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Three Stations: An Arkady Renko Novel Paperback – Sep 6 2011
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“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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Overall a good, brief story. I like Cruz Smith's work though there can be a tendency to go on a bit longer than necessary but not here. Read morePublished on May 23 2014 by Kennzer
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 youPublished on Dec 22 2013 by Paula