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Three Stations: An Arkady Renko Novel Paperback – Sep 6 2011

3.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; Reissue edition (Sept. 6 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743276752
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743276757
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.3 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #86,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“The sustained success of Smith’s Renko books is based on much more than Renko. This author’s gift for tart, succinct description creates a poisonous political backdrop, one that makes his characters’ survival skills as important as any of their other attributes. . . [This is] one top-flight series, still sharply honed, none the worse for wear.”

Janet Maslin, New York Times

About the Author

Martin Cruz Smith’s novels include Gorky Park, Stallion Gate, Polar Star, Stalin’s Ghost, Rose, December 6, and Tatiana. He is a two-time winner of the Hammett Prize, a recipient of Britain’s Golden Dagger Award, and a winner of the Premio Piemonte Giallo Internazionale. He lives in California.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I should preface this review by stating I am a longtime Arkadi Renko fan. I have walked the streets of Havana with a copy of Havana Bay in my backpack. I have read Polar Star so often I have the dialogue memorized. That being said, I was very disappointed with this effort. It has the feeling of being ghost written. The sardonic dry wit is gone as is the snappy dialogue. The book was a brief 3 hour read with none of the interesting plot growth of the other books. All in all it felt like a book Smith felt obligated to write and not driven to right. It's time to retire Renko or put some more effort into the story.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the seventh novel to feature Arkady Renko, a series which began in 1981 with `Gorky Park'. Renko was a young officer on the way up in `Gorky Park', in `Three Stations' he is on the way down. Technically, Renko has been suspended from the prosecutor's office and is about to be forced out by superiors uncomfortable with the way in which he continues to inconveniently solve cases and bring the guilty to account.

The novel opens with Maya, a teenage mother, travelling to Moscow by train. Maya is fleeing from the past and is looking for a better life for her and her baby. Maya is rescued from a soldier by an older woman - but then awakens in the Three Stations train station at the Komsomol Square deprived of both her daughter and her possessions. Zhenya, the fifteen year old orphan previously rescued by Renko (`Wolves Eat Dogs'), tries to help her.

At the same time, Renko is helping Victor Orlov investigate a suspicious death in a derelict trailer in another area of Three Stations. It seems that the dead woman is a prostitute and most likely dead of a drug overdose. This, for his superiors, is enough to rule out homicide. Renko does not agree and his subsequent investigations, even after he is fired, reveal a complex case.

I read this novel in one sitting, caught up in Smith's vivid and gritty description of a corrupt and dysfunctional Moscow. The dual storylines: Renko trying to solve a murder; and Zhenya and Maya searching for baby Katya showcase the contrasts in a Moscow where gangs of homeless children co-exist together with the corruptly wealthy who can buy anything - including children - for a price.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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Format: Audio CD
And when she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept. So she had compassion on him, and said, "This is one of the Hebrews' children." - Exodus 2:6

Martin Cruz Smith continually amazes me with the Investigator Arkady Renko novels. They all reek despair . . . but in totally different ways. Renko never seems to have been in a more untenable spot than in Three Stations due to his job being terminated. That doesn't seem to bother him. Renko still wants to exercise his special skill: finding the bad guys who do unspeakable things.

The book's settings are very powerful. If you have ever been in a large train station (such as Grand Central in New York City), you have probably wondered about whether people live in the tunnels underneath the station and what dramas are being played out on the trans that come and go. Mr. Smith beautifully draws on such speculations to weave a powerful tale of corruption and redemption.

You'll be moved, too, by the parts of the story that feature a young mother who is about to have an encounter on a train that she'll never forget.

I listened to the unabridged recording read by Ron McLarty and highly recommend this version if you like to listen to books.
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Format: Hardcover
I really love the experience of reading Smith's Arkady Renko novels, which I have read multiple times. I have traveled to Moscow and Russia many times and have a strong affinity for the country. I can really identify with Smith's portrayal of settings and characters, and would truly love to see all of his Renko books turned into movies, including a remake of Gorky Park, with Russian actors.

But I have to completely agree with the review by kotter49 of this latest Renko novel - Three Stations. The spark and tension of the previous books were missing. It felt like it was written by a ghost writer instead of by Smith, or if it was written by Smith, then he has become tired of keeping this character alive. The elements of a good story were there, but the execution was far below my expectations. If you are a die-hard Renko fan as I am, you will be disappointed with this one, like sitting down to enjoy a great meal, and instead of a delicious spread being served a cheese sandwich.
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By Len TOP 500 REVIEWER on Oct. 9 2010
Format: Hardcover
The new Russia is an enigma. The chaos, the overnight billionaires, the homeless, the destitute, old bureaucrats and the hopefuls. How a country once dedicated to the communist ideals of egalitarianism could so suddenly become the opposite is amazing. A murder mystery isn't going to provide an answer but it can give us an insight into how the Russian people are attempting to deal with this new reality and the Arkadi Renko novels certainly help to do that. In 'Three Stations,' a serial killer is on the loose and our hero chooses truth over pragmatism and his career. The three stations are three railway stations that converge in central Moscow. We learn about the people who must survive within their confines and the people who become trapped on the way through. Fortunately, Mr. Cruz provides a happy ending to an otherwise miserable existence.
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