Arkady Renko returns for his most enigmatic and baffling case:
the death of one of Russia's new billionaires, which leads him to the Zone of Exclusion -- Chernobyl, and the surrounding areas closed to the world since the nuclear disaster of 1986.
In his groundbreaking Gorky Park, Martin Cruz Smith created one of the iconic detectives of contemporary fiction, Arkady Renko. Cynical, quietly subversive, brilliantly analytical and haunted by melancholy, Renko has survived, barely, the journey from the Soviet Union to the New Russia, only to find his transformed nation just as obsessed with secrecy, corruption and brutality as was the old Communist dictatorship.
In Wolves Eat Dogs, Renko enters the privileged world of Russia's new billionaire class. The grandest of them all, a self-made powerhouse named Pasha Ivanov, has apparently leapt to his death from the palatial splendor of his posh, ultra-modern Moscow condominium. While there are no signs pointing to homicide, there is one troubling and puzzling bit of evidence: in Ivanov's bedroom closet, there's a mountain of salt.
Ivanov's demise ultimately leads Renko to Chernobyl and its environs. (No one knows how many deaths resulted from the explosion in Reactor Number 4. The official government figure is just 41, though many experts estimate that the toll was really a half million or more.) It is a ghostly world, still aglow with radioactivity, now inhabited only by the militia, shady scavengers, a few reckless scientists, and some elderly Ukrainian peasants who would rather ignore the Geiger counters than relocate. Renko's journey to this netherworld, the crimes he uncovers there and the secrets they reveal about the New Russia, make for a tense, unforgettable page-turning adventure.
Each of Martin Cruz Smith's novels is a ticket to an unknown world. Wolves Eat Dogs is Smith's most harrowing trip yet.
Showing 1-1 of the 1 most recent reviews
1 . A Good Renko Story
Posted September 20, 2010 by Constant Reader , Upstate NYThis is another good story in the Arkady Renko series. Even the peasants are well developed characters, including the villain(s). The plot is interesting, and the background and locale especially so. And the story has a pleasant and satisfactory ending.
Simon & Schuster
December 10, 2004
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Wolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz Smith
Moscow swam in color. Hazy floodlights of Red Square mixed with the neon of casinos in Revolution Square. Light wormed its way from the underground mall in the Manezh. Spotlights crowned new towers of glass and polished stone, each tower capped by a spire. Gilded domes still floated around the Garden Ring, but all night earthmovers tore at the old city and dug widening pools of light to raise a modern, vertical Moscow more like Houston or Dubai. It was a Moscow that Pasha Ivanov had helped to create, a shifting landscape of tectonic plates and lava flows and fatal missteps.
Senior Investigator Arkady Renko leaned out a window the better to see Ivanov on the pavement ten floors below. Ivanov was dead but not particularly bloody, arms and legs at odd angles. Two black Mercedeses were at the curb, Ivanov's car and an SUV for his bodyguards. It sometimes seemed to Arkady that every successful businessman and Mafia hood in Moscow had been issued two Nazi-black Mercedeses.
Ivanov had arrived at 9:28 p.m., gone directly up to the safest apartment in Moscow and at 9:48 p.m. plunged to the sidewalk. Arkady had measured Ivanov's distance from the building. Homicides generally hit close, having expended their energy in trying not to fall. Suicides were single-minded and landed farther out. Ivanov had almost reached the street.
Behind Arkady, Prosecutor Zurin had brought drinks from the wet bar to a NoviRus senior vice president named Timofeyev and a young blonde in the living room. Zurin was as fussy as a maétre d'; he had survived six Kremlin regimes by recognizing his best customers and smoothing out their problems. Timofeyev had the shakes and the girl was drunk. Arkady thought the gathering was a little like a party where the host had suddenly and inexplicably dived through the window. After the shock the guests carried on.
The odd man out was Bobby Hoffman, Ivanov's American assistant. Although he was worth millions of dollars, his loafers were split, his fingers were smudged with ink and his suede jacket was worn to a shine. Arkady wondered how much more time Hoffman had at NoviRus. An assistant to a dead man That didn't sound promising.
Hoffman joined Arkady at the window. "Why are there plastic bags around Pasha's hands "
"I was looking for signs of resistance, maybe cuts on the fingers."
"Resistance Like a fight "
Prosecutor Zurin rocked forward on the sofa. "There is no investigation. We do not investigate suicides. There are no signs of violence in the apartment. Ivanov came up alone. He left alone. That, my friends, is a suicide in spades."
The girl lifted a dazed expression. Arkady had learned from the file he had on Pasha Ivanov that Rina Shevchenko was his personal interior designer, a twenty-year-old in a red leather pantsuit and high-heeled boots.
Timofeyev was known as a robust sportsman, but he could have been his father, he had shrunk so much within his suit. "Suicides are a personal tragedy. It's enough to suffer the death of a friend. Colonel Ozhogin -- the head of NoviRus Security -- is already flying back." He added to Arkady, "Ozhogin wants nothing done until he arrives."
Arkady said, "We don't leave a body on the sidewalk like a rug, even for the colonel."
"Pay no attention to Investigator Renko," Zurin said. "He's the office fanatic. He's like a narcotics dog; he sniffs every bag."