in line. An ingenious bomb kills Renko's informer the banker for freewheeling black marketeers-leading Arkady's team through the quicksand of mafia-dominated official graft. His workaholic forensics expert, Polina (who must wait in line for morgue time as well as for beets), identifies the bomb method, leading Arkady too close for aparatchik comfort. He is bumped from the case, but only after a clue from the dead man's fax (Where is Red Square?) points him toward a Munich connection. Meanwhile, he is stunned to hear his lost love, Irina, on Munichbased Radio Liberty and with his last bit of clout wrangles a barely official trip to Germany. His mastery of the Russian system stymies the Munich embassy and reunites him with Irina in the midst of nasty fellow citizens bent on national theft. With vital aid from a Munich cop, Arkady links the fax clue to Russian bureaucrats, the ethnic Checken mafia, and German bankers. The novel paints the new post-Soviet aura through the stoic hero's wry humor and leaves Arkady and Irina perfectly poised, like Russia itself, for whatever comes next. Major ad/ promo; author tour.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Martin Cruz Smith is a former journalist and magazine editor. "Red Square" is his third novel - after "Gorky Park" and "Polar Star" - to feature Arkady Renko and was first published in 1992.

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 also appears to be something of a disappointment to his father, a very famous ex-General. (Arkady's opinion of his father - who is very ill as the book opens - isn't too high, either). However, after the events outlined in "Polar Star", he was reinstated to his former position - but is now working in a new Moscow that he barely recognises. "Red Square" is largely set in Moscow, Munich and Berlin in 1991 and is set in turbulent times : Germany has been re-unified and the breakup of the USSR is closing in.

The book opens in August 1991, with Renko and his partner - an Estonian called Jaak Kuusnets - on their way to a meeting with Rudy Rosen. Although Rosen operates as a banker for the various factions of the Russian Mafia, he has agreed to Renko planting a transmitter in his car for the duration of a Mafia-sponsored illegal market. (This is largely due to the fact that the militia have enough to put Rosen away for a very long time). Despite turning informer, Rosen appears to feel relatively safe.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The thing I like most about Smith's work is how well developed and deep his characters are. This isn't just straight action like the disasters I've read by John le Carre. Arkady Renko is up against corrupt bureaucrats, powerful businessmen and rival police organs. They provide him with inept assistants, the bare minimum of support and outdated equipment, yet somehow he still manages to get his man using his tenacity and brains. Renko's attitude is what drives this whole series of books-the sardonic, poetic, romantic and brilliant musings of our hero reveal such a deep character, which keeps us intrigued during any slow parts of the action. Arkady always makes some kind of funny mental comment while he's getting beat up in a subway tunnel or shot at or feasting on a russian dinner of stale bread, yogurt and a cucumber, and it just cracks me up. The plot is also amazing, twisting and turning in so many ways. The first three books are essential, but don't bother with havana bay, it's pathetic compared to these. All things must come to an end, though, and it was great while it lasted.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Third in the Inspector Arkady Renko series in Martin Cruz Smith's series of Russian intrigue. The series includes Gorky Park, Polar Star, Red Square and Havana Bay, SO FAR. We can only hope there will be more. (Smith is on schedule of a book every FIVE years. But the resulting work is worth it!)
Most 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. Arkady Renko is one of the most interesting characters in all of mystery fiction.
What Smith does best is gives the reader an insiders' view of a society totally different than what the audience is used to.
Whether it be Los Alamos during the development of Man's deadliest weapon in Stallion Gate, Cuba in Havana Bay, Japan on the brink of World War II in December 4th: A Novel, or Moscow in Gorky Park, with his characters on the verge of an exciting adventure for the reader to be a part of.Smith then introduces characters to his readers as if we had been their friends (or enemies) for years.
I judge other mysteries and mystery writers byMartin Cruz Smith's works. Some mysteries I consume like potato chips or pretzels. Very, VERY few do I savor each page as I do Martin Cruz Smith's excellent thrillers!
John Row
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Although Havana Bay has been out a few years now, its predecessor Red Square and the two previous Arkady Renko mysteries should never be forgotten. Martin Cruz Smith is a master of place and mood. He is absolutely convincing that he's personally been in the places he describes and has absorbed the atmospherics of the setting. With a background of deprivation and impending chaos, the predominant mood of this book is suspense. Arkady himself is never safe, even when working the murders at hand with his own staff. Every sentence contributes to the feeling that only one's mental alertness and puny physical skills stand between survival and disaster.
It would be a serious understatement to refer to a "crime" in this book. As the Soviet Union dissolves and, with it, law and order, the spoils of the former Communist state are being gobbled up by the most nimble of the mafias. Among these, the most vicious are the Chechens, but every neighborhood of Moscow has spawned its own. Where is there not crime?
As the story opens, Arkady has been reinstated as investigator in good standing in the Moscow police. Once he has launched a murder investigation in the normal course of his duties, however, he is forced to continue, not so much in the name of justice, of which there is very little hope, but to keep a step ahead of palpable threats to his own career and safety. With action taking place in Russia and Germany, Red Square will appeal to readers with a taste for spy fiction. Although this book is fiction, it describes Russia in the turmoil of USSR collapse as well as any piece of non-fiction could. Creating a new society in Russia will be one the great events of the early 21st century. Smith takes you there, to be present at the conception.
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