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Book Title: Red Square|
The author of the book: Martin Cruz Smith
ISBN 13: 9780345384737
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 626 KB
Edition: Ballantine Books
Date of issue: November 1st 1993
Read full description of the books Red Square:RED SQUARE is the third Arkady Renko novel by Martin Cruz Smith. Book One was GORKY PARK published in 1981. It is now a decade later, the eve of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. That dissolution is foreshadowed in numerous scenes. The “New Moscow” is littered with heavy machinery and material mired in mud and construction that never seems to reach completion. The lines in the shops are long; the store shelves mostly empty. The new center of commerce is the black market. It's midnight. “Here were cartons of Marlboros, Winstons, Rothmans, even despised Cuban cigarettes stacked as high as walls. Videotapes of American action or Swedish porn sold by the gross for distribution. Polish glassware glittered in factory crates. Two men in running suits arranged not windshield wipers, but whole windshields, and not merely carved out of some poor sot's car, but new, straight from the assembly line. And food! Not blue chicken dead of malnutrition, but whole slabs of marbled beef hanging in a butcher's truck.” The map of Moscow is a patchwork of criminal fiefdoms: the Lyubertsky mafia, dispossessed workers peddling protection; the Long Pond mafia ruling the wharves; Chechins building a network of organized crime with a cadaverous tribal chieftain named Makhmoud at its top; the Baumanskaya mafia in the heart of Moscow; and Kazans running drugs and prostitution rings in the streets. Every day Rudy Rosen makes his rounds among these cliques, exchanging currency, laundering money, skimming and cutting illicit deals — “The circuit of a modern Moscow businessman, always trailed by Kim [his bodyguard] on the motorcycle like a cat's tail." (p.31)
Renko has been recalled from exile and reinstated in the Criminal Investigation Division. There have been changes in the CID as well. The new city prosecutor is a slick politico named Rodionov; Renko's team includes a cynical Estonian named Jaak and a political hack named Minin whom Arkady distrusts.
Renko and Jaak have outfitted Rudy with a wire. Minutes after Arkady exits Rudy's car to make a repair on the transmitter, two blasts decimate the car and incinerate Rudy. The first blast was unusually forceful and seems to have ignited spontaneously. There are no obvious suspects. Rudy performed valuable services for the crime world. The only leads are a mysterious blond woman seen in the car with Rudy shortly before the blast, and Kim, Rudy's motorcycle riding bodyguard. A witness claims he saw Kim throw something into the car before the second blast. The case will require a lot of footwork as Rudy and Jaak explore Kim's many shady haunts, search Rudy's apartment, and interrogate his regular business associates. Eventually, the trail will even lead to Munich and Berlin. Since this is Russia, the trail will lead to government corruption, double-dealing, high-stakes organized crime and a succession of murders.
A second thread is romantic. Arkady is still obsessed with Irina who successfully defected in GORKY PARK. She now works for Radio Liberty and most nights Arkady tunes into the station just to hear her voice.
I have enjoyed other books from this series immensely. In this book, however, I found the romantic thread a distraction from the investigation which is supposed to be propelling the plot. The plot, meanwhile, is unusually complicated and key questions keep shifting. The romance was not only unbelievable, but diluted the intensity of the investigation. By the time all the pieces are tied together, it was hard for me to care.
As in the other books, the scenes of Moscow and its environs were vivid. In contrast the ones from Munich and Berlin felt superficial.
One of the strengths of the series is the creation of interesting secondary characters. Here, a hyper efficient underemployed pathologist named Polina is added to that roster. Arkady finds her checking Rudy's apartment for prints and reminds her that is not part of her job. She counters that she has both the time and superior qualifications. The retort silences him. Later, she conducts a series of experiments to solve the mystery of the car explosion. A second interesting character is introduced in the Munich section. The grandson of a German banker coincidentally turns out to be a Munich police officer. While initially suspicious of Arkady, he quickly realizes that an attempt is being made to manipulate him and deport Arkady. His intelligence couples neatly with Arkady's mordant wit.
I give this book two stars because the author is capable of much much better writing.
Read information about the authorAKA Simon Quinn, Nick Carter.
Martin Cruz Smith (born Martin William Smith), American novelist, received his BA in Creative Writing from the University of Pennsylvania in 1964. He worked as a journalist from 1965 to 1969 before turning his hand to fiction. His first mystery (Gypsy in Amber – 1971) features NY gypsy art dealer Roman Grey and was nominated for an Edgar Award. Nightwing was his breakthrough novel and was made into a movie.
Smith is best known for his series of novels featuring Russian investigator Arkady Renko. Gorky Park, published in 1981, was the first of these and was called "thriller of the '80s" by Time Magazine. It became a bestseller and won the Gold Dagger Award from the British Crime Writers' Association. Renko has also appeared in Polar Star, Red Square, Havana Bay, Wolves Eat Dogs, Stalin's Ghost, and Three Stations.
In the 1970s, Smith wrote Simon Quinn and penned two Slocum adult action westerns as Jake Logan. He also wrote the Nick Carter with Mike Avallone and others.
Martin Cruz Smith now lives in San Rafael, California with his wife and three children.
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